Little kittens can’t get their legs.
Feet slide as legs sprawl wide.
Writhing amid a pile of siblings.
Wrangled and nudged by mama.
Tiny screams for leeway ungranted.
Bellies bulge with mama’s milk.
They don’t yet look like miniature cats.
They have neither the proportions nor the ears.
They could as well be puppies or opossums.
From any distance mama sanctions.
[National Poetry Month: Poem #19]
I took this photo at Mysore zoo through the chain link fence, but got focus on the leopard.
The lion is a kingly beast
Whose eyes no lies can abide
If you don’t wish to be his feast
Please act with tact and don’t chide
He doesn’t take to teasing well
He’s still but to kill is in his blood
His placid face may look swell
But a strong heart pounds THUD-THUD…
He may look like a big plush toy
But he’s no fun for a girl or boy
Don’t get your kid a big feline
Unless your exit is a swift beeline
Sonny was a stray who hopped up into my lap one day as I was reading on the back porch. He petted himself against me, and moved in shortly thereafter. He was between kitten and cat then, and so we estimate his age was approaching 12 when he left us.
Being a gruff, introverted stoic, I realize that I am an acquired taste as a friend. I have few non-contextual friends: that is, friends outside of a common endeavor such as a workplace or a school. Not that there’s anything wrong with friendships born of a common workplace or pastime, but Sonny’s out-of-the-blue arrival created a special fondness. That was Sonny’s nature.
He was a little dirty at first. A tiny notch in his ear–one that would be made symmetric later in life, marked him as a fighter as well as a lover. All about the love in the home, but ready to scrap to defend his adopted lair at a moment’s notice.
The books said his breed wasn’t inclined to be lap cats, but—being a cat—Sonny didn’t read much. And, therefore, he would spend hours curled into a torus on my lap, until my legs fell completely asleep and I had to stumble through pins and needles to refresh his throne.
Sonny developed a growth in his head. It was removed and biopsied, and then once more. Though Sonny’s Chi was strong, each time his nemesis grew back with greater ferocity. He fought it quietly and calmly. Making no complaints; demanding no sympathy. He was unflappable.
Sonny was a bundle of virtue: patient, kind, forgiving, strong, and stalwart. If the religions that believe in transmigration of souls are right, Sonny has earned the right to be whatever the hell he pleases in his next life. He was a Bodhi-cat-va, helping us to eliminate stress and teaching us how to accept upset.
Your gentle head-butts will be missed. Your popcorn bowl conformity will be missed. You, my friend, will be missed.
We never knew where Sonny’s scars and nicks came from, but I imagine it quite like that of Neil Gaiman’s The Price
That cat thinks she’s quite a mouser
but, truth be told, she’s just a houser.
At stalking and lurking she’s a master.
But catching? Well… they get past her.
Two tigers circle in the night.
Neither eager to be first in fight.
Bellies low, they scrape the ground.
Each step pads without a sound.
One false step brings the pounce
of each fearsome muscled ounce.
They twist and writhe and snap,
each jaw a toothy, steely trap.
In the end one slinks away.
Both live on to later days.
A test upon the jungle floor
and each cat knows the final score.