I tell anyone who will listen that my cat is the most important thing in my world. I adopted her from the ASPCA on 92nd Street after I first moved to New York, and she was immediately my best friend. While Paula is the name that she came with, you can call her Paula Bear, Paula Bean, P-Town, or simply, P. She hates plastic bags and loves co-sleeping, and I kiss her furry little belly every morning. I love her with my entire life.
Paula joined me during a very unstable time. I didn't have a job or a social life, and I was still finding my place in the city. Adopting a cat was the first thing that really made me feel like I was planting roots, and Paula was the one constant in a year when things seemed to be constantly changing.
By now, I've made clear that I'm a crazy cat lady, so I don't think you'll be surprised when I tell you that this past week I paid someone to give Paula a Tarot card reading. While I've had Paula for over a year, there's still so many things I don't know. She was 4 years old when I adopted her, and all I was told about her circumstances is that she was voluntarily surrendered to the ASPCA.
Whenever I think about that, I'm baffled. This cat is the nicest, calmest, most snuggly cat in the whole world. She immediately warms to people. Spend 10 minutes petting her, and she'll sit on your lap for life. She just has one issue: She won't stop peeing on my things.
If you've ever been unlucky enough to come into contact with cat urine, you'll know it is the vilest, most aggressive thing in the world. While there's never a good time for a cat to pee on my bed, Paula has a habit of doing it at the absolute worst moments. I've taken her to the vet on multiple occasions, and every time, I'm told that the issue stems from anxiety.
Cat anxiety is hard to treat, because you can't really ask them what's wrong — or at least, they're really bad at answering when you do. When it came to my curiosity about Paula's mysterious past and the root of her relentless anxiety, I eventually realised that the answers might lie in the wisdom of a higher power beyond my reach.
I got in contact with Jodie Layne, a writer, sex educator, and Tarot card reader in Canada. She offers internet-based tarot card readings, including services, like a Single Card Pull (A Theme Or Message For You Right Now), a Double Card Pull (Obstacle, Tools For Overcoming), and a Triple Card Pull (Past, Present, Future). When I reached out about a custom reading for my cat, she was super excited to give it a try.
The process was simple: I asked four specific questions about my cat, and then she tailored the reading to address those issues. I wanted to learn more about the circumstances of Paula's last owners and to find out if she was happy with me. Additionally, I wanted to confirm that anxiety was the motivation for her peeing problem, and find out what I could do to help her in the future. With that in mind, Jodie went to work.
She pulled four cards for Paula: the Ace of Swords, the Ace of Cups, the King of Fire, and the Three of Air. Via a PDF sent after the reading, Jodie told me a little bit about what each of the cards meant, and then put them into the context of my questions.
"Looking at this spread for your cat, the read is that your cat has always been satisfied and been well-cared for; but is experiencing strong feelings of love currently and could use continued guidance and support for some of the issues they’re facing," the read began.
Jodie explained that the Ace of Swords was in the "past" position, which means that "while your cat was likely adequately cared for and had a satisfactory relationship with its past owners, it wasn’t the right fit." Jodie speculates that this could be because my cat was a little bit on the bossy side (not wrong), or that she didn't fit into the owners' lives the way they had originally planned.
"There was a conflict and a split was supposed to happen," she continued. "You’re supposed to be together, the two of you."
In case you were wondering, this was the part when I started tearing up.
Next, it was time for Paula's two obstacle cards, the King of Fire and Three of Air. These indicated that her current issues actually stemmed from some leftover problems with her past owners. "Power struggle, lack of control, lack of autonomy, and some separation anxiety and abandonment issues could be the root of your cat’s issues with anxiety and urination," Jodie explained. "They’re heartbroken and have behaviours learned from their past situation that are not ideal."
The way forward, Jodie said, is gentle leadership, patience, and kindness. "Be present, physically, for your cat as often as you can and be affectionate and gentle with your correction," she continued. "Work together and view beating this peeing habit as a team effort...Your cat will let you know what it takes to keep them happy and feeling secure."
After I going through the reading, I found Paula in one of her hiding spots and held her like a teddy bear. While she and I had always been affectionate, it took on a new meaning knowing that it was helping her recover from past heartbreak. She was feeling cautious and insecure, just like me. Turns out, we'd been healing each other.