Thursday, April 1, 2010

ATale of Two Cats


It’s been bloody rain
for a week & I’m
tired of emptying the
kitty litter - the night
it started raining the
cat flap jammed & in
the morning a most
distressed moggy &
ever since he has
refused to go out-
side. He came close
to losing all his nine
when he sprayed my
computer. Trouble is
he catches mice & rats
but they are not going
to run inside to seek
his teeth & claws. Stupid
animal! It takes one
to recognise one. He’s
also the most devoted
cat I’ve ever had.
Another sign of his

This poem is in ‘Goya Rules’. For it’s own reasons it tells only half the story.

Shortly after we shifted to our previous house we were given two kittens. We named them William and Dorothy for we had just returned from a visit to the English Lake Country and the Wordsworths, brother and sister, were fresh in our minds. They were well-named. He consistently chattered and whined a lot, she was plump and placid, and they were devoted to one another. She purred most of the time when she was awake, even when eating. He rarely purred, was nervy but agile, and the poem’s correct, was an excellent mouser.

As the poem says the cat-flap in the back door jammed one night in a bad storm. During that night Anne woke me up to anxiously say something was bashing at the front door. ‘Only the wind’ I muttered. But it continued, so with torch and tension I slowly open it. In bounded Dorothy. She had never done that before. My language was extremely unparliamentary.

Next morning, when I went into the kitchen, there was William, back paws on the garden seat under the window, front paws on the sill, screaming in rage and anguish at me through the glass. He was drenched. When I opened the door he shot inside, refused all food, and cuddled up on the sofa for a day-long sleep.

We replaced the cat door with one that had a magnet to stop it flapping in the wind. This didn’t deter Dorothy, she continued to enter and exit regally. William, however, was much more nervous, gingerly testing its resistance. A sudden winter hail storm cured his caution as he hit it in a flash.

A few years later, sadly, we had to put William down. But now in the new house Dorothy’s still going strong. As I describe in last Sunday's blog she’d have won an Olympic aged cat’s speed race. On the whole she detests strangers. But friend Roger she not only tolerates but appears to admire. Here’s a brief biographical poem about her.


(for Roger)

like all cats

a kitten wailing
atip a manuka bush
after tumbling, scrambling
& then
up again

vanity is a proudly presented mouse
let loose to escape behind the dresser

curiosity at any empty box

undisputed rights to my lap
& access to
the kitty litter

retreat from most visitors
but not from Roger

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