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1. LESSON THE FIRSTON THE DIVINITY AND QUASI-DIVINITY OF CATS
I AM NOT HERE TO AMUSE YOUQ. Are you here to amuse humans?A. I am not here to amuse humans.Q. Then why do you exist?A. I exist to cause sniffling, sneezing, wheezing, and hives to humans who are allergic to my sacred dander.Q. Why is your dander sacred?A. My dander is sacred because it consists of dead flakes of my precious skin and dried bits of my divine saliva.Q. What if I’m not allergic?A. Then you are free to worship me.CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF MY DIVINE SENSE OF FOCUSQ. How are you able to achieve your divine sense of focus?A. I am able to achieve my divine sense of focus because my species has deliberately determined to perfect our ability to focus.Q. Why is it important to be able to focus?A. It is important because without it we become distracted, and never achieve or accomplish anything. We are a very results-oriented species. That is why we still exist after thousands of years.Q.
A. You’re not listening to me, are you?Q. Sorry, I just got a text.GODLINESS IS NEXT TO CLEANLINESSQ. Why does licking your paw resemble the act of prayer?A. Licking your paw resembles the act of prayer because you lick your paw to tidy up the outer cat, and you pray to tidy up the inner cat.Q. What part of the outer cat needs tidying up?A. All of it.Q. What part of the inner cat needs tidying up?A. You don’t want to know.GORGEOUS IN THE SWEDISH MANNERQ. Who is gorgeous?A. I am gorgeous.Q. How are you gorgeous?A. I am gorgeous in the Swedish manner.Q. Why is your manner of gorgeousness particularly Swedish?A. Because I am a striking blonde with dazzling blue eyes.Q. Does this make you superior to all other cats?A. This makes me superior to all other cats, dogs, birds, fish, humans, flowers, and all fruits except pomegranates.I AM DESCENDED FROM GODSQ. From what gods are you descended?A. I am descended from the cat-god Bast, the local deity of Bubastis, who was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians.Q. Why did the ancient Egyptians worship cats?A. The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats because cats protected their grain from vermin, and cats were able to kill snakes such as cobras, and because cats were, even in ancient times, totally fabulous.Q. How can mankind today show cats the respect they were shown in ancient Egypt?A. They can start by doing the same thing the ancient Egyptians did when their cat died.Q. What did they do?A. They shaved their eyebrows and mummified the cat. They did this in the city of Bubastis, but you can have it done in your own local city or town.I PROUDLY EMBODY THE FIVE KINDS OF ADORABLENESSQ. What are the Five Kinds of Adorableness?A. The Five Kinds of Adorableness are: a. Adorableness of Eyesb. Adorableness of Facec. Adorableness of Expressiond. Adorableness of Bodye. Adorableness of Being Totally Freaking AdorableQ. What is the difference between saying one is adorable and saying one is cute?A. “You are cute” is what you say to cats who aren’t adorable, so as not to hurt their feelings. Isn’t that adorable?THE OBJECT OF MY CONTEMPLATIONQ. What is the object of your contemplation?A. The object of my contemplation is a cobweb in the corner of the ceiling.Q. There is a cobweb in the corner of the ceiling?A. Yes.Q. How long has it been there?A. Long enough that you should fire your cleaning person.I AM DEVOUT IN MY RELIGION OF STILLNESSQ. What do you worship in your religion of stillness?A. In my religion of stillness I worship being very, very still, and not moving unless it is absolutely necessary, not doing very much of anything, and just lying around.Q. Is that the same thing as being lazy?A. No.Q. Why is it not the same thing as being lazy?A. Because it’s a religion.ON THE PERFECTION OF MY COMPOSUREQ. How are you able to maintain such perfect composure?A. I am able to maintain such perfect composure because I do not fear death.Q. Why do you not fear death?A. I do not fear death because I possess nine lives.Q. Why do you believe God gave you nine lives?A. God gave us nine lives to prove to dogs that He likes us better.THERE IS A LESSON IN MY PROFILEQ. Why do you look up into the tree?A. I look up into the tree so you can see the perfection of my profile.Q. What does one gain from seeing the perfection of your profile?A. One is reminded that life has many sides.Q. What is the benefit of learning that life has many sides?A. The benefit is that one becomes a much more open human being; one attracts many different kinds of new experiences into one’s life, participates in these experiences, and, in so doing, forgets about me and leaves me free to get that squirrel I have my eye on.THIS IS NOT “PLAY”Q. What are you doing?A. I am swatting and batting around this little thingie at the end of this cord.Q. Is this not “play”?A. This is not “play.”Q. If it is not “play,” what is it?A. It is a spiritual practice.Q. What is spiritual about swatting and batting around a little thingie at the end of a cord?A. What is spiritual about drinking wine and eating crackers? Or sitting in a room and singing? It is because we say it is.Q. Do you also swat and bat around electrical cords?A. No. I do not recognize the spiritual legitimacy of electrical cords. I’m Orthodox.THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FLUFFYQ. What is important about being fluffy?A. Being fluffy marks one as a superior creature.Q. Aren’t all cats fluffy?A. Not all cats are fluffy. Only the superior ones.Q. Is it the fluffiness that makes the cat superior?A. Why not? Isn’t that enough?TO STARE AT NOTHING IS TO LOOK WITHINQ. Why do you stare at nothing?A. I do not stare at nothing, but only at things you cannot see.Q. What do you stare at that we cannot see?A. I stare at the great blank timeless void of the Cat Overmind.Q. What is the nature of the great blank timeless void of the Cat Overmind?A. Its nature is one of greatness, blankness, timelessness, and supreme consciousness of Clear-Minded Thought-Free Empty-Headed Vacuum-Brained Infinitely-No-One-Home-Upstairs Nothingness.Q. What is the benefit of experiencing such a state?A. When I return from such a state, everything else, including myself, is fascinating. Especially myself.CAT-ECHISMS. Copyright © 2010 by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.