The human birth is considered to be an opportunity to realise oneself and attain moksha through punya karmas. Hence only the vedas propound such truths.
My question is regarding animals, how could normal animals such as cats and dogs go through multiple rebirths and become humans? As humans we have the capability to understand and generate karmas, and accordingly are reborn in the next birth, or are liberated.
Meanwhile, how could a simple cat achieve birth in higher forms?(Animals too have the same aatman) Most animals have strong "basic instincts" for survival, I wonder how they could generate good karmas to go up the rebirth ladder? Is it possible for an animal to create Kriyamana karmas? My thinking is that certain paapa karmas(Sanchita karmas) are burnt away in being born as an animal and enduring suffering(as Prarabdha karmas), and eventually after several births and burning of paapa karmas, a cat could possibly be born as a human? Is this correct? I would love to see insights from the community.
My next question is that I have read in certain places that the state of your thoughts just before death determines your next birth. Does this hold true for animals as well?
The first answer here gives the example of gajendra moksha, and other answers cite examples of some animals and birds being reborn as humans with virtuous lives.I feel that these examples are exceptional cases, and want to know about the general commentary about the journey of aatman born as an animal.
All of these queries are in understatement that karma applies at all aatmas, irrespective of physical form, wether human or animal.