Cat poems

Watching the movie version of Cats prompted me to look out the few pieces of doggerel (catterel?)  that I’ve written to various feline companions over the years – not up to TS Eliot’s standard, but cat-lovers may enjoy them.

THE GINGER TOM

This is dedicated to Orange Roughey (O.R.) who was rescued as an aggressive stray living wild on the mountain behind our house, and after a long and tumultuous period of rehabilitation turned into a cuddly domestic pet.

The ginger tom is curled up on the bed
He dreams of catching bird and mouse and rat
He purrs when loving owners stroke his head
A life of bliss for the domestic cat

Orange Roughey cropped

FOR FELIX

This is a sentimental poem written after Felix, a much loved black and white cat, died from an undiagnosed illness.

We loved one another for fourteen years
Remembering you now brings back my tears
You came as a fragile rescue kitten
As soon as we met my heart was smitten
Although you and I were perfectly matched
Other admirers would often get scratched
I was the mother that you never had
Nursed you with care when your health became bad
Although the vets were so clever and kind
They could not help as your vigour declined
Why you were so sick nobody could say
Sadly I watched as your life ebbed away
One night when I lay awake on the bed
A cold breeze told me your spirit had fled
I laid you to rest in a garden tomb
Where irises and sweet violets bloom
Passage of time will perhaps dim the pain
Till on the Rainbow Bridge we meet again

Felix on flowerbed

TRIOLET TO RESCUE KITTEN MAGIC

Magic, also black and white, was abandoned under a hedge as a young kitten and came to us in a fragile state. A triolet is a short poem of eight lines, containing two rhymes repeated in specific places.

Your fur is black with specks of gold
Your eyes like spheres of jade
Once left to die out in the cold
Your fur is black with specks of gold
Now you live safe within our fold
No need to be afraid
Your fur is black with specks of gold
Your eyes like spheres of jade

Magic in box

HAIKUS FOR THREE CATS

Daisy is no longer with us, but Magic and Leo are alive and well. The three-line haiku format originated in Japan.

Magic soft as silk
Black and white ballerina
Light as a feather

Magic on cyclamen bed

Leo chunky boy
Loving his cuddles and play
Mackerel tabby

Leo on flowerbed

Tortoiseshell Daisy
Sleepy purring dowager
In her sixteenth year

Daisy with flowers

***

I think my novels are better than my poetry and the latest one You Yet Shall Die (available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Smashwords.com and other online retailers), a story of family secrets and a long-ago crime, features several cats.

8 thoughts on “Cat poems

  1. To Our Tragic Beloved Cat, Socks—A Belated Farewell

    You came from your first home, dear feline,
    to our house, chose us quickly you did,
    into our empty lives you brought sunshine,
    who could wish upon you something horrid?
    Though your first ‘owner’ wanted you back
    and returned you to his rugged place,
    you left him again for he did lack
    the grace to present to you his case.
    So to us you chose to belong
    and on us you showered affection,
    for against us you could do no wrong,
    regardless of the initial-‘owner’ rejection.
    But after a brief pleasure, a short while,
    your carelessness outside on the street
    put us through tribulation and trial,
    a car-ravaged feline we did meet.
    ‘I believe,’ said the vet, ‘he will heal’
    as your jaw was wired together,
    however, your wounds would never seal
    and you spent much time in the weather.
    Oh, poor feline! you were left a mess,
    for you’d sneeze out the canned food you ate,
    that you’d never improve was our guess
    and cruel Fate we could not help but hate.
    Coupled with your flea infestation and scabbed skin,
    you were not pleasant to hold or touch
    though you were always considered kin,
    your soul should know we’ll always miss you very much.

    Frank Sterle Jr.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true that, not only are too many felines not given a chance at being cherished for their lifetime, too often cats are severely neglected and abused.
      Over the last four decades I’ve observed callous disregard, and sometimes even contempt, exhibited by individual people and the collective community toward these often-suffering sentient beings.
      I grew up knowing a few cat-haters willing to procure sick satisfaction from torturing to death those naively-trusting thus likely sweet-natured cats whose owners had recklessly allowed them to wander the neighbourhood at night.
      Also worrisome are the unfavourable attitudes toward cats openly expressed by news-media commentators, whose views, however reckless, can be influential.
      When the editor of a community newspaper wrote a column about courthouse protestors demanding justice in 2014 for a Sarnia, Ontario cat shot in the head 17 times with a pellet gun, destroying an eye, she declared: “Hey crazy people, it’s [just] a cat.”
      Maybe the court also perceived it so, as the charges against the two adult perpetrators were dropped.
      Elsewhere, an otherwise liberal-minded national columnist twice (of which I know) openly stated her dislike for cats.
      In an Oct.30, 2017 opinion (“How to silence heckling MPs in the animal House”) she wrote that Canadian politicians should replace their traditional rude heckling with caterwauling: “My vote is for meowing because I don’t like cats and I’d like to sabotage their brand as much as possible. So if our elected politicians are going to be disrespectful in our House of Commons, they might as well channel the animal that holds us all in contempt.”
      I search-engined the Internet but found nothing to even hint as to why she so publicly dislikes felines. I know their reptilian vertical slit pupils and defensive fanged hisses don’t help their cause.
      (As for my own house cat, Simon, I feel he appreciates me as much as I show mine for him.)
      The above comments and criticisms about cats might reflect on why feral-cat Trap/Neuter/Release programs, regardless of their documented success in reducing needless suffering, are typically underfunded by governments as well as private donors.
      There are staggering numbers of these distressed souls in some B.C. municipalities, where well-known old-problem rampant feral and stray cat populations are allowed to suffer severe malnourishment, debilitating injury and/or infection.
      Could there be a subconscious human perception that the value, or lack thereof, of such animal life (if not even human life in regularly war-torn or overpopulated famine-stricken global regions) is reflected by its overabundance and the protracted conditions under which it suffers?
      I fear a possible presumption of feline disposability, i.e. ‘there is a lot more whence they came’.
      Only when over-populations of unwanted cats are greatly reduced in number by responsible owners consistently spaying/neutering their felines, will this beautiful animal’s presence be truly appreciated, especially for the symbiotic-like healthy relationships (contrary to common misinformation) they offer their loving owners.
      (Frank Sterle Jr.)

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