All animals will become human beings when they have completed their incarnational lessons as animals. All human beings have been animals in their previous incarnations. Therefore it is a misunderstanding to regard animals as fundamentally different to us - though of course our brain structures, capabilities and experience of the world are different, we are, at the deepest level, the same: souls on an incarnational journey.
The journey that all souls who incarnate on Earth in the animal-to-human pathway follow the same general structure of incarnations. Once a core 'curriculum' of soul lessons has been learned at each stage, the soul 'graduates' to the next level, as outlined below. (Interestingly plants, it was inwardly revealed, are souls on a different incarnational journey which does not intersect with animals or humans. I.e. plants will never become animals or humans, and animals and humans have never been plants. Algae, seaweed and mould are also part of the plant incarnational journey).
The animal-to-human incarnational pathway begins with the soul incarnating as simpler life forms first such as single celled organisms e.g. bacterias and viruses (yes, viruses are alive!). Parasites also belong to this incarnational level. Once these lessons have been learned, then the soul progresses to become somewhat more complex life forms. In the second stage there is a set of incarnations as various bugs and insects. After these lessons are mastered then the soul is ready to begin its incarnation as animals with more complex brain structures such as a cow, dog, lizard, whale etc.
Single celled organisms: Archaea, Single-celled eukaryotes, Bacterias, Viruses
Insects and bugs
Animals can learn from the example that human beings around them show them. If you own an animal or see one on a regular basis you have a beautiful opportunity to help this soul on its incarnational journey, and perhaps even help it to 'graduate' to its very first human lifetime.
When an animal has been guaranteed to become a human in its next lifetime, there is something very special about its energy. Such animals emanate a profound grace. They may be extraordinarily gentle or display other temperaments that are not common for their species. For example, one of my cats has no interest in catching wild animals. I have watched him as a mouse poked its head out of an overturned flowerpot in my garden and ran across the width of the garden. My cat was perhaps a metre or two away and could have easily pounced on the mouse but instead he watched the mouse bemusedly with a look of detachment on his face as the mouse crossed the garden. On the other hand my other cat who is also guaranteed a human lifetime next (pictured below) is still an active hunter - but she is younger and has always had a more energetic personality. However she is incredibly affectionate - gazing into her eyes there is such adoration you can see she has mastered lessons of love towards human beings. Some egoic traits of being each animal are strong instincts that are more difficult for them to overcome - these are lessons that are not required to be learned until the human incarnations.
Once a soul has incarnated as a human, most of the time they will be a human in every incarnation after this for as many lifetimes as it takes for them to become Enlightened. In rare cases, a soul who has incarnated as a human before can go 'back' a step and incarnate as an animal again. This is only ever the result of a serious spiritual regression during the lifetime - a very grave form of ego that caused great harm to the self and others. In this case the soul is sent to repeat animal lessons, as to allow the soul to become human again would be too great a risk - they may cause much destruction and suffering to others and accumulate an enormous amount more of negative karma. It is therefore a loving option to let the soul incarnate as an animal again - this can be for a single lifetime as a complex animal such as a mammal, or in some extreme cases the soul may repeat the entire incarnational journey from the very beginning as a single celled organism and have to go through every animal soul lesson once again over many thousands of animal lifetimes. In some rare cases a more complex animal also accumulates a great deal of negative karma (for example by being repeatedly violent) and can also go back to being a more simple life form. No matter whether the soul continues in the normal path from animal to human or becomes human and returns to being an animal again, all souls do eventually reach enlightenment.
The inner experience of more complex animals
Mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians are capable of deep empathy. For some species this is more visible in their relationship to humans and in other species they are more likely to show these traits mainly to their own species. The level of empathy is also related to the age of each soul, how many animal incarnations they have experienced.
Animals can experience a range of emotions similar to our own. They can create all 60 trapped emotions in the Emotion Code®. They experience grief when their baby or another close member of their group dies. They have complex social relationships with other animals they live with. Many people who live with farm animals can attest that many animals who live together have 'best friends'.
A moving example of the intelligence and empathy of animals was Koko the gorilla who was taught sign language:
Muscle testing can reveal that Koko was the most conscious gorilla who has ever existed so far.
Another striking example of animal intelligence and empathy was Washoe the chimpanzee, who was the first non-human to learn American Sign Language. One of the volunteers that worked with Washoe was Kat, who had had a miscarriage. She had been absent from visiting Washoe for several weeks. When she returned to Washoe, Kat signed 'my baby died' and Washoe signed 'cry' and touched her on the cheek, tracing the path a tear would make.
The way that you see and treat animals is a powerful indicator of your degree of consciousness. In the eyes of creation all living beings are equal and deserving of being treated with kindness. Our animal friends can truly enrich our lives.
A goat who is on the final animal incarnation
My cat who is on her final animal incarnation
A cow from the farm I grew up on (now passed on) who completed her final animal incarnation