I've had a few clearly empathic (and telepathic) moments with my cat. I usually find it disturbing, or amusing.
Disturbing because the quality of "thought" feels like -- how do I put this?-- molasses to my mind. For one, his experience of time is radically different. Also, I always feel the predatoriness of his mind when we connect. He and I are very friendly, but sometimes I feel like he looks at me in the way a small, skinny mobster looks at his big, muscular mobster friend.
I'm also amused, and touched, by his ability to enjoy falling leaves or birds hopping in our courtyard. And I'm amused by his sense of humor. If a bird lands on our balcony, he'll sneak up to the glass door, wait, and then leap and bounce off the door to scare the hell out of the bird. It's funny, but it's also sort of like a kid setting off firecrackers on a neighbor's porch.
My friends always comment on how "wild" my cat is for a two-and-a-half year old cat, too. Since he was a kitten I've played with him like another cat would play. So he regularly bites and uses his claws against anybody who tries to play with him. He never bites hard and rarely breaks the skin, but most find it alarming. I love it! I love being able to play on the level he wants to play on. That's how cats play! I constantly have scratch marks but I love it!
A part of him I can't really penetrate, though, is his torturer-self. Whenever I see him torturing a vole or a mouse, I don't get it, I'm not connected to him in those moments. I can't understand what he gets out of it. The whole inflicting a slow, agonizing death thing. I watched him do it once for several minutes, although it made me queasy, and I still didn't get it. He played with it even after it was dead -- and looked sort of disappointed when it was dead.
You can't change a tiger's stripes,
but you can avoid its teeth.