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Dancing with Cats: From the Creators of the International Best Seller Why Cats Paint

Dancing with Cats: From the Creators of the International Best Seller Why Cats Paint

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by Burton Silver, Heather Busch

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The cult classic is back! This petite 15th anniversary hardcover reissue keeps all the original mystery and magic of cat dancing delightfully intact. Perpetually ahead of its time, Dancing with Cats presents scores of delightful and inspiring photographs of people and cats engaging in their favorite dance routines as well as moving testimonies of the


The cult classic is back! This petite 15th anniversary hardcover reissue keeps all the original mystery and magic of cat dancing delightfully intact. Perpetually ahead of its time, Dancing with Cats presents scores of delightful and inspiring photographs of people and cats engaging in their favorite dance routines as well as moving testimonies of the personal transformations brought about through this uniquely joyous form of human-animal connection. Dancing with Cats will have a new generation of cat lovers (and their cats) jumping for joy—and cutting a rug—in no time.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
I must confess that when I first heard about Dancing with Cats, I thought the idea was hokey. I had two visions in my head. The first was of a theatrical friend of mine who I could imagine dancing with her cats, singing Broadway show tunes, and talking about their future Hollywood deal. The second was of a CD cover from a few years ago. You know, the one with the cat being thrown in the air by its owner?

Yet when I opened Dancing with Cats, I was delightfully surprised by its contents. Pictures of people playing with their cats jumped out at me page after page. Jane with her swirling veil, enticing her cat into a sensual dance; Sue teaching her cat to do a tour en l'air; tiny tot Selena responding to her cat's tail movements; and Marvin romping to Bruce Springsteen music with his cat.

While this behavior may seem odd, strangely enough, many of my coworkers have recently admitted to dancing with their cats. And as the preface says, evidence indicates that people have been dancing with cats for hundreds of years. So take a cue from these dancers and their partners and start some kitter-bugging, cat-trotting, feline-jiving activity of your own.

Soozan Baxter

People Magazine
...[C]leverly mixes mock-pretentious writing...with whimsical, entertaining photographs...

Product Details

Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt


WE will probably never know for sure why cats dance with us. We do know that some kind of energy is released in the process that can have a profound effect on human beings and probably on cats as well. It seems that by synchronizing our movements, no matter how briefly, with those of the cat, we momentarily bring our energy fields together, creating a whole new vitality which feeds back into and invigorates the two original fields. The greater the unity of movement, the more intense the dynamic. Of course, we don't know what cats ultimately gain from the experience, but the human gain is well documented.

First there are the physiological effects. Cat dancers report a variety of physical sensations that range from "pleasant tingling and lightheadedness" to "whole body spasm and uncontrolled muscle quiver." Such effects make it seem likely that the feline energy system is influencing the human system on a neuro-muscular level.

The psychological effects are, however, more difficult to explain. Dancers universally claim strong positive emotions are triggered by synchronized interaction with their cats. Whenever we do anything in unison with others it usually engenders some feelings of unity and togetherness which result in heightened perceptions of personal worth. But there is something more powerful occurring here.

Not only do dancers talk of "feeling alive for the first time," but they also say the feeling lasts for days. Some even claim major personality shifts, stating that they no longer suffer from depression and have become more outgoing, assertive, and generous.

Few people are blessed with theinnate ability to communicate quickly on a deep level with a wide variety of cats—people such as Arijá Davies, for instance, who is featured throughout this book and is able to dance with a cat she has never met before after only a brief acquaintance. Most of us must be prepared to put in several hours of pre-dance work with our cats. This may include noncontact stroking, mutual nuzzling and rubbing, prone mirroring, and occasional washing imitations before we get any results at all. Unless, of course, we are lucky enough to own a cat who initiates the dance itself by rushing about in order to provoke us into joining it in an energy building experience. The sad thing is that most people do not recognize this display for the invitation it is. Instead of gladly taking the opportunity to dance with their cat, they dismiss it as some kind of dysfunctional feline behavior.

Building a successful relationship with your cat which will result in fruitful dance experiences is largely dependent on your own mental and spiritual preparation. You need to be free of skepticism and totally committed to the interaction. Cats are able to detect any ambivalence on your part and will refrain from dancing with you until you have liberated yourself from the negativity of self-conscious doubt. It is precisely because of their lack of self-consciousness that children are able to form dance relationships with cats more quickly.

The fact that cats dance more easily with us when there is musical accompaniment may have more to do with the way music releases us into the dance than the cats' actual enjoyment of it. However, some cats do seem to prefer certain kinds of music and it is worth experimenting to find out what music your cat likes best. You can do this by noticing whether it nods its head or swishes its tail in time to the music. Moreover, if you have no objection to your cat taking performance-enhancing drugs, you might like to try making catnip or valerian available before a dance session.

There are two main methods people use to initiate a dance rapport with their cats. Some begin by holding their cat in their arms while gently moving to their favorite music. Once your cat starts to purr, which is its way of modulating energy, you know that its vibratory levels are being raised in readiness for alignment with yours. At this point you can place it on the ground and begin to sway and move around it in time to the music. Others, using a technique called mirroring, mimic their cat's every move as a means of bringing their energy levels into sympathetic contact. With both these methods, there comes a point where the cat reciprocates and synchronizes its movement with yours in a joyous explosion of energy release.

Our worldview has changed radically in the last fifty years. Relativity and quantum theory have enabled us to see all animals and plants not as complex machines, but rather as intricate networks of energy fields which coexist in some kind of dynamic interplay with our cellular systems. Dancing with cats clearly demonstrates that these energies are able to link up and provide not only a new vitality, but also, on a deeper level, a way of exploring new spiritual insights that will guide us in the third millennium.

Chapter One

FOR Ralph, the actual dance itself always begins with The Invitation. "I come right down to the cat's level and begin purring really loudly. Then I push one foot out behind like a tail and flick it from side to side in the feline `let's go' signal. At the same time, I reach out for Petipa's paw, stop purring, and begin to hum something that seems just right for the moment. It could be one of Handel's oratorios or a sprightly chakra cha cha. The faster it is, the higher Petipa leaps."

PETIPA responds with vigor equal to Ralph's robust song and flamboyant gestures. Once the energy level is raised, Ralph feels that his postures become imbued with an unconscious spiritual significance which Petipa affirms by countering with her own complementary moves. A hopping arabesque from Ralph may provoke a series of elegant stalking leaps from Petipa, while a fluttering of fingers may be countered with tiny aerial flurries. Poignant moments of unconcerned fur licking punctuate the patterns of the dance.

WHEN Ralph dances with two cats, the energy fields can become confused. Instead of power being released through well-controlled movements, one cat tends to make sudden mad dashes and leaps. Cats who do this on their own are often good dancers.

Meet the Author

Burton Silver's several books on cats include Why Cats Paint. He lives in New Zealand and lectures on feline energy-field dynamics.

Heather Busch is an internationally acclaimed artist and photographer based in New Zealand. Heather runs cat dance therapy workshops.

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Dancing with Cats: From the Creators of the International Best Seller Why Cats Paint 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The side of the clearing opposite of the large maple tree that served as the leaders den, granite rocks leaned against each other. They formed a cirle with a small opening, the inside was soft with moss and bathed in sunlight. Wild poppies gave the small clearing a sweet smell. The bottom halves of each rock were charred with black streaks, a constant reminder of the deadly fire that blazed not long ago.
CynthiaSueLarson More than 1 year ago
When I first saw the cover of this book, I laughed out loud with joy and a sense of wonder about whether this book was for real. Surprisingly, DANCING WITH CATS is not a joke, and is an excellent primer on how to go about having some fun with your cats in a rather unusual way... by dancing with them. Since I don't currently have a cat, I borrowed one to get a feeling for how possible it might be to get a cat to dance. I succeeded in completely astonishing the cat as I began to notice the ways that the cat watched me moving around with movements that showed we were beginning to move together as one. Clearly, some cats enjoy dancing more than others, and this is one activity that may take a while to get fully into the swing of with your feline dancing partners. From the ancient history of cat dancing to modern age tips and techniques, this book provides a wealth of information about a subject most of us know very little about. The photographs are truly stunning, and you just might get some new ideas about what kinds of fun you can have dancing with cats. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The pictures were magical, capturing cats and dancers at perfect moments of artistry and creation. The text was also great, expressing both the wonderment and the naturalness that these people found with their pets. I particularly enjoyed the captions relating to the little boy Toby and his cat Toffee. This child's sense of joy and love for his cat and their special relationship came sparkling through the text and pictures. It may sound naive, but the mere fact that this book was made gives me hope that perhaps the world is becoming less callous and more open to the wonderfulness of cats! I'm just sorry that none of my cats can dance!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The five stars I give this book are merely for humor. The photographs and serious tone of the text say, 'sarcastic spoof', but it's not! This book is for real, which makes is even funnier. A wonderful coffee table book, a conversation starter. A must-see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I laughed and I was amazed! Not only was this a joy to see but the similarity between Cat & partner left me in joyous tears. Wonderfully done and brings out the sun on any rainy day.