Archives for posts with tag: cats

A Kitty Wake-Up Call
by Joyce Jacobo

Sweet kitty cat        I can hardly believe
       you just reached out
              with one little black paw
         booped me on the nose

I have awoken so many times
       to the gentle rumbles of your internal engine
           as you lay curled atop the comforter
              only inches away from my face

I have awoken some mornings
       to the soft spring of your strong legs
                    onto the bed
               and felt their pressure
       when you balanced atop my arm
                         until I got up

I have even awoken on occasion
       to hear the commotion of a plush bird
           attached by a string
               to the tip of a stick
                   as you dragged it down the hall
                       through the ajar door
                           right to my bedside
                               then meowed aloud

But I have never awoken
       to a paw boop upon the nose
              at 6:00 in the morning…

              …it makes me excited to discover
                     what antics you will try

                     …my sweet kitty
                            alarm clock

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash.

Salem copy

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My cat Salem. She’s s a very photogenic kitty!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joyce Jacobo is a freelance writer, transcriptionist, and book reviewer with an MA in Literature & Writing Studies. She loves to write short stories and poems that brighten the lives of others. Her writing has appeared in publications such as San Diego Poetry Annual, Scribes*MICRO*Fiction, Seeking Human Kindness, and 50-Word Stories. She also maintains The Literary Serenity Archives, a WordPress site.

by Alexis Rotella

In a small rural town a man high on a ladder paints his wood frame
house. At the top of his voice, he sings one tune after another,
mostly from the oldies-but-goodies era. Across the street a neighbor
makes requests. Do the locomotion, he shouts. The painter doesn’t
miss a beat. Into each song, he empties what’s deep inside his heart.

As we watch this interchange, an orange tabby makes a beeline toward
my husband, then rolls on his back for a long belly rub.

                                Two bottles in a box
                                one labeled goodness
                                the other love

PAINTING: Cat in the Garden by Walasse Ting (1981).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I turned this dream into a poem and wanted to share the joy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexis Rotella is a veteran writer of Japanese poetry forms in English. Her books include Between Waves and The Color Blue  published by Red Moon Press. A practitioner of Oriental Medicine in Arnold, Maryland, Alexis is also a mobile photographer and digital artist.

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Climate Change
by Ed Meek

You woke me up to talk again
about the need to move
when our cat, Isis,
proud as a peacock,
presented us
with a purple finch
she must’ve caught
outside the window
of our cottage on the coast.

She leapt onto the bed
and dropped her gift
between the white silk sheets.
The bird was as stiff
as a homeless drunk in winter.

Isis returned to her perch on the ledge
and purred with the satisfaction
of a job well done,
while the finch, to our delight,
popped up to its feet,
took to the air and flew out the window.

Was it stunned or playing possum? I wondered.
We have to talk, you said
as I rolled back over feigning sleep.

PHOTO: Male Purple Finch by Stan Lupo (Peace Valley Nature Center, Oct. 19, 2016).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Many people who live in houses on the East Coast are in denial about climate change. I remembered this incident where our cat presented my wife and me with a bird that appeared to be dead but was actually just stunned, and I thought that a lot of us are sort of stunned by climate change. But maybe we’ll wake up.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ed Meek has had poems in American Poetry Journal, Plume, and The Sun. His new collection is entitled High Tide. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his wife Elizabeth and dog Mookie. Visit him at and on Twitter.

cat by warhol 1976
Missing Gizmo
by Shelly Blankman

You disappeared into the darkness two years ago.
I don’t know why. People say you were only a cat
and that’s what cats do. But you weren’t just a cat.

Cats don’t shred calendars or stash eyeglasses under
a bed. The don’t steal pizza or chow mein from the plate
of their humans or drink from their straws, and they don’t hitch

rides on the hips of dogs six times their size. You’d greet me
each morning by leaping on my shoulder, slept by my side
whenever I was down, drew blood with your nips whenever

we played and then looked at me innocently like a child as
if to say, “What did I do?” when you knew. I’d just laugh, and
you knew I’d do that, too. You’d lick my tears dry and when

I was sick, you’d curl your body around my neck like a scarf,
and stay with me until I’d fall asleep to the lullaby of your purrs.
But you were sick. Almost from the time you rescued me.

Maybe at some point, you’d had enough of vets’ visits; I’ll
never know. We hired two search dogs to find you, posted
ads, knocked on doors, cruised neighborhoods. Nothing.

Still, I wait. Every time I leave the house. Each corner I turn,
each yard I pass, I look for you. Each bush that rustles I hope
it’s you — exhausted, starved, desperate to find your way home.

After two years, I am still waiting…

IMAGE: Cat by Andy Warhol (1976).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I saw the prompt for this submission, Jon’s and my cat, Gizmo, immediately came to mind. Of all the rescues we’ve ever had, Gizmo stands out as the worst in the best possible way. He was the Katzenjammer Kid of the Animal Kingdom, and our house hasn’t been the same since he ran off over two years ago. He probably didn’t last much longer after he escaped. He’d always been sick and no amount of excellent medical care seemed to make a difference for very long. I know he’s never coming back. Still, I wait.

PHOTO: The author and her beloved cat, Gizmo.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Blankman lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her husband of 40 years, three rescue cats, and a foster dog. They have two sons, Richard and Joshua, who are currently quarantined in New York and Texas, respectively. Shelly’s educational and career paths have followed public relations and journalism, but her first love has always been poetry. Her work has been published in such publications as New Verse News, Halfway Down The Stairs, and The Ekphrastic Review. Richard and Joshua recently published her first book of poetry, Pumpkinhead.

Creature Comforts
by Shelly Blankman

Dedicated to Dr. Barbara Feinstein and the staff of the Cat and Dog Hospital of Columbia, Maryland, and to all other animal caregivers who continue to work under difficult conditions to ensure that our pets stay healthy and safe.

Our calico cat curls in my lap, purrs softly
in sync with the engine of our car, now the
waiting room of the veterinarian’s office.

The glaring sun nearly blocks our windshield view
of masked vets and techs, their clothing wet with sweat,
rushing from car to car, lugging cages of sick cats,
cradling huge dogs, too sick to walk into the office,
now a barricade from a world too fragile for humanity.

Pan stirred, her hurt leg stiff. I kissed her soft fur,
whispered she would be fine, hoping she would be fine,
praying that in this pandemic world, worried owners
would not be waiting in their cars for empty cages, empty arms.
Doctors were hard to visit now. Receptionists were working
from home. Patients were seen by computer.
But veterinarians? They were there, the staff stripped of amenities,
layered with restrictions, always at the ready. No breaks, no backup.
They were there to help our Pan, our latest rescue,
in far worse pain than we’d realized, to diagnose her,
to be there for her and for so many other animals
in need of a healing, human touch.

These are the unsung heroes of the pandemic,
offering comfort to creatures who could not speak
the language of pain.

IMAGE: The Shepherdess by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1873).

blankman- prime mover Dr. Barbara Feinstein

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My creative process differs from poem to poem, but is usually from personal experience. Animals are very close to my heart, and so when Pan was injured, it broke my heart. As often happens, the poem just evolved from my heart. The process from there was just a matter of mechanics.

PHOTO: Veterinarian Dr. Barbara Feinstein, Cat and Dog Hospital, of Columbia, Maryland.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Blankman and her husband live in Columbia, Maryland, and have two sons, Richard, who lives in New York, and Joshua, who lives in Texas. She is also an at-home mom of three rescue cats—Stripe, Sheldon, and Pan (found during the pandemic), and a foster dog, Mia. Shelly followed a career path of journalism, public relations, and copy editing. Now she has returned to her first love, poetry. Richard and Joshua surprised her with a book of her poetry, Pumpkinhead, available on Amazon.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Pan is doing fine now! She has been  my greatest source of  comfort following a series of deaths during the pandemic. I think animals are incredible and so are the people who go beyond the call of duty to care for them.

Shut the Front Door
by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

Shut the front door
& listen out the back
notice the sounds
of wind through the alley
distant gulls at the beach
a bamboo wind chime
in a neighbor’s yard
echo of children playing
hum of buses and cars,
foghorn, helicopter

Shut the front door
& look out the back
notice pair of house sparrows
building a nest, starlings
back in town for the season
mockingbird that knows
every car alarm good morning
song that there is, crows
and cooper’s hawk, the feathers
of a mourning dove,
red blood in the wet grass

Shut the front door
and notice out back
building-mates, going
to and from car garage
hauling loads of clothes
to and from shared
laundry machines, taking
out their trash and recycling
the big dumpster where
even now the clanking sounds
of cans being crushed
by hands feverish sorting
through the bins, trying to
find anything that might
improve upon what they have:
never enough to shelter
through a cold night

Shut the front door
& remember through the back
to sweet peas mother planted
six feet away from you, with gloves
and mask on, how the sprouts
are beginning to show, how
the squirrel will tease the cats
inside with you, cozy as aloe
soaking up April sun, as an
occasional cabbage white butterfly
or cloudy sulfur rushes through
like liberated flowers

Shut the front door
& fall through the back
imagine what else you might
know, what else would
could, and should
possibly be.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem started when I heard coughing in the echoey corridor of my building, and I called out to my partner, “Shut the front door!” and the realization that everything was changing washed over me. As a disabled person with mobility difficulties I was already in many ways having to live this new lifestyle we’re all becoming accustomed to, though this drastic, tragic change in atmosphere hits hard and in unexpected ways. For me turning away from the outside world let me explore this new “inside” world, as I gathered my thoughts and emotions, appreciating the place that I do have, even as the front door shifts from being an entry way, to being a defense to the outside world.  And so the poem, “Shut the Front Door,” unfolds.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a Spanish/English speaking poet from Long Beach, California. Disabled with scoliosis from a young age, her poems often focus on trauma, giving heart to the antiseptic language of hospital intake forms. Author of Watermarked (Sadie Girl Press) and founder of the micro-press BindYourOwnBooks, Kelsey’s poems have been accepted by Spillway, Trailer Park Quarterly, Cholla Needles, Rise Up Review, Right Hand Pointing, Redshift, Making Up (a Picture Show Press anthology), and she will be Moon Tide Press’s Poet of the Month for May 2020.  Writing towards her new title, Here Go the Knives, find her at

J’adore My Door
by Karyl Carmignani

Solid and fearless, with varnish peeling like sunburnt skin.
Every push and pull blurts a micro-shriek across the threshold,
except when Santa Anas howl,
sucking moisture from every living thing, making us a bit mad,
and relaxing hinges, an intruder’s delight.
But lock tumblers jostle like cubes in a glass, and vow to keep us safe.

Screen door protects her stoic mate from sun and strangers.
Creates a veiled reality,
perfect for cats who pass the time
counting leaves crossing the porch,
or growl low and feral at passing ‘possums or toms looking for love,
as night falls hard on my newly quiet street.

There is a jangled ache outside in the absence of people.
This age of uncertainty, financial ruin, chills and fever
has tucked us in tight behind doors,
sturdy, hollow, painted, flimsy, raw, weeping.
We share this indoor life.
Separate and together.
It is a privilege
and a luxury to have a solid door to keep death at bay
and the cats inside, close.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Forgive the shaggy format of this piece. The door prompt has been on my To Write List for a couple weeks, and it didn’t bubble to the surface until the kitties were watching the leaves scuttle across the porch before a storm. I’m eternally grateful for their furry company during this trying time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karyl Carmignani is a science writer for San Diego Zoo Global who also dabbles in creative writing. You can read her nonfiction animal-centric articles here. One of her all-time favorites is about a fascinating and misunderstood bird, the ostrich. Read it and see them spinning on video here. She loves morning coffee (with a splash of milk), rainy afternoons (few and far between), a good joke, great books, her husband, her two cats Tina and Piper, and random, unending beauty in the world. While not a fan of this “house arrest,” she is confident that this, too, shall pass and we can get back to hugging friends, eating out, biking, hiking through parks, traveling near or far, and rejoicing in our fleeting existence with full and shining hearts.

Moving with a Siamese Cat
by Brenda Davis Harsham

There is no agony more sublime
than moving with a Siamese cat,
yowling, howling in his box
for hours on end
until any end seems
more appealing
than continuing.
He refuses food,
refuses water,
and stares at me with
enormous freaked-out eyes,
ears back in his I’ll-Get-You look
with fangs bared.
When I release him in a motel,
my nerves are shot, I put out
food and water before I
eat myself, but it’s no good.
All night.
Without stop.
Sniffing every corner,
stalking every shadow,
walking along mirror tops,
falling into the tub,
all while giving
an unearthly howl
of betrayal, rage, bewilderment
spiced with promises
of revenge.
If a cat could file for divorce,
moving two days
from home in a U-Haul
would be under
mental cruelty
and irreconcilable differences
Why did no one mention
before I told this story?

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken in 1994, long after my cat had forgiven me for torturing him.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem required time travel to 1991, way back to a few of the darkest days of my 18-year love affair with a Siamese cat I miss dearly.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brenda Davis Harsham lives in New England. She’s been a McDonald’s cashier, graphic artist, editor, lawyer and writing teacher. When she isn’t writing, she snaps photographs, makes art, invents recipes and reads to her kids. Her poetry and prose has been published in on-line literary venues, including Silver Birch Press. A poem is forthcoming in the Best of Today’s Little Ditty Anthology.

love the child
by Lindi-Ann Hewitt-Coleman

my eyes were so big
they swallowed the world
in all its dew spangled beauty
and bone shattered pain

my eyes were so big
they swallowed the ocean
and the mermaid and the starfish
and the deep breath whale
swam inside me

my eyes were so big
i did not have a face
or a body or
wild witch hair
where my cat
black as night
hid velvet paws
around my neck.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: I grew up on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. I befriended this feral cat who lived on the vacant farmland next door. Much to my delight, she returned the friendship by jumping through my window one night and birthing four kittens on my bed. This picture was taken in 1973.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindi-Ann Hewitt-Coleman lives on a very small farm on the edge of a very large forest in Wilderness, South Africa. Besides being a mother and writer, she raises Angora goats and spins wool. She has published two collections of poetry blue sky and other poems (2011) and holy ground (2014).

by Charles Bukowski

I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
needs and

but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so

they complain but never
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can’t

their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
a day
hesitation or

when I am feeling
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my

I study these

they are my