According to Rome's chief exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, it is entirely possible. In fact, it's scriptural. Remember when the legion of demons who had been infesting the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5: 1-20) asked Jesus to be allowed to enter into a herd of swine?
It is also interesting to note that instances of exorcism performed on houses, animals and things exist from as far back as the first century. This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of exorcism not only for persons but also for objects (No. 1673).
According to Fr. Amorth, the infestation of animals is extremely rare, but possible. In his book, An Exorcist Tells His Story, he writes about an inexperienced exorcist who ordered a demon to enter a farmer's family pig. "The animal became savage and attacked the farmer's wife. Needless to say, the pig was immediately killed," Fr. Amorth writes.
Animals can and have been used by demons and their human partners to harass people. For instance, Fr. Amorth tells the story of a warlock who used his cat to deliver cursed items to their destination. "Here I would say the master was possessed, not the animal," he writes.
In the book, Demonic Foes, by Richard Gallagher, MD, a psychiatrist with expertise in demonic possession who advises the Church on these cases, he describes an incident that occurred in his house pets on the night before he was introduced to a possessed woman who had remarkable abilities. Normally, his French bulldog and two cats got along very well; in fact, the cats often curled up next to each other on their bed at night.
However, that all changed one night, at 3:00 a.m., when the couple was awakened by loud screeching sounds. “Our two normally docile cats were going at it like champion prizefighters, smacking and clawing at each other, intent on inflicting some serious harm,” Dr. Gallagher wrote. “My wife grabbed the female cat and I held on to the male. As we separated them into two different rooms, they continued to growl and bristle. My wife and I got back into bed, mystified, but wrote off the tiff as perhaps caused by some bad cat food or one too many sniffs of catnip.”
The next morning, the priest he was working with showed up at their door with a woman he refers to in the book by the pseudonym of “Julia.”
“This is Julia,” Father Jacques said. “She has something to confess.”
“How’d you like those cats last night,” Julia asked.
Dr. Gallagher was astonished that she knew about it, then angry that she might have had something to do with it. Mincing no words, he warned her never to do it again.
And for good reason; apparently, “Julia” caused the pet cat of another psychologist to go into a crazed rampage in which it tore up their living room couch. The wife of this doctor told her husband never to have anything to do with “that horrible woman” again.
Sadly, animals and their body parts - particularly entrails - are frequently used in this way, or by witches and warlocks for magic rites. Exorcists say the most frequently used are toads and cats.
The good news is that even though the infestation of animals is possible, "so is the blessing of deliverance," Fr. Amorth writes. We can pray over our animals just as we pray over anyone else.
To protect your animals from this kind of abuse, it’s a good idea to have it blessed by a priest. Most churches do this on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi which occurs on October 4.
I frequently make the sign of the cross on the heads of my two cats with holy water while asking God to keep them safe, healthy, and happy.
The following is a beautiful Catholic prayer asking for God’s protection of animals that can be found in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s book, Prayers and Blessings for Special Occasions:
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, your creatures. We pray especially for all that are suffering in any way: for the overworked and underfed, the hunted, lost, or hungry; for all in captivity or ill-treated, and for those that must be put to death. For those who deal with them, we ask a gentle heart of compassion, gentle hands, and kindly words. Make us all true friends to animals and worthy followers of our merciful Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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