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.”

Terry Pratchett, 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.


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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 PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / 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

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10 Comments on “The Reign of Claws, A Tale of Two Cats

  1. Jamie this was the first poem I posted here and your kindness meant a lot. I remember being so proud to get a like and a comment. You made me feel welcome and as time goes on I see the generosity of your spirit over and over again. Thankyou from the bottom of my heart.

    Pussy cat,
    Pussy cat,
    I hear you meow,
    There’s none but the silence,
    None but us two.

    Where were you roaming?
    Where have you been?
    I know you were prowling
    And What? Have you seen!

    Your eyes are so huge,
    The city is wide,
    But one thing is sure,
    You’ll stay by my side.

    Pussy Cat,
    Pussy Cat,
    I love you too,
    We’ll someday be parted,
    But our love is true.

    Here you are sitting,
    A warm ball of fluff,
    Your meaning is love,
    Your presence enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jamie, You have probably guessed, by now, that I am a cat person so I loved your poem and story about Pywackette and Gypsy. Thanks for sharing. I had a ginger cat that I named Gypsy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post Jamie! Our cat crossed the rainbow bridge two years ago. Thinking about Kassidy still brings a smile to my face. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Your last few posts have been terrific – I am very much appreciative of the history, literature and wisdom you import in your blog. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Remembering Pye

    The Flowers so lovey
    sit in the hall,
    And, all of the house
    seems under a spell
    that sings ever so softly
    with voice not at all,
    until telephone ringing
    cracks silence and yells,

    Answer me!
    Answer me!
    Answer me, please!

    But no one is home!
    You mutter and scream!
    None but the cat
    will soften your dream.

    Pussy Cat, pussycat,
    wanders around
    discovering secrets
    and makes not a sound.
    Sits in a circle, all warm
    and a meow,
    says lady I love you
    I hoped that you knew.

    Yes….says a whisper
    as soft as a breeze,
    Quiet together, at peace
    and at ease,
    None but the flowers,
    and birds in the trees,
    will know we are sleeping,
    and have no one to please.

    J.E.Goldie – 2/16/75

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Cat’S Story
    Deeply touched by Friend Kathy Weinberg’s story ‘The cat that saved my life’ I started thinking about the cats that had been around me, near me and in my house for so many years. I had meant to write about what I was experiencing recently but other subjects got priority till I read Friend Kathy’s story. I dedicate these lines to her.
    Our family never kept any pets but we learnt to be kind to all living beings as Nature gave them a right to live on this planet. Except of course the ‘others’ too large ferocious and poisonous, and some are created as food.
    Well, my story dates back to the 1960’s as far as I remember and as I reflect I may begin…
    ‘Somehow I never favored keeping pets,perhaps because in my childhood I never experienced any animal at home, no dogs or cats or birds.
    Our family being of a different faith did not allow animals inside the house. I do remember seeing the chicken family,but that was for food I guess.
    Well, time passed and I became conscious of ‘cats’.I realized that a cat’ was always around by, close to where I would sit or walk or sleep. I left college and the hostel and went home to the city where my father was posted as the Commanding Officer of the Combined Military Hospital. Only a week after my arrival, there was a small brownish yellow cat outside the house and would be silently moving closer the moment it saw me.Soon everyone started saying’ your cat has come’ ‘it comes for you’ and I began to like it and not really creating but felt a natural love for it.
    One day I found something heavy on my quilt.It was winter time and no wonder after the first shock I relaxed and allowed it to stay…it was the cat trying to stay warm.let me share the fact that the place’ is a hill station’ where snow falls in winters and summers are pretty cool too.

    One night my sister crept into my bed and I had to lie in the other one. After a while she let out a scream and jumped up. The cat was on the quilt-my sister pushed it away…after that night’s episode I would stay alert…my sister was upset for days…I guess we have had our differences since then.Miles away in Buffalo she recently told me about a large-bird-from-nowhere had begun sitting on the backyard fence…’birds and animals have their choices too…’now what? so we should believe in Nature’s doings for they have a purpose best suited for us which we do not know.
    My marriage time came. What is to be done of the cat’ This question disturbed everyone more than anything else not even my leaving the house’.Much to my saddened heart my cat was grabbed put in a bag and taken miles away from the house.But experience says that animals are able to return to their place…I was told later’the cat is back’ then I was not there…I tried to forget….
    With my three children no more with me in the house,’the cat was there’ on the terrace close to the door’ sitting in front like a guard. The year 2012 passed in illness and throughout the cat purred growled and sat for hours. I was unable to climb the stairs , the cat came downstairs in the porch and sat there.My elder daughter visiting us and taking care was not fully recognized at first for her two sons were also present and somehow the animal did not favor them perhaps they being the ‘male members’…
    gradually the cat became quiet when she realized that they were family members.
    ‘Mom what a strange cat there is’ my daughter said,’ Mom recite some Holy verses’ and I smiled back weakly’ ‘Its OK ‘ no need to be afraid, it is my guardian angel …’MOM! Guardian Angel? and I smiled again…and so it was…my daughter left soon as she had a home of her own in the Emirates.
    Then came January 2013, my son came home from Europe after a year and a half. He stayed for five weeks.
    The cat was not seen or heard during that period.
    I noticed the fact and told my son. ‘The cat knows you are home, it will return when you will leave’
    and that is what happened.

    Anjum Wasim Dar

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My babies, my loves, brought so much happiness into my life. It’s true, I miss having the warmth and love they freely gave. You’vr reminded me of my Pyewackette (she prefererred the lengthy name) as she was quite the sophisticated feline (ahem). But all we loving and I miss them. Thankyou Jamie, for the remembrance.

    Liked by 2 people

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