Dogs and Cats
Cats are more bendable, dogs more dependable.
Cats are more stretchable, dogs much more fetchable.
Dogs rip and tear and their kisses are wetter.
Cats donate hair to your favorite sweater.
Dogs howl at the moon and bark at the neighbors.
Curling and stretching the extent of the labors
of cats whereas dogs display energy plus––
harassing the mailman or chasing a bus.
Both species have four feet, fur and a tail,
fall into two classes: female and male,
and when there is breakage, neither is to blame.
But that’s the extent of the ways they’re the same.
For day 29 of NaPoWriMo 2020, we were to write a poem about our pets.
Frida Resumes her Perch
If you have been around for awhile, you know about my dog Frida, who passed away in October, 27 months ago. At that time, I published this poem in her memory: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2016/10/11/look-up-poem-for-a-good-good-girl/
which was about, among other things, her love of standing on the dome of my house and supervising the world about her. For two years, I fantasized about finding a dog similar to her and cementing it to the dome with her ashes inside so she could spend eternity in her favorite spot. Finally, I located what I thought was the right dog, and this is the story that followed:
Please click on photos to enlarge and read the captions.
Ironically, the day Gerardo and his brother were due to come permanently install Frida’s memorial, my cat of 18 years, Annie, finally grew so ill that I called the vet to come to the house to put her to sleep, and luckily Gerardo and brother didn’t make it, but came instead today. Somehow this reaching of the goal to memorialize Frida helped somewhat to dilute the sadness over Annie’s departure. Plans are in the works for her memorial. R.I.P. beloved friends.
(Click on mug shots to enlarge for better identification.)
Oh man. Brian pooped in the sala and peed in the spare bedroom, in spite of the fact that I took him out twice last night and once this morning. Then Annie cried all morning in spite of the fact I’d given her food, water and head scratches—perhaps because Brian was in my bed with me? Put Brian out, put a cushy bed for him out on the side of the house and opened gate for Morrie to join him in the side and front yard so they could play without Diego’s interference. Morrie immediately went for the cat food in this usual cat’s domain and then for Annie, whom I had forgotten was in the front garden. Chased her behind the big planter, where she was cowering when I came out to put Morrie back in the back yard and to rescue Annie. There are not enough zones in this house! I don’t know that I have a solution to the problem. Brian is crying outside but I won’t have an animal who pees and poops inside! Help.
1/2 hour later. Good news. Brian has stopped crying.
No Peaceful Kingdom
The dogs are in the backyard where they don’t molest the cats.
The cats are in the front yard where they monitor the bats
but do not dine on birds because the birds have given up
and all moved to the back yard where the young cats never sup.
The younger cats stay outside and the old cat lives within
and should the outside cats ever escape from where they’ve been,
when they’re inside, they’re bullies and steal her food and tease her.
Although, since I can’t find a type of cat food that will please her,
it’s no problem for the old cat, yet those cats are getting fat
while every day there seems to be less of the older cat.
True, the older cat is crabby and swats the young cats first,
so it’s hard for me determining which cat is the worst.
I’m tired of these war zones. I wish they’d coexist,
and I wish that I could simply tell them to desist.
Yet with man and other animals, more often you will find
they can’t exist in harmony with those who aren’t their kind.
Annie the crabby cat woke me up before Ragtag was online today, so they get their own individually prompted poem. Their prompt was “harmony.” Here’ their link if you want to play along: https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/rdp-sundayharmony/
Click on any photo to enlarge all.
Solace from this angst-filled world can best be found at home.
It wraps around me snuggly under my protective dome.
Prioritizing calm and peace, I have a little chat
with a dog or bird or two, or maybe with a cat.
I lie snug in my hammock and survey the too-long grass
of my private little meadow where no evil comes to pass
short of combat between possums and dogs too poorly trained
to entertain these welcome guests in manners more restrained.
Their battles are, alas, short lived. The dogs always the winners.
As in the world, the bounty here goes to the biggest sinners.
The possum’s only infraction? It’s not a dog or cat
and its physical resemblance is too close to a rat.
And so the world injects itself into my little nest,
insisting the familiar is what we accept best.
These battles happen when I’m gone or when I’m fast asleep,
too lost to this too-conscious world, lost in a world more deep.
As things are on the outside, I fear they’re also here.
My world is not a perfect world, but simply a small mirror
to what is happening all around. It is without a doubt
those who have most everything keeping others out!
- The prompt words today are: home, prioritize, angst and meadow. Here are the links:
Stormy Thursday Doldrums
I awoke to thunder all around,
skies clad in gray, no other sound.
My whole world tucked into itself,
the white cat on the bathroom shelf,
cuddled into once-folded towels.
The old cat hidden in the bowels
of my closet, seeking peace,
wishing this thundering would cease
so all the other cats could go
outside again so she could know
some peace of mind free from the rankles
of other cats around Mom’s ankles.
Now a lightning bolt that shakes
the house until it groans and quakes.
Unaccustomed to this morning storming
and these dense clouds so closely forming
cover that screens out the sun,
the cats and dogs wake, one-by-one,
but do not clamor for their food
as though this dense dark interlude
bonds us all within its shell,
each thunder clap a warning knell.
Safe within our selves we dwell,
these fears of nature there to quell.
The calicos are on the couch,
accomplices in ready crouch.
The dogs still in their beds, awake,
but still no breakfast demands make.
I fill their bowls and all awaken,
Kibble given. Kibble taken.
Shadows through Virginia creeper
reveal that each noisy cheeper
is now taking to the wing,
as in my waking everything
now comes to life and morning’s born.
Hibiscus opens to adorn
the greenery it’s held up by,
yet still the thunder fills the sky.
This rainy season’s thunderous might
was once sequestered by the night,
but now it’s taken over day,
sealing half the world away
under covers, wrapped up tight.
A car alarm now sounds its plight.
Dogs howl. The whole world now seems bent
on furnishing accompaniment
to that long timpani rumble—
constant loud and rolling mumble.
Perhaps this entire morning with be
a constant natural symphony.
In rain’s surcease, the young cats go
outside again to spots they know
where they can shelter from the rain,
knowing it will be back again.
The old cat remains, safely hidden
in her tumbled closet midden
of shawls pulled down from hangers for
a nest she’s built upon the floor.
We stay inside, protected from
this storm’s pelt and constant drum.
Time for snuggling close in bed,
pillows cushioning my head,
computer balanced on my knee
to furnish me with company.
The rain now beats on ceiling dome.
I’m glad that I am safe at home,
fortunate in its protection,
safe from this stormy day’s detection.
Safely here within my groove,
I will not stir. I will not move.
Only fingers softly tapping.
Later, perhaps, a bit of napping.
Bark of dog,
Meow of cat.
takes care of that
with pop of can
and clink of dishes.
all these wishes,
back to bed.
Write my blogs.
Out of bed.
Put on togs.
Make a smoothie.
for writers’ meetings.
Lots of words
and lots of greetings.
to write some more.
at my door.
Once a week
a heavenly rub.
soak in the tub.
Pat the cats,
throw balls for Morrie.
Write some more,
the same old story.
Talk to Dux
many a time
throughout the day.
Sometimes with rhyme.
Midnight finds me
in the pool
and Morrie’s rule.
Throw the ball
for him to fetch.
reach and stretch
to retrieve the ball
he throws at me.
Then loft it over
bush and tree
to lower garden
for him to find.
This is our nightly
Go in to bed
to write some more.
Get up to check
I’ve locked the door.
Trips to the vet
to trim or cure.
Coffee with friends,
or dinner out.
trips to the shore,
without a doubt.
Lives grow and change
often with time.
So this is just
The prompt word today is typical.
Kittens reacting to Morrie and Diego, jealousy barking at the closed gate that separates them from their arch rivals, the cats.
My dear little creatures, I did not expect
that your lives and mine would intersect.
I didn’t know in the hush of my life
your antics would make such a mush of my life.
I spout silly names like “kitty” and “baby.”
Have I gone dotty? I must admit, “Maybe.”
I’m given to lying prone on my bed
letting the boy kitten claw at my head,
combing my hair with his kittenish claws
as his sisters cavort without mercy or pause,
biting my fingers and licking my knees.
I let them assault me wherever they please.
I find them adorable and entertaining.
Besotted with kittens, my interest is waning
in matters less feline. I neglect the dogs.
Leave them to possums and squirrels and frogs.
I feed them and throw an occasional ball,
but lately, obsessions more easily fall
into matters of cat, I’m embarrassed to say
it’s entirely possible one day I may
turn into that cat lady, brunt of those jokes
told by low-lifes in bars and other brash blokes
making fun of those who, although different, perhaps,
get pleasure enough from cats on our laps!!!
The prompt word today is expect.
The story of the four kittens abandoned on my doorstep 3 1/2 months ago continues. As you can see, they are barely kittens anymore, and once they’d had all their shots and been neutered and spayed, it was time to make their transition outside. I knew there were dangers, but 5 cats inside is just too much for me to handle anymore, let alone for housesitters allergic to cats to handle, so the day came when they were finally let out to the wide world as it existed within my compound walls. I am hoping they won’t be tempted to go over the walls but know it is inevitable. A bigger worry is that they’ll venture into the backyard where Morrie and Diego are accustomed to dealing with animal interlopers in a predictable manner. I’ve kept sliding glass doors open (screens and bars closed) hoping they’ll get used to each other, but the dogs are jealous, curious, and, well, they are dogs. Here are the events as they have unwound over the past week, ending yesterday. All in all, a scary day.
(Click on the first photo to enlarge and read captions.)
Heartsick. When I went out to feed the kittens this morning, only two showed up. I put out the food, which usually brings them out, but Ollie and Kukla never appeared. I called out over and over, opened the garage door, looked outside, nothing. I was sobbing by the time I thought to pen the dogs up and look in the backyard. It was the worst sort of suspense thriller–the kind of movie I hate–as I combed every inch of the backyard, expecting to find their little bodies everywhere I looked. I had heard the dogs take after something last night and a loud screech, and I had brought the dogs in immediately, but the screech was not catlike and when I called out for kittens, no one answered. Now I regretted not looking closer last night.
I looked everywhere again. As I searched behind the studio, both dogs came around the back way as though they were helping me to look, but nothing. I wondered if the cats had gone hunting in the lots across the street because I was a half hour late in feeding them this morning, thanks to my spider poem. Finally, I went back to the house and let the dogs out, then once again combed the plants around the studio. Diego kept running behind a monster pot containing aloe vera on the terrace near my bedroom, and eventually Morrie joined him. Beside it were two other pots too large to move and they were all tangled up in the thunbergia vine that covered the wall, all of the tall plants around the studio and behind my bedroom, and also had grown up the telephone post and along the wires. I tried to pull the pots back but they were too heavy. I finally pulled one smaller palm pot out and searched behind all the pots. Nothing. But, I thought I detected a tiny squeak.
I put the dogs in again and went back and repeatedly called “Kitty, kitty, kitty.” Finally, Ollie jumped down out of the vine tangle and nonchalantly strolled across the patio, looking very closely for dogs. I called again and a few minutes later, Kukla joined us. I was so relieved!!! I carried them around the house as I’d exited through the doggie domain and was not about to carry them through the room occupied by Morrie and Diego. I put them in the front yard, closed both of the barrier gates, let the dogs out and put the two wayfarers into the house so I could feed them separately from their sisters, who had already eaten. When I went out to get a collar to put on Kukla, however, the other cats got in, so I put another dish of food out, got a collar on Roo and Kukla but not Ollie. Fifteen minutes later, Frannie is the only one who has kept hers on for two days. The rest of the collars are lost somewhere out in the cat jungle. Phew. Motherhood.