My motorised ball of fluff, You have golden eyes pink ears and a pink nose But your long hair is white as winter snow And warms you like a waistcoat. A flattened nose and baby teeth But when you run It is as though the carpet moves. You eat for a grown cat And drink the milk basin dry. You dig enormous mounds in your tray As you hide the evidence. Best when you play games Biting chewing pouncing Leaping on cat Who thumps you scolds you Chases you back to your place Where you simper and lick yourself In pleasure. My girl.
I am back from the shopping; Laden with bananas and clunking cans. To be greeted by scurry little feet And eager heads asking questions. Through to the kitchen To disembark. Out with sardines, yoghurt and apples Out with tin cans by the halfdozen. But by now cat has skulked off in disgust, No smell of mince No deliciousness. A boring old week of Whiskas And not the season for hunting mice. Another time.
Little kitten loves the evening time When midges whoop and holler over the lawn. She skulks out from the greenwood To sway in ballet as she chases the beast. The sun long gone and the dark not yet there But soon the efluorescent electric light Will grandstand her sallies up in the air. Long white hair sucking out the surrounding black As for the first time in the day she busies herself. She sleeps from morn to night And only arouses herself to digest her tea. She is a luxury cat, A scrumptious ball of fluff, Who hunts phantasms at evening.
Have you still got the kitten in you? Can you chew and bite? Can you dab your claws along my back? Your Uncle Benjamin was wise. He would sit and stare for hours From the tops of cars. He knew everything a cat ought to know And he loved children; He could stare at them for hours: He was wise. A black coated Persian good enough for stud who could run like the devil who only ate the best. He could play with ping pong balls, He could play with paper. Your Uncle Benjamin was wise He could stare at you for hours, Wondering if you would flower In his pale yellow eyes. Your Uncle Benjamin is dead He has gone to Cat's Heaven, He'll be waiting staring at the gate For the next friend to arrive. You aren't as wise as Benjamin But do you have some kitten left? To play with kids with balls of string And twirl before my eyes.
I have a good cat, He sits hunched with satisfaction. He ate all his Whiskas, Pilchard, his favourite. And, not to be outdone, he got a corner off my steak, wellcooked, not raw. He likes his meat. In the old days he used to hunt fieldmice and bring the fat bodies home for display. But he did not eat them. He prefers me to be his butcher. Now he waits for tomorrow, When he gets more. More Whiskas.
Fritz Cat loves the sunshine. He rolls on his back on the concrete path To communicate his joy to the sun. He is not just scratching his back. In the icy days of winter He sits huddled in the sun's rays Beside the heater at the top of the stairs. His mind floats on a sunbeam. He is not a daft cat. He just loves the reflection From the gold of his eyes To the gold of the sun.
Fritz Cat is a well-off cat. He has more toys than any other cat I know. He has a mouse and a spider, A rabbit and a three-star ping pong ball. He loves to toss his scruffy grey mouse over his shoulder. He does the same to his black spider with its seven legs. The rabbit is not so lucky. Fritz don't play with his rabbit. He merely keeps it in attendance. The rabbit is dirty white with red ears, red eyes and a red nose. It is an unloved rabbit. Fritz plays football with his ping pong ball. He is a brilliant dribbler. Like greased lightning, a two-fisted sprinter, He can dash across the room. He don't like it when I kick his ping pong ball at him, He's not a goalkeeper; He sees himself as an inside forward Forever dribbling. His favourite toy is his mouse. He cuddles it to him. Long ago it was perfumed with catnip, He must remember that. He bit the leather tail off his mouse Chewing away happily. It is a Manx mouse. There are not many cats have toys like Fritz, He is a fortunate cat. Tell him that when his dinner plate is empty.
Fritz Cat won't use his cat bed That used to keep him warm and snug When he was a kitten. He requires an armchair for his comfort. And during the long boring day He likes to sleep upstairs on the spare bed Where it is warm and he won't be bothered. No cat bed for our Fritz! His cat bed is made of tough red plastic With a furry white cushion. It is an elegant bed Not to be hidden away. I made the mistake at the end of his kittenhood Of washing the furry cushion With soapsuds Taking away all the lovely kitten smell. He has never looked at his cat bed since. He feels it nothing to do with him; Beneath his dignity. If you place him in the cat bed he hops out fast; It is a wasted bed, I should give it away But perhaps he will return to it in his old age. When he was a kitten he was so happy with it; Curling himself up in a round huddle He slept there all the time, Now the cat bed is a dead loss.
Fritz Cat had a bad time of it as a kitten. The little old lady whose council flat he was born in Hid him and his brothers and sisters away in a cupboard In a big brown cardboard box. Fritz was the runt of the litter. He never got kissed and cuddled. Last in the queue at mealtimes. His mother was so anxious about him being left out of things That she passed her anxiety onto him. That is why he has grown up scared of his own shadow. He is a neurotic cat. I got him at seven weeks old when he was all ears. But sadly by then the damage was done. He is a cat who sneaks the backalleys. Not a cat who sits out on the pavement. And he has never had any guts for fighting But maybe that is to do with his operation. There aren't many cats with as low an opinion Of themselves as Fritz has. He has to wash himself all day To put on a sheen to face the world with. He was never anything but nothing as a kitten And there is not much to say about him now he's a cat. A low grade specimen. Not to be envied. Poor old Fritz. He could have been something.
Fritz Cat is a showoff cat. He likes to impress people with how clever he is. There is nothing he enjoys more Than leaving a room as you enter it By skipping through your legs. Demonstrating his dexterity. It is his party trick. And he is proud of his mastery of catflaps. The way when he is in a hurry The catflap doesn't seem to exist, He is through it in a flash. If you want stroke right down to the end of his tail You have to move fast Because he can't half do a disappearing act Into the outside. He can even open doors; By hooking his paw around if they are ajar And pulling. He is not much good at pushing, He hasn't the courage to test his strength; So a shut door stays shut. But he is so proud of himself When at night, in the dark, He dashes headlong through his catflaps And emerges into the lit centre of the living room Where everybody is so happy to see him. He likes being the centre of attention.
Fritz Cat comes on his holidays too, in his cat basket, When I go North visiting my mother. Ferdia Kittencat lives there. Fritz enjoys beating up the kittencat. The two of them play for hours in the early morning. Then old Fritz has his sleep. Ferdia used to live with me when she was a kitten And she grew up with Fritz. But she was a dirty kitten and had to go North. Fritz wasn't sorry. He spat at her because he was jealous Of the attention that she got. (She's prettier than him.) And he wouldn't let her in through the catflap: It was his territory. But she was dirty and had to go. Now in the North she is always wanting To play games with Fritz. He don't mind. It amuses him. He knows he is not staying. That he is on vacation Stuffing himself with goodies from my mother's kitchen. Ferdia Kittencat has a crush on Fritz. But she has no brains. She's just a kittencat. Fritz always likes to be back home.
Fritz Cat don't know his name. When you call out `Fritz!' he won't answer. He is above such things. He has his own private secret catname for himself And that is good enough. Thank you. He doesn't want to belong to anybody And a given name labels you. But he is a hypocrite because he is so proud Of his cat collar Which drives off his fleas. That is medicinal. But he don't want nothing to do with names. As far as he is concerned you can call him anything you like. He won't mind. So long as he gets fed twice a day And a roof over his head. Thank you.
Fritz Cat don't reckon much to his cat biscuits. They are only for emergencies. Like when his dinner plate is empty. Then he munches a cat biscuit Making as much noise as he possibly can To attract attention to himself. To demonstrate that he is a badly nourished cat Forced to eat cat biscuits to keep him going. He thinks they taste like sawdust Although I buy exotic taste blends for him. Real cats don't eat cat biscuits. They eat meat. And Fritz Cat knows this. So next time you hear him crunching away at a cat biscuit Realise he is communicating his displeasure to the world. He wants his fresh Whiskas. He is a proper real cat, after all.
Fritz Cat is a fourth-rate cat. Firstly he is not a dog. Dogs are such affectionate creatures. Secondly he has no pedigree. Even Ferdia Kittencat has a pedigree. But Fritz is just a moggy. A common-as-muck Bath moggy. No wonder he is jealous of Ferdia. She is a gorgeous cat. Persian. And thirdly and sadly, it is so sad for Fritz, He is a doctored pussy. He cannot be a daddy. He has been done. Had the operation. That means that he is no fighter; Not a grizzled champion like Jason was. Which summing it all up means Fritz is not much of a cat. Only fourth-rate. And he knows all this. No wonder he skulks the backalleys. Poor Fritz.
Fritz Cat is a talkative cat. He is always chuntering away to himself. I don't understand a word that he says. Except when he asks for some milk. That is too obvious Because he miaows pleadingly When I have the milk bottle in my hand. But when he runs behind my feet Telling me his stories I am lost. And when he jumps up on my lap And talks into my face I am baffled. He doesn't know I am ignorant. He thinks I understand cat. But, anyway, perhaps it is good for him To be able to pour his worries onto me. Like talking to an analyst. It must be a great relief to Fritz to talk with me. After all he is so neurotic. Anyway I am flattered.
Fritz Cat stares out of the window for hours. It is his occupation When he is not sleeping. It is all arranged for him: A smooth surface that he can sit on comfortably High enough not to crick his neck. What he is looking for is dogs and cats. He has a very low opinion of dogs. Filthy creatures. Always wanting a gallop. More important are the neighbourhood cats Making their territorial strolls. Toms and queens and those inbetween. He don't want them to see him. He wants to be a spy. He sees everything. For such a solitary animal he is so sociable In his thinking. Best is when I come back from the pub And he is peering out through the curtains waiting for me. He purrs to see me. He is not a bad cat.
Fritz Cat's favourite time of the day is feeding time. If I am opening a fresh can of catfood for him He comes and stands below the tinopener To smell the delicious new flavour. Then while I decant the can onto his dinner plate, A third of a can for him, He stands on his hind legs squealing with joy. It was at this point that Ferdia Kittencat Used to pull his tail When she lived with us. But old Fritz wasn't bothered. Food is all that matters to a cat. And lots of it. Especially fresh. When Fritz was a kitten he would gorge his food, Eating it all in one go. Now that he is old and wise he savours it. Tasting it first then coming back again and again To nibble away. He is a trencher cat. He likes his food.
When Fritz Cat was a kitten I trained him to answer my whistle. This was done by bribery and lots of cajoling. I used to give him the run of the rear garden slopes all day Then when I returned from work I would go whistle for him. He would come running at a tremendous pace All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He was so happy to see me. He wasn't much bothered about being allowed in the house again. It was summer and he liked the great outdoors. That was before I put in the catflaps Because, at that time, he wasn't big enough to use them. Nowadays he still recognises my whistle. But it depends on how he is feeling as to whether he responds. Lazy old Fritz don't come running when you want him. He is past kitten games. But sometimes the old memory stirs And when I whistle he comes dashing up the path Like when he was a youngster. That's good old Fritz.
Fritz Cat don't have any friends. No-one ever comes to visit him. He is not bothered. He likes his solitary life. But when people visit me he fawns all over them. Which shows he is missing something. It would be nice for Fritz to have friends. But he soon gave Ferdia Kittencat the boot When she stayed with us. And she was only a jolly little kitten. Fritz hasn't much brain. For he could make lots of friends. Everybody likes him. Silly old Fritz. He's a Dumbo Cat.
I come home from work in the dark with the rain pouring down And there, standing in the middle of the road, waiting for me Is Fritz Cat with his miaows and his purring. He is pleased to see me. His tail is standing straight up in the air. He looks a skinny little thing. It must be his rumbling tummy that has driven him To this great display of affection. He must be starving. There can't be any food on his dinner plate. Poor Fritz. He has passed the house where the Alsatian dog lives On his way from the back door to greet me. He is a brave cat when he is famished. The first thing to be done is to feed him Although I am soaked to the skin. We cannot have a hungry cat in the house. Not our Fritz.
Early this morning Fritz Cat came scurrying Up the stairs to wake me. He put up such a performance that I chose To ignore him and went back to sleep. He must have been starving, He was wimpering and miaowing all over the place. He wouldn't leave the bedroom and sat in the front window. Eventually at ninethirty I got up. He was so pleased. Purring and rubbing his back against my legs. Downstairs I went to feed him, To put an end to his misery. But his food bowl was full of gorging ants. An army had descended on his Kattomeat, A new-flavour Chicken and Liver Kattomeat, And poor Fritz had been denied his breakfast. One lone roaming ant must have found food and now The army from under the skirting board was everywhere. Out with the fly spray. A terrible carnage as I killed all the ants Then threw away the meat blackened by dead bodies. Then the last of the Chicken and Liver Kattomeat for Fritz. He ate the lot With no thought for the mass of dead bodies in the rubbish bin. The ants thought Kattomeat good enough to die for. So does cowardly Fritz.
Fritz Cat has a new blue cat collar. That will replace his old red one that kept his fleas in order. It is not a bright collar to be seen from a far distance. Rather it is a conservative collar that gives him an air of opulence. Now I will be able to tell him apart from the young black cat next door that with its red collar was his twin. If I see the colour red that's not Fritz. If I see no colour then that'll be him. Cat collars do stink when new. I don't know how Fritz puts up with it, The aromatic scent of flea killer. Still that's him settled for another four months. Then Sainsbury's may have red in again. Variety is the spice.
Fritz Cat stays upstairs all the time these days. Sleeping on the spare bed Or watching the world go by from a window. He is master of the door to upstairs. He can hook it open or push it ajar As he likes. There is nothing to stop him. He only comes downstairs to see me When he can find heat. That is when the fire is on Or when the storage heaters switch in; He knows the hour for the timeswitch. He is still affectionate But his heart is in the upstairs. He cannot resist it. He would spend all his time there if he could. He is a dead loss as a companion. Roll on the dark nights when he will reappear As he don't like being by himself in the gloom. Not Fritz.
Early Sunday morning Fritz Cat was so hungry His tummy was absolutely empty. He came upstairs to wake me up. He stood up beside my bed And punched me in the eye Repeatedly. Then I awoke and Fritz panicked He was sick all over the floor A terrible mess A brown gooey mess, His stomach contents, It took me an hour to clean it up; Taking the colour out of the purple carpet Leaving Fritz' stain forever Until the carpet is cleaned. I refused to feed him I chased him out into the garden There he sat in a huff, starving Until I went soft And invited him in for his breakfast. This morning he didn't come To wake me He had more sense And he got fed at his usual time.
Fritz Cat is getting old. He don't hunt the mice the way he used to. He only caught two of them last year. Skinny shrivelled little bodies With no meat on them, Left as a present for me. In the old days he was Mouser Cat, I still call him that. Fat juicy bodies at the kitchen door Nearly every morning; Fritz was a great Mouser, A top-class hunter, Out all night tracking them down. Now he is getting old and lazy. He only catches rubbish. But he's still my Mouser Cat.
He is buried at the bottom of the garden. He died a soldier's death Boxing Death with his front paws. He died on the back patio Where he was digesting a vast meal. In his last week he liked to sit there. He came to this, his house, at seven weeks old And now he will never leave it. He lived here for thirteen and a half years. He was my little boy. Until the last fortnight of his life He would come to the top of the stairs To say hello when I returned from the pub. But as death came closer He moved out of the back bedroom Down into the fresh open air. His appetite improved. He perked up. He was a famous cat, Known throughout the world due to the poems. `Why do we take on these animals When it pains us so to lose them?' There is only one Fritz.
Douglas Clark/ Cat Poems/ Benjamin Press, 69 Hillcrest Drive, Bath BA2 1HD, UK/ email@example.com