Cat's Eye Tarot Cards – Aug 5 2011
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Every card in the Cat's Eye Tarot tells a story, as depicted from the feline point of view, offering a delightful spin upon the traditional Rider-Waite interpretations of the classic Tarot.
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Top Customer Reviews
I find it a very good addition to my Tarot of Pagan Cats, which is not very pagan at all. The two decks complement each other and it is well worth having both.
This tarot deck reminds me of many of the cats I've known, which is rather nice.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I love it when smart people go public as tarotists. I admire someone who is multi-talented enough to make it through veterinary school, keep a medical practice, read tarot, be an artist and create a tarot deck.
The marriage of cats and tarot has created some interesting offspring. We have Tarot of the Cat People, Medieval Cat Tarot, Tarot of the Pagan Cats, and Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot, to name only a few.
One might ask if the world needed yet another cat tarot. Given the number of tarot-reading cat-lovers, there can probably never be enough, and Cat's Eye Tarot differentiates itself from the rest of the litter quite nicely.
The cats drawn by Debra M. Givin are extremely realistic housecats. Any of them could be a patient at her felines-only veterinary hospital in Portland, Maine.
One of my favorite aspects of Cat's Eye Tarot is that these cats, unlike most tarot cats, don't wear clothes, ride horses, mix potions or brandish swords. They do cat things.
The cat things they do are enough akin to Rider Waite Smith symbolism that many of the images are immediately understandable.
Dr. Givin has taken care, in many cases, to identify the type of cat in each card within the Little White Book. Happily, the multi-talented Debra M. Givin is a decent writer, and the LWB is detailed and informative.
The deck follows RWS symbolism, structure and interpretation, so it will be easy for RWS-schooled readers to make the transition to this deck. New readers, especially if they are cat-lovers, will find the interpretations logical and appropriate for the images.
The cards are standard size, glossy with white borders, and of the quality we expect from US Games. Packaged in the classic simple box, the deck is affordable and ecologically sensitive.
The card back features a close-up of a cat's face with green eyes. The back is not reversible, and the LWB gives no reversed meanings.
One of the two title cards features a "Nine Lives Spread," designed specifically for the deck.
The art is colorful watercolor, and very reminiscent of Maine.
Non-feline creatures in this deck include prey (mice, lizards, snakes), companions (humans, dogs), enemies (also dogs), and temptations (birds, fish).
In the LWB, and the deck's website, we are encouraged to use Cat's Eye Tarot to read for our cats. That's not as crazy as it might sound. I spend a great deal of my professional life reading for clients' pets, both living and deceased. Tarot is an effective tool for animal communication, and spirit communication. I would imagine such a realistic cat tarot would be even more effective for communicating with, and about, cats.
Cats themselves have an affinity for tarot. When I give tarot readings at a party, every feline in the house will spend the entire evening at my feet, under my tarot table. Some of the less well-behaved cats will choose to be on top of the tarot table as well.
The thing I love most about Cat's Eye Tarot is also the thing I like least. That is its realism. I love the Empress kitty, sitting on the staircase with her kittens. I love the Hierophant kitty, prowling the desktop amongst the keys and books. The Ten of Wands kitty carrying the huge snake up the stairs - yuk! It must be good art, because it produces in me a visceral response.
The final straw for me is the excrement in the Suit of Swords. A cat spraying the wall illustrates the Seven of Swords. It's clever, but gross. The Ten of Swords shows a messy kitchen filled with uncared-for cats. The litter box is overflowing. It's a smart interpretation of the Ten of Swords from a cat's eye view.
The reason I don't keep cats in my house is the same reason I won't use Cat's Eye Tarot - I don't want to deal with cat urine and feces.
But for the many, many people who love their cats unconditionally, Cat's Eye Tarot is the best cat tarot ever. Cat's Eye Tarot is clever, pretty, playful, intuitive, and cute- just like a kitty!
I was intrigued when the Cats Eye Tarot (publisher: US Games, ISBN: 978-1-57281-685-5) by Debra M. Givin, DVM, landed on my desk. Would I be able to read with a deck that has no humans on it save for one or two as backdrops? Can cats convey messages that are appropriate for us?
I wasted no time digging into this deck to find out.
US Games consistently produces high quality decks. This one was no exception. The cards were standard sized (2.75" by 4.75") with a glossy, smooth finish. The card stock is also sturdy - which is very important to me because I am a high volume tarot reader - and I allow clients to handle the cards. These were a dream to shuffle! Almost silky. Nice.
It comes with a standard little white book that has interpretations for each card. Sadly, there are no reversals so you'll have to wing it if you use them. The deck is based on the Rider Waite Smith Deck and has 78 cards. The usual Majors, Minors, Suits and Court cards are represented here.
However despite the Rider Waite , this deck is strictly from a feline's point of view. The author has been a veterinarian for almost 30 years with the majority of her career exclusively in feline practice. And her knowledge of cat's moods and quirks is obvious.
The deck is lovingly and beautifully illustrated and the personalities of the cats shine through clearly. And here is what I loved: despite this being a "cat" deck, you can absolutely see real feelings and situations that humans could relate to - as well as the Rider Waite Smith interpretations. That is not an easy feat and I applaud the artist for this!
The Eight of Cups is a perfect card to illustrate this. In the picture a little boy is sitting on a porch with a new puppy in his arms. A black and white cat seems to be walking away from the situation. The look on the cat's face seems to say "I'm done" or "I'm not wanted here any longer". In the standard RWS deck, the image is of a man walking away into the unknown, leaving behind a row of perfectly stacked cups. The Cats Eye Tarot captures that same vibe.
The Majors are stunning with two of my favorites being The Lovers (two cats cuddling while a black cat lurks in the background - a perfect symbol for choice, which is a traditional RWS interpretation) and The Hanged Kitty (although admittedly, I like this cat because it looks a lot like one of my "guys"). Purple backgrounds indicate that the Majors are about spiritual events or fate.
The symbols in the Minors have been carefully chosen:
Wands - orange - creative energy - red tabbies - reptiles
Cups - red - emotional energy - black and white cats - fish
Pentacles - green and brown - earthy, practical, natural - brown tabbies - mice
Swords - blue - air, clarity, intellectual energy - Siamese - birds
These were brilliant choices in my opinion. Some of the cards playfully stick to standard RWS imagery (ex: 2 of Pentacles shows a cat batting around a mouse toy and the string almost forms an infinity symbol).
Others find a way to convey the energy of the card through unique feline experiences that are still things we can relate to (ex: the 10 of Swords shows desperate cats in a condemned house which we can see as loss, endings, being in a bad situation - a cat near a broken window suggests a way out ahead).
Some cards made me laugh out loud - especially the Aces which show a single paw in each one about to grab their "prey". The Ace of Pentacles was my favorite.
I was concerned that the Court Cards would not work. I was wrong. You CAN relate the cats in the pictures to humans (ex: Queen of Pentacles shows a sturdy brown tabby with a protective look on her face. The author interprets this card as "the ultimate momma cat" which ties in perfectly with the traditional earthy characteristics of a Queen of Pentacles).
The backs have a lovely picture of a green eyed tabby and I have to admit, as I shuffled the cards I enjoyed seeing that face every time.
My husband and I spent some time doing readings and were amazed at how easy it was to read with the Cats Eye. These work just as well as any regular deck in my opinion. This deck is perfect for doing readings for cat lovers, children or anyone who is perhaps afraid of tarot. As the author states: "Cats can teach us many things about how to make the best of almost any situation".
It is obvious to see that the author knows cats and tarot - very well. This deck is great.
I would recommend this deck not just for fans of felines but any one who loves tarot and would like a "new vision" of the same old same old. (And for the record, my cat has been sitting on my lap for most of this review. I'm assuming he approves of this deck.)
Oftentimes a deck reveals more of a love for the symbols or theme of the deck than for the act of communicating, but this deck does not make that mistake. In fact, I found this deck to be a pleasure to read with.
Given the title of the deck, some people may be put off if they are not a 'cat-type.' But let me add right away that you really don't need to be a cat-type to appreciate this deck. Cat's Eye Tarot has an immediacy that can appeal to anyone. The author has used her personal experience with animals to convey the meanings of the cards in a very powerful way through cats - and it is very effective.
The author writes that this tarot deck " is illustrated from a feline point of view." The cards contain "very few, if any, esoteric symbols." This makes for easy reading for anyone at any level of tarot experience.
The card backs feature the eyes and face of one cat up close and are not reversible; you will notice right away when cards are reversed. The deck shuffles nicely, as it is done with the traditional finish of US Games cards. All 78 cards have a white border and are labeled in the same cream colored box at the bottom of the face of the card. For example, 'Page of Wands," "The Hierophant" or whatever other card would be read at the bottom of the card in black text within the cream colored box.
The Major Arcana feature a purple hue in the card scene and instantly stand out among other cards in a spread. Yet the purple is gentle enough that it does not distract one from the rest of the cards in a layout. The four suits of the pips are traditional and reveal a meaningful color scheme as well.
Some examples of cards which illustrate the playful and immediate nature of these cards follow.
Wheel of Fortune: This card uses the cats in a delightful way to illustrate the theme of the card: two cats at the wheel of a wagon are each attracted by different prey. One goes after birds, but is distracted by the second cat who goes for a family of mice. The focus in this card is on the fate of the prey, none of which know they have been spared or are about to be eaten!
The Devil shows a corpulent cat with its back turned toward the reader, turning only its face to look at you while it licks its lips. It is hunkered down at its feeding bowls, full of food and drink, and looks like it would rather continue to indulge than do anything else.
In the Ace of Pentacles a cat's paw enters the scene of the card from the right, ensnaring a mouse by its tail.
In the Six of Swords a cat sits inside a travel crate with the door still open. It follows the author's swords color scheme with mostly white, hues of gray and blue.
The Ten of Hearts is a very warm card featuring a cat cradled peacefully in the arms of someone who strokes the cat lovingly. The deep red shirt of the person adds to the emotional depth of the card.
The playfulness and youth of the Page of Wands comes through in a card which portrays a young cat engrossed in a falling leaf that has almost arrived at its nose, still suspended in the air.
The author of this deck has been a practicing veterinarian for nearly thirty years, and her understanding of the personalities and expressions of cats comes through beautifully in this deck. It reads easily, and as you perform a layout with these cards, you will find the expressions of each scene to be a cinch to grasp emotionally and intuitively.
John Alan, Tarot Guild
This is such a clever deck. I especially like the Aces. Each Ace card depicts a singular cat paw in conjunction with the symbol for the suit (reptiles for wands, fish for cups, birds for swords, mice for pentacles). For example, the Ace of Cups has a cat paw gently touching the surface of a fish bowl. I also like the Hanged Kitty card (aka Hanged Man), which depicts a cat on his back. And then there's the Temperance card, which is just lovely. I can go on :-). The images are wonderful. It's a shame that Amazon doesn't have any of the card images available, but you can see some of the images at the publisher's website - U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
This is the first deck I've owned that was produced by US Games, and the colors in the cards are vibrant and I like the light plastic coating on the cards. The Little White Book is also good. Typically this is not the case with Tarot decks, but in the LWB , Debra effectively discusses the "cat meaning" of each card. Hopefully the second edition of the deck will contain a more substantial book. I think there is a lot to be said about cats, spirituality, and the Tarot, and I would love to read more about Debra's insight.
Bottom line - I love this deck.