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A Celebration of Cats

By John I. Blair



—The cat who had a sex change without an operation

I made a leap of faith and took you in,
Sworn as you were to the animal shelter
Where death was sure in your female guise,
Only to find you were a guy like me.
And what a guy!
Both black and beautiful.
No way to keep you home,
No way to keep you safe;
You chased after pussies
Until you caught your death of them,
All-male to the last breath.


Wolfie the Terrible . . .
The Great Grey Hunter . . .
Catching mice, birds, and even snakes;
Acrobatic daredevil,
Chasing squirrels through the treetops,
Thinking you were born to fly!
You used all nine of your lives,
Survived rat poison, two moves,
And three houses;
What a full life you lived!


The cat who laid down to die
And lived to tell the tale.
Limp on our lawn,
Waiting with resignation,
Convinced your life was over;
We took you in, got you well,
Fattened you up, and changed your mind.
You became
Our tireless raider of wastebaskets
And pillager of Thanksgiving turkeys.
The ultimate alleycat.
And when you finally met your fate,
Losing an argument with a car
While on your way to a nighttime tryst,
You had a minister present
When you finally breathed your last.


Oh Lucky Pierre,
Brooklyn to the bone,
Big and broad and feckless,
With your coat o’ white
And cap o’ gray!
You flew to Texas to have a new home,
No longer under Goldie’s paw,
But master at last;
Pierre, our max-a-million cat!


The day we met you
You mewed mysteriously for hours,
Invisible kitten, nowhere to be seen.
Frantically we looked,
Finally finding you in a tangled shrub.
Rescued, the first thing you did
Was run to the car and climb up a wheel.
We had to take you in
To protect you from yourself . . .
An act of faith . . . Auto da Fe.
And because I plucked you from the car,
We named you Otto.
Woolsucker extraordinary,
Death on blankets,
Sweetheart for snuggling.


Caterwauling youngster,
Placid old dame,
Basking in the heat,
Draped across my knees,
Siamese lady with a past;
You sanctified our house with your presence.

©10/31/2001 John I. Blair

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