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I Hired an Animal Communicator to Talk to My Cats

Turns out they have some opinions...

by Nikki Palumbo
May 10, 2022
An artwork of two cats.

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Don’t even try to deny it, we all talk to our cats. But Olivia LaBarre (she/they) really talks to them. LaBarre is an animal communicator, Reiki practitioner, and all-around lovely human who didn’t freak when I erroneously said “pet psychic” to their face. “I wouldn’t really call what I do that, but sure.”

From her own bio, what LaBarre does do is “cultivate soulful connections with yourself, your animal companions, and the natural world.” LaBarre believes that “through these connections, we can reach a deeper understanding, uncover our own true nature, and harmonize with all that surrounds us — even the unseen and intangible, the sacred and divine. And we can learn to live more gracefully in the present while building a better future together.” And that’s exactly what LaBarre did in an hour-long Zoom session.

My partner, Sam, and I moved in together about six months ago, which meant our cats — Emma Stone and Fonzie — became roommates, begrudgingly. There’s no subtext here: they do not like each other. Or at least, that’s what we thought based on, you know, all of their behavior like grumbling, screaming, hissing, chasing, fighting, the works. So our hope was for an animal communicator to connect with them and begin peace talks.

While LaBarre’s intuitive gifts are specifically for animal communication, she also has incredible human communication because she made booking and preparing for the session very me-proof, i.e. if a form has more than three things I have to fill out, it’ll sit open in a sea of 84 tabs, untouched and incomplete for days, weeks, months. It’s honestly a miracle I managed to submit even a single application to any college or job. Yet, I was able to fly through cat adoption paperwork and LaBarre’s scheduling form. Starting to sense a pattern…

All initial sessions for new clients are an hour long and tailored to meet your animal’s specific needs, starting with animal communication with the choice to include Reiki, as well. LaBarre asks for basic info about the animals she’ll be working with (name, species, alive or in spirit, etc.) and for a brief explanation for the session’s intention. I mentioned that our cats were “not the best of friends but learning to tolerate each other” and we wanted to know how best to support them. (I didn’t want to give away too much information upfront, even though I included a photo where Emma’s staring at Fonzie in a very obvious “What are you doing in my house?!” kinda way.)

Before the session started, LaBarre shared some prep tips:

  • If possible, try to be somewhere without too much noise or distraction. And keep a notebook handy to take notes.

  • If she’s talking to an animal who is alive, they don’t have to be right there with you, but are more than welcome to join.

  • Other than that, all you need to do is try your best to remain open and curious.

LaBarre intentionally works through a trauma-informed lens, so they began the session by asking Emma and Fonzie for consent for communication and Reiki. Her entire approach is compassionate, supportive, gentle, non-judgemental, and empowering — and we agree!

Here are some of the highlights from our hour of dialogue:

  • Sam and I both cried.

  • Emma Stone the Cat, queen of her domain, her royal highness, wanted us to know a few ominous things: she’s very smart and is always watching.

  • She had a bunch of feelings about Fonzie’s abrupt entrance in her life. “No one asked me,” she told Olivia.

  • We mentioned maybe introducing a kitten to them at some point in future and Emma had feedback: “Maybe not a kitten-kitten. I’d prefer to know the personality a little bit.”

  • Emma doesn’t necessarily want a friend — she wants a minion. Someone who is submissive to her.

  • In the future, Emma wants to be checked in with. But the fact that we were trying to communicate with her at all, she really appreciated it. That felt like a really nice display to her. (This is where Sam started tearing up.)

  • She does not care for how pushy Fonzie is.

  • Speaking of, Fonzie knows he’s handsome. (He is.)

  • He has a big goofiness about him and uses his body in funny ways, specifically for attention. (He does.)

  • Fonzie knows he can command the room he’s in — all eyes on him. And if not? He’ll flop his body (headbutts, laying down on your chest, stretching out on his back and staring at you upside down, etc.) until the spotlight’s on him.

  • Ultimately, Fonzie has some anxious attachment issues and is doing all of this for love. He just wants love. (This is when I started tearing up.)

  • Olivia asked if there was anything we wanted to tell/ask the cats. Sam and I looked at each like two cartoons and realized this was the perfect opportunity to let them know about our upcoming cross-country move.

  • “Oh, they already know,” Olivia said. “They’ve heard you talking about it a lot.” So, that was a relief.

  • They did, however, have a few questions. They wanted to know a) when? and b) Can they go outside?

We ended the session with 10 minutes of Reiki, which really felt like it cleared some of the tension in the apartment. I think we all felt lighter — Emma and Fonzie calmly coexisted in the living room for the rest of the day which induced Cry #3.

I’m really looking forward to booking a follow-up session or two in anticipation of the move and also to communicate a couple things we forgot to bring up the first time, like “Can you leave the couch alone?” and “How would you feel about a dog?”

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nikki palumbo

Nikki Palumbo

Nikki is a writer and comedian. Her writing has appeared on The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Funny or Die, Reductress, the Google Assistant, and her folks’ fridge. She was named one of WhoHaha’s “35 LGBTQ Creators We Love” in 2018 and a Yes, And Laughter Lab finalist in 2019. She worked as a story producer on the YouTube Originals weekly music show, RELEASED, and wrote for the inaugural 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted, hosted by Nikki Glaser. Nikki hosts the monthly-ish standup show Queer Tiger Beat, which has been recommended by The New York Times and featured in Time Out.