OGDEN -- A popular myth says cats have nine lives, but do some of them also have a sixth sense? Sheba Feline has otherworldly abilities uncommon to most small tabby cats and a personality that lives up to her regal name, her owner says.
Shiksa Yisrael, who works as a local psychic and medium, said her 4-year-old tabby is capable of mirroring the emotions of her customers and warning Yisrael of suspicious people and upcoming events.
"When I take her to an event, people crowd around and they want to see her. People will feel calmer when they pet her, they will feel like they can share their feelings with me," Yisrael said.
"She's only had two people she didn't like; she went crazy and she just wanted off the table and she was hissing. I don't know, maybe they just weren't good people. She's never done anything like that before. I guess you could say that she mirrors people's feelings. I can tell when she feels tense. When she suddenly tenses up is when the person is feeling tense."
Yisrael said Sheba displays a calm that most cats are incapable of in the large crowds of people at the farmers markets where she and Sheba work four days a week from spring to fall.
"She'll sit on my shoulder," Yisrael said. "I'll be doing stuff, and she'll be in her little shawl crawling all over my back, or she'll just stand on me like a parrot. Then ... she'll sit up on the table and won't move, so people can pet her as I do my readings.
"She's really helped me in a lot of ways, because a lot of people can be afraid of what I do. When they see her, they're not afraid."
Yisrael credits Sheba's poise to a treatment she and her daughter used on Sheba when she was a kitten to keep the cat from scratching a mosquito bite on her neck.
"When she was a little baby, she had a mosquito bite on her neck, and cats will kill themselves -- they'll keep scratching, they'll never stop," Yisrael said.
"So me and my daughter swaddled her, and we tied her arms down and we held her. Even in our sleep, we'd sleep with her all cuddled up for like three weeks until she healed, because one scratch and she'd ruin it. So, we healed her up.
"After that, she was still just a baby, and she would sit with me and she wouldn't move," Yisrael said. "We would go somewhere, and she'd sit next to me, and I realized it was because I had swaddled her and held her so tight. That's when I really thought I could bring her to events."
Yisrael said there have been times when she and her family have sensed a new feeling or presence in the house, and Sheba has sensed it and come to sit with them. She also said she feels her cat can sense when people are sick or sad and need comfort.
"I've been sick or upset, and she will come and lay on me and comfort me," Yisrael said. "She can tell when people are upset. And we've had her act strange right before something is about to happen. So I think she has a sense. She was acting strange, and then my son got himself burned with matches, so I thought she was trying to tell me something."
Yisrael also said she believes cats are more open to psychic energy than other animals, particularly dogs.
"There's a reason they used to be worshipped, you know," she said of felines.
"I think they're much more open than dogs, because I do tarot for dogs, and there's not much going on in there. All they want to talk about is silly dog things.
"But cats, I think that they're unusual because they're symbiotic to our species; more so than dogs, because they don't really count on us completely. I would say that cats are probably more psychic, because they live in a very intimate way with us. Much more than dogs, because a dog can't normally climb up and purr and make you feel good.
"I believe that cats can understand English. I believe they understand what we're saying -- which makes them dangerous," Yisrael joked.
For all her work as a psychic cat, Sheba gets some pretty special treatment, including special food, territory and cat-sized outfits that match some of Yisrael's own clothes -- and that's something Yisrael said her other -- nonpsychic -- cat, Candice, is rather jealous of.
"She's a diva, I'll tell you that," Yisrael said of Sheba. "She's the only cat that's allowed in our room. She's the only cat that's allowed to steal off my plate. I have to give her something, I have to, there has to be a reason for her to work, or she won't work. The basement is hers; the other cat can't go down there."
Sheba even has her own Facebook page, Sheba Feline.
Yisrael, who is a spiritual adviser for the Utah-based Web series "Proper Manors," said Sheba will most likely be appearing in an upcoming episode of the show.
"She knows she's a princess."