Has your pet’s personality changed recently? Or do you notice changes in your pet’s personality from year to year? Are you concerned about why a pet might undergo a personality change? Animal communicator Shannon Cutts offers a different take on this common pet problem.
Has your personality changed since you were a child? How about since you were in your teens? Do you sometimes feel like you can experience several different personalities throughout stressful days?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you and I have a lot in common. 🙂 And you also have a lot in common with my pets, your pets, and all pets!
The word “personality” contains both biological and environmental factors. And the word “biological” can include both genetic (inherited) and epigenetic (ongoing genetic) influences.
So while your pet may come into their life with a certain foundational personality “type” – outgoing, introverted, etc – there are all kinds of environmental interactions that may alter aspects of that foundation over time.
The more I communicate with different species, the more I experience how not-different we are from the other beings living their lives all around us. I often tell my clients that if they didn’t tell me in advance I was going to talk to a dog or cat or parrot or reptile instead of a person, I might not immediately notice my conversation partner’s species at all!
Cool, right? It’s neat to think we are less different than alike. It’s also helpful when it comes to parsing apart what might be contributing to or even causing your pet’s personality change.
The place I always encourage my clients to start is with taking a walk in their pet’s paws or claws or fins or feathers or shell. Let’s say you have a pet that has gone through a recent experience of abandonment, relinquishment or rehoming. Maybe you have a new rescue dog or cat or parrot in your family. How might you feel during and just after such an experience? Would you be uncertain about pretty much everything in your life? Would you perhaps undergo personality shifts from day to day or even meal to meal, not sure what to expect, where to go, who to approach or shy away from, how to get your needs met?
Or let’s take a different scenario. Maybe your pet came into your life as a puppy or kitten or baby bird or foal or a hatchling tortoise.
Yours is the only home and the only family they have ever known. All is well….and then you fall ill. Or experience a dramatic life change in some way – maybe you get laid off, or separate from your human partner, or a child leaves for school.
This alters your own personality as well as changing your daily routine, habits and the dynamic between remaining family members. If you were your pet, watching someone you deeply love struggle in some way, would you suspect your own personality might change accordingly?
This is not codependency, by the way. It can devolve into codependency. But at first, the impact is simply shared through empathy and the trusted bond of ongoing unconditional love.
There are many other reasons why your pet might have a personality change at any point in life. Onset of illness or infection is the one that most pet parents will look at first and I strongly encourage this. It is best to rule out any underlying medical or physical issues before taking a closer look at possible emotional, mental or soul triggers.
And I always remind my clients that an animal communicator is not a veterinarian. I am not a veterinarian. But I am a valuable member of any whole-health pet care team. As a professional animal communicator, I can ensure your pet is able to join in on important conversations about their care, quality of life, daily routine, food, exercise, fun and entertainment, relationships and more. And I am also the first person to encourage any concerned pet parent to run, don’t walk, to a trusted species-appropriate veterinary professional for medical guidance!
But our pets, like you and me, have layers. Your pet has a physical layer, an emotional layer, a mental layer and a soul/spirit layer. The very same issue can manifest quite differently through each layer.
Let’s use our previous example of pet trauma to illustrate how this might work for your pet.
Physical pet trauma and possible personality changes.
At the physical layer, pet trauma might manifest as immune suppression that leads to dis-ease. This might look like unlocking genetic tendencies to experience certain inherited health conditions or it could mean susceptibility to environmental toxins, low-grade food additives, bacteria or viruses.
These medical issues could in turn cause your normally boisterous and happy pet to withdraw, turn sullen or irritable, become aggressive or stop enjoying regular daily delights.
Emotional pet trauma and possible personality changes.
At the emotional layer, pet trauma might manifest as an inability to let go of toxins like cortisol (the “silent killer” stress hormone that the body releases during fight-or-flight). This systemic toxicity of stuck emotions can cause your pet to literally get stuck in certain emotional patterns!
Because pets don’t typically run everything through their minds like we do, and are much more innately wired to process through the emotional and physical layers versus the mental layer, you will likely see behavioral alterations here as well. Excessive chewing, inappropriate sudden elimination, whining or screeching or barking, separation anxiety symptoms, preference for (clinging to) the company of one person over all others, aggression towards people with a certain type of appearance (such as anyone who looks like a former abusive owner), excessive drinking or eating or refusal of the same, self-mutilation or self-harm, attacking other animals….these are just a few types of personality changes that can come through the emotional layer of your pet.
Mental pet trauma and possible personality changes.
As I just mentioned, non-human animals don’t typically over-process life experiences through the mind the way you and I do. But this is not to say they don’t experience mental activity. It’s just that their mental activity is more likely to manifest as strong emotions or physical movement (or lack thereof) rather than floods of words.
Here, I always like to refer my pet parent clients to the work of Dr. Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin, if you are not familiar, is famous for two things: being a high-functioning autistic human and being a pioneer in improving the wellbeing of commercial animal slaughter and processing facilities. Like the animals she serves, Dr. Grandin sees and processes her life through mental pictures and sensory data. Her autobiography, “Thinking in Pictures,” is a must-read for the progressive pet parent! (If you prefer your books in movie format, there is also an amazing documentary film by the same name that you can watch to learn about her life and work.)
Examples of pet personality changes that might come through your pet’s mental level can include repetitive behaviors or sounds, excessive need for a daily structured routine, sudden aversion to (or need for) being touched or held, chronic fight-or-flight cycles and – most importantly – the onset of truly head-scratching, inexplicable behaviors – are likely coming through the mental layer of your pet.
Soul/spirit pet trauma and possible personality changes.
Animals have a soul and a spirit just like people do. What is the difference? Your pet’s soul is the part that carries in your pet’s karmic memories and basic life blueprint. Your pet’s spirit is connected to their soul and is the highest-vibration aspect that is connected to Source.
I realize that might sound a little woo. But truly, it is simply the awkwardness of words causing it to sound that way. If you can think of you on your best day, when no matter what may be going on around you somehow you just wake up with sunshine in your heart, that is an Earth-example of spirit. And if you can think of you on a less-great day, trying to hold on to the awareness that you are here to elevate, learn lessons, overcome limitations, weaken bad habits or addictions, learn to love instead of cause harm, well, that is an Earth-example of soul.
You have a soul-spirit and so does your pet.
So what might a pet personality change look like when your pet is processing it through the soul layer?
The easiest way to describe it is one step forward, two steps back. It looks like imperfect efforts to change for the better. When your pet masters a command beautifully one moment and seems to “forget” they ever knew it the next. When your pet behaves with kindness towards the new family pet one day and is aggressive or intolerant the next day. When your formerly skittish rescue dog or cat lets you pat them or brush them in the evening but the next morning is having none of it.
Soul level evolution is always messy. But the effort towards progress is always noticeable.
By the way, I’m not trying to imply that pets, like people, will only process life events, trauma or change through one layer or even through one layer at a time. Often you will see pet personality changes coming in through the physical and emotional and mental and soul/spirit layers all at once or intermittently, like they are taking turns getting their grievances heard and their need to process met.
Ultimately, always see your veterinarian if you are concerned about a sudden or slowly evolving personality change in your pet. But consider seeing an animal communicator too. And consider adding in energy healing and pet Reiki in addition to any protocols your veterinarian may recommend.
We break down in all four layers regardless of species. So we must heal in the same way, through all four layers. When it comes to whole-pet wellness, health and quality of life, there is no either/or. There is no choice to be made between western veterinary medicine and eastern or holistic (aka “alternative,” a term which I particular dislike) healing or treatment modalities.
There is only “and.” Do this AND this. Add this AND that. Invite in physical and emotional, mental and soul/spirit, healing all together. I often tell my clients that animal communication is the number one most under-used tool in the modern pet parent’s toolkit. So if you are using it, bravo!