Kitten


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.

Shopping


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.

Evening


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.

Benjamin Clark


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.

Whiskas


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.

Sunshine


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's Toys


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.

The Cat Bed


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.

Kitten Days


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.

Showoff Cat


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.

Cat Holidays


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.

Catnames


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.

Cat Biscuits


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.

Fourth-rate Cat


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.

Talkative Cat


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.

Windows


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.

Feeding Time


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.

Cat Whistle


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.

Cat Friends


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.

Hungry 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.

Ants

 

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.

Cat Collar


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.

Upstairs

 

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.

Cat Sick

 

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.

Mouser Cat

 

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.

The death of Fritz 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/ d.g.d.clark@dgdclynx.plus.com