I’m not even halfway through my interview with pet medium Amanda De Warren when she interrupts me to ask if I’ve ever owned a cat.

I’ve never been a big fan of sharing my own experiences in articles – after all, I’m a journalist, not a creative writer – but pet medium Amanda De Warren makes it difficult to separate the personal and professional.

One moment we’re discussing her former work at Australia Zoo and Dreamworld and then, suddenly, without any prompting, she is consoling me over the death of my family’s bad-tempered, 14-year-old cat five years ago. “He was a cranky old bugger, and he’s still that way,” she says with a hearty laugh. “He’s actually a bit sorry for being a bit bad-tempered.”

It’s true that our little cat wasn’t the most affectionate creature and was grouchy enough to earn the nickname “evil cat” growing up. He was exactly as pet medium De Warren describes – independent, bossy and rarely one for cuddles – but, at first, I’m not impressed by the impromptu reading. After all, surely most owners say their cats are aloof?

But soon De Warren is on a roll, churning out details I’d almost forgotten. She mentions the day he died and how I was the unlucky one to take him to the vet. “You had to put him down didn’t you? He’s saying don’t feel bad about putting him down, his body was failing. I feel it was the liver or kidney area.”

De Warren apologises and tells me it happens a lot when she’s speaking to journalists who have pets (alive or dead) with strong personalities. “He had a real independent streak…He didn’t really like anyone!” she says between fits of giggles, making me wonder what exactly the cat is telling her…

Although she has been a practising pet medium for more than 30 years De Warren only moved into the world of “animal communication” professionally eight years ago. She now finds requests for animal channelling outnumbers those for human channelling and regularly travels from her Gatton home for private readings and live shows across the country.

De Warren says she uses guides to interpret what animals are saying to her through pictures, words, feelings and sensations and the communication goes both ways. She says she could communicate with animals from a young age and it was an advantage when she worked at animal parks in the South East. “I actually went professional because I just couldn’t seem to stop the flow of the animal communication,” she explains.

She thinks animal communication sessions are so popular because people want the best for their pets. It’s not just dogs and cats either – De Warren has interpreted the concerns of pigs, ducks and even race horses for owners.

It’s all part of a booming pet industry, with the Australian Companion Animal Council estimating that Australians spend $6billion a year on pet care. The popularity of pet products even prompted consumer group Choice to recently issue a warning for pet-lovers to check for exclusions and restrictions if signing up for pet insurance.

De Warren is a self-confessed animal lover and although she enjoys giving people closure with human loved ones, she admits that she prefers animal readings. “The funniest things come through when you can get these pets with attitude, like your cat before,” she says. “They are such an important part of our lives and really become part of the family.”

De Warren hopes to teach people how to better meet their animals’ needs. “You really have to give animals 110 per cent,” she says. “There’s no good having an animal unless you can give them everything they need and they need that input, love and attention.”