I came across the poem “This Cat” by Karen D. Mitchell on my online travels, and it touched me deeply. Karen is the publisher of the blog Neko Scribe, where she and her tortoiseshell cat Calpyso the Watch Cat share news and views related to animal welfare in their hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as across the nation and the world.
I’m republishing the poem with Karen’s permission.
steel woven in wool,
black wands flickering
in two full moons.
claws that tap bars
and paws that stretch
far, like a child’s hand
waiting for treats.Continue Reading
I’ve always believed that animals come into our lives for a reason. They teach us about unconditional love. They help up open our hearts. And sometimes, they even save our lives.
The beautiful poem below makes the rounds on the web periodically, and every time I read it, it moves me to tears. I recently came across this version, slightly altered and adapted for cats, on Romeo the Cat’s blog, and wanted to share it with you today.
Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the cages.
I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.
I meowed, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.
As she read the sign on my cage I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past.
I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.
She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.
I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.
Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.
A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.
Soon my cage door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.
I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.
I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.
So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors.
So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.
I rescued a human today.
Did your cat rescue you? Please share your stories!
Photo of Buckley, taken after she rescued me in 2006.
This poem was originally written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog’s professional dog trainer. Janine’s passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability. Copyright 2011 Rescue Me Dog; http://www.rescuemedog.org/.
“Basically, the cats have our number. And our address. And a map.”
So begins Derv & Co., a collection of stories and poems about some of the cats who’ve come into the hearts and home of T.J. Banks. We meet Derv (short for Dervish), the orange and white patriarch of the clan, and Star, the Siamese whose introduction into the household is described by Banks as “General Sherman marching through Georgia during the Civil War. ” In addition to many others, we also get introduced to Zorro the Reiki cat, who taught the author about healing and energy, and Phoebe, the office cat, who will guest blog right here on The Conscious Cat next week.
T.J. Banks knows and understands cats, and her appreciation and love for each individual cat shines through in her sensitive and beautiful prose. You may recognize some of your own cats in the stories, and you’ll find yourself nodding your head in recognition of a particular feline trait, or laughing as something in one of the stories will awaken a long-forgotten memory of one of your own long lost cats.
Cat lovers, especially those who live with multiple cats, will probably recognize their own homes in the chapter titled “Feline Chic.” We’ve all made decorating compromises to accommodate our feline family members, from flooring to furniture to wall color choices (Banks suggests butter yellow if you have cats who spray!) Sticky Paws tape may just be a cat lover’s best friend when it comes to home decor.
All the stories touched my heart, but it was the poems that moved me deeply. “Storm’s Passing,” written after her cat Stormy died one June morning when his heart stopped unexpectedly, beautifully captures the grief we all feel after losing a beloved cat. “For Solstice” conveys the experience of a spirit visit by a beloved cat that is so magical and lyrical, it filled my heart with joy. “Dawnstar” is an enchanting ode to a soulmate cat.
This is a jewel of a book. It’s the kind of book you don’t read just once. And it’s the kind of book you’re going to want to give to every cat lover in your life.
Derv & Co. is available directly from the author – if you’d like to purchase, please e-mail T.J. Banks.
T. J. Banks is the author of A Time for Shadows, Catsong, Souleiado, and Houdini, a novel for young adults which the late writer and activist Cleveland Amory enthusiastically branded “a winner.” Catsong, a collection of her best cat stories, was the winner of the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. A Contributing Editor to laJoie, she has received writing awards from the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA), ByLine, and The Writing Self. Her writing has been widely anthologized, and she has worked as a columnist, a stringer for the Associated Press, and an instructor for the Writer’s Digest School. She is currently writing a blog called “Sketch People,” a series of interviews with people who have stories worth telling. You can learn more about T.J. Banks on her blog, and through this interview.