The Reign of Claws, A Tale of Two Cats
“I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it.
Cats, he said eventually. Cats are nice.”
Sourcery: A Novel of DiscWorld
Cats and dogs and other wee creatures are good friends to writers and poets. They keep us company through long solitary days of work. They force us to get up, move around, walk, use our distance vision … take a break.
After years of nurturing all sorts of animals – we had a variety when my son was little – my docs told me no more birds, cats, rats, goldfish, beta, hamsters, or gerbils. Dogs, for some reason, seemed okay and I’ve had two in recent years. I adopted Bob Seeger Dedes at the end of September and by October I had to surrender him, my allergies kicked in to the point that my eyes were swollen shut and it was hard to get out of bed. I’m devastated, but Bob was taken into a good home within days of surrender, such is his charm.
In loving memory of all the fish babies and love birds, of Gerry 1 and Gerry 2, Sherlock Holmes the Rat, Priscilla, Tigger, Bubba Cat, Telemachus, Dexter, Feyd, Buddy, Brutus, Skippy the Bush Dog, and The Bax.
My son looked at Pyewacket. “She’s either the smallest Holstein or the biggest cat.” She was big … and reserved. She was a lady of the old school and a contrast to Gypsy, a feline with some distant kinship to Peter Pan. Gypsy didn’t want to grow up. We thought she might be a munchkin, a hyperkinetic one. Where Pyewacket watched the world from behind wide Yoda eyes, Gypsy, like a stranger from another planet, was inclined to place her head in the mouths of huge dogs, bend metal blinds with bare claws, set rivers loose with bounding leaps into water bowls and – disguised as an innocent kitty – create havoc to the disgust of Pyewacket who had Yoda’s eyes but not his stoicism.
Here we are – at the vet – the munchkin and the Holstein – a pair reminiscent of Mr. & Mrs. Sprat of fairytale fame. The recommendations: prescription diets for both, exercise for Pyewacket. “Get something for her to chase.”
That’s when I got Tweety Pie. She lived in the corner of the living room and hung out on a string that was attached to a length of bamboo. She licked her beak at the thought of two cats to outsmart. Back and forth, too and fro, she flew across the room. Pyewacket turned a blind-eye on the indignity of the chase, but Gypsy couldn’t get enough.
Time passed as it is wont to do. Pye stayed her plump and meditative self. Gypsy remained scrawny, endlessly chasing Tweetie Pie and leaping from tabletops and counters. One day I woke up too weak to walk. The docs did their best to repair the damage my deranged immune system had wrecked. Their best was very good indeed. Still, it was difficult to keep up with Gypsy. My world-class son and beautiful daughter-in-law adopted Gypsy.
Pyewacket stayed with me and we took care of one another, though eventually kidney failure – common in cats – had the last word. Pyewacket started her walk to the Rainbow Bridge. Every few steps she turned and looked back, the sadness in her Yoda eyes more profound than ever. Years later Gypsy left. I wasn’t with her but envision Gypsy leaping across the Bridge. True to herself, no backward glances, just on to the next adventure.
The Reign of Paws was filled with smiles and love, but cats don’t live as long as humans. Loss is expected, inevitable, heartbreaking. Still, I regret nothing. Some of our best family memories include our kitties and they’ve inspired more than one story or poem by more than one of us.
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”
The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others
“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA
“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton