Hey Internet! New cats!!!/ ‘Little Stray’ (new poem)

I’m a cat person. My childhood home has always been a haven for stray cats. They find their way here and latch on to my mother, who has always loved cats more than she’s loved us. Not true, but she really really loves cats. We all do.

This is Tiger. He passed away a couple of years ago, but before that we had him for 12 years. We would have had him longer if he hadn’t escaped the house, gotten into a cat fight, and then returned. He got two scratches. One was on his ear, and we got it taken care of. One was on his stomach, and we didn’t know it existed. It got infected, and by the time we found the scratch it was too late.

Tiger was a wonderful cat. He was well-behaved with his claws (we don’t declaw) and hunted down two bats which got into the house.

Back to cats! This is Pepper.

We adopted him from a farm. He’s a bit goofy. He was exposed to marijuana as a kitten. He purrs loudly if you say his name or sometimes if you just go stand near him. He’s also the most photogenic of all our cats. Look at those intense green eyes and high cheekbones.

This is Jack. He is also gone from us now. He was quite old when he came to us, and acted like an old man. He was a chatty catty, and he wondered around the house merowing at night.

Jack had a protégé: Orlando.

Orlando was pulled from a bush in our backyard by my mother and sister. He was eight weeks old, and he acted so fierce at first we thought he was feral. We tamed him, though. Now he basically gets whatever he wants. He’s 3 years old and my mother still gives him kitten food as a treat every day. He is also quite chatty, and often has conversations with us.

Because of my exposure to feline throughout my life, I occasionally think or act like a cat, especially with people I’m comfortable acting goofy around. That behavior inspired this poem; in my typical poems-are-premonitions styles, I wrote it on November 10. Enjoy!

“Little Stray
By Maggie McGinity

In and out of friends’
Arms I roam
Pat me on the head
Tell me to go home

‘Home’?
There is no home
I, but a stray pet
Halfway held
Halfway kept
Let in when convenient
Not when cold
Fed when lenient
Noticed when bold

I’m drawn to blankets
Soft, warm spaces
I’d bathe in the sunlight
But I can’t face it
Stray cat, silly hat,
Silly hair a result.
Stay, fray, or stray?
Who to consult?

Give me a collar
Give me a name
Give me a purpose
Worth all this pain
Give me an answer
Turn me away
‘I cannot keep you
Little stray.'”

Quotes:

“Never try to outstubborn a cat.”
-Robert A. Heinlein

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats …”
-Albert Schweitzer

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