What the Cat Knows
“February” by Margaret Atwood
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
“A Little Language” by Robert Duncan
I know a little language of my cat, though Dante says
that animals have no need of speech and Nature
abhors the superfluous. My cat is fluent.
“The Cats Will Know” by Cesare Pavese
You will smile alone.
The cats will know.
“The cat’s song” by Marge Piercy
You feed me, I try to feed you, we are friends,
says the cat, although I am more equal than you.
“Cat, Failing” by Robin Robertson
cowed, denatured, ceasing to be
anything like a cat,
and there’s a new look
in those eyes
“Superstition” by Marin Sorescu
My cat washes
with her left paw,
there will be another war.
Humans are Animals Too
“The Perfect Mother” by Susan Griffin
The perfect mother lets the cat
sleep on her head.
“The Orange Cat” by Alicia Ostriker
The cat who is not hungry
Can listen in repose
“Cat and Mouse” by Ted Hughes
Whether to two
Feet or four, how are prayers contracted!
Whether in God’s eye or the eye of a cat.
“Adam Waking” by Katie Peterson
The brief interruption of who I am
interrupts and punctuates the day
“Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats” by Sylvia Plath
“Something’s addled in a woman who accommodates
That many cats.”
“The Same Old Jazz” by Philip Whalen
And it all snaps into focus
The world inside my head & the cat outside the window
A one-to-one relationship
Mischief & Mayhem in Nine Lives
“Finding the Cat in a Spring Field at Midnight” by Pattiann Rogers
Haunches of the weeds and starry grasses
Threading through the eyes of the mouse
from “Jubilate Agno” by Christopher Smart
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
“Magnificat. Brave Cat at Snifter Fishbowl” by George Starbuck
and you arrive
up to your ears in a handstand on one claw
“Another Insane Devotion” by Gerald Stern
I think I gave the cat
half of my sandwich to buy my life, I think
I broke it in half as a decent sacrifice.
“Muier” by William Carlos Williams
and you return to us
in this condition —!
Cat Poems for Kids
“Little Robin Redbreast” by Anonymous
Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a tree;
Up went Pussy-cat,
Down went he.
“Quick! quick!” by Anonymous
The cat's been sick.
“The Three Little Kittens, They Lost Their Mittens” by Mother Goose
“What! Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie.”
“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” by Edward Lear
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
“Perdita: Why Cats Are Better Than People” by Michael Robbins
She is afraid of vacuum cleaners and tornado sirens. She lies on her back in squares of sunshine with her paws in the air and looks perfectly ridiculous and content. My friend Kristen tells her cat Mouse each morning that he’s her best friend, which is the sort of behavior that makes non-cat-people roll their eyes. But there’s something to it. Perdita and I don’t discuss novels or anything, but we really are friends.