I now call him the "Little One". I had found him two weeks ago meowing behind a parking lot sign at a building close to a major road. I meant to foster him, but I think my two other cats and I have fallen so much in love with him that we cannot bear to have him adopted by someone else now. And at that moment that I was wondering about spirit guides, I looked into his eyes and it was the feeling of looking into the eyes of a beloved. I thought to myself: I want to be kind to this soul. I want to take care of this soul. I want this being to be happy. And it then occurred to me that our spirit guide can be anyone, regardless of what they look like or how their soul has physically manifested in this lifetime; our spirit guides are those who awaken that potential in us to love, to feel loved, and to see beyond what we think we are capable of. When we look into the eyes of our spirit guide, we look beyond form and we see a soul. If our spirit guide is a nonhuman animal, we see not "just an animal" but a person in a different body.
I think my initial resistance to animal spirit guides may come from myself being a product of our society. While yoga mythologies include a fish and an elephant and a monkey and other nonhuman animals as teachers or gurus, my conditioned mind is used to seeing the same animals used or trapped or victimized. Because we have enslaved them, we find it difficult to see the wild spirit in them that are meant to teach us about our own wild spirits.
Little One, my kitten, has taught me about yoga or oneness of all being. When I took him home from the dangerous streets, I was not thinking about myself, I was thinking about him. And when we have those brief moments of letting go of our egos, when we experience and not just intellectualize non-separation, we start to act as guardians of each other. I may have appeared to rescue the Little One, but it was him who was my true teacher. He held up a mirror to me to show what I am capable of. I thank you, Little One, for being the yoga master that you are.