Dancing With Cats

I just got home from having coffee with a friend at my favorite cafe in West Hollywood. There's a zany new age bookstore down the street. Sometimes I pop in for the sole purpose of sneering at book titles like Tantric Sex for Dummies and Is Your Pet Psychic?

But tonight was no ordinary night of snorting and hiding my face in the Feng Shui soy candle display. Tucked away on the shelf below that black velvet UFO portrait of The High ECK Master, I found Dancing With Cats (Chronicle Books, 1999). Been around for years, but I'd never seen it before. Filled with pictures of humans fannying about in tights, striking "I-Wish-I-Were-Baryshnikov" poses — together with cats who doing the same thing. The text is rich. "Multicat" interspecies dance ensembles as a tool for enlightenment; think Busby Berkeley with hairballs and chakras. Dig the pre-dance exercises:

Before we can begin dancing with our cats, we must first make contact with them. We can't simply put on music and expect that our cats will dance with us. We have to first align our dynamic vibration systems with theirs and bring those systems into a kind of confluence before we can build the energy levels through the dance that are necessary to attain the higher vibrationary states which enable us to channel the infinite power of the universe.

You see, human beings and cats are not simply physical bodies confined within a barrier of skin or fur. We are also made up of dynamic energy systems which extend out, and interact with, every other energy system around us.

There's a simple exercise you can try right now as you sit in front of your computer. It's one of a number of what we call mirroring exercises that will allow you to bring your body into an energy-centered relationship with your cat and prepare you to dance with it… a simple purring technique. Remember that purring is the way a cat modulates its energy reserves in order to restore its psychic equilibrium.

So, roll yourself a catnip fattie and smoke this: Link

Update: If you like that, check out Catflexing and Why Cats Paint, both of which must be seen to be believed. (Thanks, Matthew Burns and Thomas A. Dennis!).

And BoingBoing reader Cliff Van Eaton of Papamoa, New Zealand says:

"It sounds like you had your tongue firmly implanted in your cheek … you should, because the website you linked to was another wonderfully disguised creation by one of New Zealand's great merry pranksters, Burton Silver. He used to be a much-loved cartoonist here, with a long running strip called Bogor that featured a hedgehog that craved snails and marijuana leaves, and a sensitive new age logger. Here's a link to a few phone cards featuring the Bogor characters. He was featured on a New Zealand stamp a few years ago.

Silver created his first book ruse with Why Cats Paint. It was considered a big joke in New Zealand (because everyone here was quite familiar with his wit), but overseas lots of gullible people (read: cat lovers) took it seriously, and lo and behold he had a hit on his hands. My favourite Silver scam is a book and ball combination he brought out on the New Zealand market a few years ago at Christmas. It was a combination between golf (a favourite and very egalitarian pastime here) and rugby (the national religion). The golf ball is in the shape of a rugby ball, and you score points by hitting it between goal posts. Well, everyone knew that Silver was having a good joke, and lots of fathers and brothers got "Golf Cross" sets for Christmas. But interestingly, when people took them out in the paddock and had a bit of a hit around, they found that it was actually a very enjoyable game. Here's a link with more info about Golf Cross."