Friday, 24 January 2014

The Kitty Letter Chronicles: Fitness, the feline way

Every evening, I watch in wonder as Big Red comes  in from wherever it is she disappears to in the mornings, dumps her bags and changes into the sweaty-smelly things draped over the bedroom radiator, then heads out the door again only to return an hour or so later red-faced, shiny, and smellier than ever. I think it’s something to do with getting into shape – though why anyone would want to be the shape she is, is beyond me.

She’s clearly not a keen observer of cat behaviour. Dim she may be, if she paid a little more attention to me - as any good subject should - she’d have realised by now the secret of my sleek, slim and oh-so-elegant physique.

I’m talking about cat yoga. Not the clumsy, chanting, two-legged version I see some of your kind attempting on the box with the moving pictures in the corner (by the way, what IS the deal with the soundtracks of tinkly bells, birdsong – most distracting – or ocean waves when you decide to try and get bendy and stretchy?).

No, I’m talking about the real thing. The genuine article, first developed by my forefathers as they serenely prowled the scented gardens of the Far East while Buddha was still trying to work out his take on life all those years ago.

Seeing as you’re such a loyal band, I shall share some of those secrets with you. But please bear in mind that you're at a disadvantage, so don’t get your hopes too high.

First and foremost, you need to find your place of stillness. Mine is usually on Red’s purple dressing gown, after I’ve dragged it off the bed into the patch of afternoon sun on the floor.

Next comes the state of stillness – and that’s when the first big challenge arises for you anatomically-challenged oafs. You just don’t seem to be able to do the whole ‘breathing’ thing right, do you? It’s not just a case of “In (two, three), Out (two, three)”, you know. You’ve got to synchronise the in-and-out with that special vibration of your larynx and epiglottis. Only then can you achieve a state of enlightenment and serenity from which to start twisting your limbs and doing you thing. I’m reliably informed that what you lot call “purring” releases special cat-hormones that enhance tranquility and kill pain – so that’s handy if you stretch just that little bit too much.

But first, a nap…

…on waking, start as you mean to go on by adopting the ‘(Surprised) Rising Lion’ position. Sit up straight, front paws on the floor in front of you, look straight ahead with eyes wide, jaws fully open, tongue extended, teeth exposed and ears back. Hold…… two, three - and snap shut, and shake. Not only does this shake off your slumbers, that display of your pearly whites should serve as a timely reminder that whilst you may be the epitome of elegant equilibrium, you’re not gonna take any nonsense from anyone.

Now, down to business. As you’re all beginners – and not likely to progress much beyond that – I’ll just give you the basics. Bear in mind that some of the names you lot assign to some positions (frankly insulting in some cases – ‘Extended Puppy’, hurumph!) have reverted to their correct, feline original.

Downward-facing queen (invitational) – Standing on all fours, jack-knife your body and stick your backside in the air, with legs and upper body straightened to form a perfect inverted V when viewed from the side. To perform this position correctly, the tail must be pointing like an exclamation mark up at the ceiling. Hold for a count of ten (is there anything AFTER ten?) and then progress to…

Upward-facing queen – Lower your body so you are lying flat on the ground, then push your upper torso upwards, supported by your front legs planted on the ground at shoulder level. Lift the head so you are looking forwards and slightly upwards, blinking in acknowledgement at the army of idiots watching you. Hold for ten.

Cobra – An extension of the upward-facing queen, but with the stretch extended so your back is arched inwards and your head thrown back with mouth wide open and tongue out.

Extended kitten – A variation of the downward-facing queen with similar invitational properties. Bum in the air, chest to the ground, front legs extended in front of you, head down. Hold for ten, or until a noise alerts you to adopt….

The hunter prepares – From the extended kitten, draw front paws into the chest, lift the head to look straight ahead at the source of the noise. Waggle backside to aid proper focus on the prey. Hold and waggle for ten seconds (unless distracted) before jumping up to assume…

Advanced cat (or ‘Attack dodo’) – On all fours, legs at full stretch, arch the back as far as possible upwards, tail fully extended towards the ceiling. All hairs on your body - and especially your tail - must also stand on end. Transition, if necessary, to…

Startled crab – From the advanced cat, walk rapidly sideways and backwards away from the source of the sound.

When the peril has passed, adopt the child’s position – Face down on the floor, all four legs tucked under, tail curled around the body. Hold until fully relaxed before moving on to…

Ocelot’s ablutions – Sitting on your haunches, raise one leg to point straight up with the other extended in front. Bend to lick the extended leg, belly, various nether regions. No need to count on this one (it can get quite tantric at times, and last for hours). When finished, switch legs and repeat.
(Note: this position can ONLY be executed with the help of advanced purring techniques.) 

Archer’s bow – Lying on your side, stretch your body and tail to full length and arch backwards to create a perfect semi-circle. Legs also to be stretched along the same line. Hold for ten, or however long feels good, then roll over to adopt…

Happy kitten – On your back, with legs relaxed but pointing upwards, expose your belly and look imploring at the nearest human. Continue until they respond with a tummy-rub, as which point, rapidly transition to…

The claw – Grab the tummy-tickling hand with all fours paws, nails extended, with a slight kick of the haunches, if desired. Grasp the nearest knuckle with your teeth. Hold until forcibly removed by human, or until you get bored.

Sphinx – After being extricated from the human’s hand, act like nothing has happened and adopt an aloof expression of serene indifference, lie on your stomach with back legs tucked under you, front paws neatly in front of your chest and head up, facing forward. Blink repeatedly (it makes the watching humans think your communicating with them – you’re not, but there’s no harm in making them feel special, is there?).

A perfectly executed example of 'the doughnut'.
Finally, the most important position of all, and my personal favorite: the doughnut. Tuck your head in and curl your body into a perfect circle, enfolding it with your tail. Breathe, relax, purr and……   zzzzzzzzz


1 comment:

  1. Hey, I have a quick question I wanted to ask you about your blog, do you think you could send me an email when you get this? Thanks! Tiffany