Poetry for Cats – Poets Supporting the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue

Poetry for Cats is a special literary project to help cats in need by featuring poetry written for and about our furry feline friends. Running an animal rescue is an expensive operation that takes time, energy, and money to ensure that these animals get the medical and social attention that they need.

Great Lakes Bengal Rescue (GLBR), a non-profit organization, recently rescued 12 more bengals from the owner of a mill who was no longer able to provide shelter and care for her cats. This is just one of many incidents in which GLBR rescues a large numbers of animals at once. However, they also take in cats that are given to them from loving families who can no longer care for their pets, from other shelters, and from seizures. They cover 8 states and have over two dozen foster homes who work with the rescued bengal cats, providing them with care and shelter, until a permanent home is found.

Bengal cats are beautiful animals with a lineage that connects them to the Asian Leopard Cat. According to the GLBR’s website, “Bengals originated as a hybrid crossing between the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) and the domesticated house cat. After FOUR generations from the ALC of Bengal to Bengal breeding the Bengal is considered a domestic cat that is eligible to show in pedigreed cat shows and compete for championship titles. Think of their breed as you would a Abyssinian, Siamese or Main Coon. They are NOT classified as wild animals.”

Running a charity organization that is dependent upon donations and gifts is no easy task, especially when tough economic times make it difficult for people to make ends meet. However, Janet Saltzman, President of GLBR, continues to move forward, rescuing cats in need and giving them the care they deserve. In honor of this lovely and noble breed of cats as well as in deep appreciation for all of the good work done by the Great Lakes Bengal Resucue, UNDERWORDs has collected a very special kind of donation from some very talented animal lovers.

We give you Poetry for Cats. The poets participating in Poetry for Cats contributed their peoms as their special way of supporting GLBR. This post would not have been possible without their talent and generosity. Please enjoy the poetry, smile at the bengal photos, and consider giving a gift that will help GLBR to continue helping cats in need. Gifts made to GLBR are tax deductable.

Donate to the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue.


by Debbie Bongiovanni-Sharp

I have a friend with big green eyes,
Who knows when I’m happy or sad,
She’s always there by my side,
And for that I’m so very glad.

When I’m upset she seems to know,
Just how to make me smile,
She is the smartest cat that I’ve ever seen,
And she does it with so much style.

I’m so very grateful for my cat,
And that is sure no lie,
She is the best friend anyone can have,
The one with the big green eyes.


And the Cats
by Helen Peppe

And the cats ran, danced, leapt,
raced, stalked, crept
galloped, and tumbled
through the night.

And the cats sighed, slept,
dreamt, rolled, stretched,
purred and yawned
through the day.

Published in Cat’s Magazine


Cat in the Doorway
by Amanda Gannon

You lie across every sunbeam,
pinning down time itself,
sleeping urgently.
There are squirrels there, perhaps
wounded birds
in tall grass.
You dream with a wildness
of all the dangers and delights untasted.
No morning escapes you.

In my barren times
you remained, stalking
through the deadfall of my days:
my half-tame shadow.
When I woke in the night
a part of the garden quickened
in your eyes,
and my reaching fingers crackled
in your fur.

You do not know grief,
but when it comes in the mouse-hours
you are there with me.

We humans cannot choose
our comings and goings,
we who know only the straight-ahead
way of in or out;
we can only hold the door.

But you, cat,
with your dawdling tread
and preference for the other side of anything,
with your love of being here and there, or both
at once,
you will go with tail straight-standing
into that strange garden,
your eyes lit against the darkness.

Behind you the path
shall remain clear:
I shall leave the door propped half-open
for you to traverse
back and forth
at will.

some morning when it has been long since
I rubbed my face
through the spindrift of your fur,
since I felt your breath stir in feral tides,
I shall sense you once again lingering in the threshold
and I will recall with pride
how I, with my brute fingers, earned
your mercenary purr.


by VR Trakowski

You are tired
And there is no nap left
That will satisfy;
Close your eyes.
You shall sleep
Most perfectly,
And the purr
Will never


Poetry by Katilou Curry

Fur silken soft
Purr rumbling deeply
Teeth flashing on hand
Reminder of wild ancestors
(January 4, 2011 – Tribal Moonbeams)

Cat paws in the snow.
Single line, paw over paw,
Each pad visible.
(February 4, 2011 – Rock Pile)


All I Need
By Odessa
(Fruita Middle School, Grand Junction, Colorado)

All I need,
All I need,
All I need,
All I need,


My Cat is A Collector of Stories
by Brittany Warman

My cat, dear children,
is a collector of stories –
a feline folklorist
with watchful eyes and pricked ears.
Tales fill her up like cream.

She knows the legends
mice share softly in the dark,
has learned the wonder tales
of foxes, rabbits, and deer,
the ballads of blue jays.

She is a huntress of story.

On silver winter nights,
when the snow is falling and the birds sleep,
she will knead them into our skin,
knitting tales through our own small selves,
shimmering spiderwebs of connection.

If she scratches, do not be afraid.
It is only the lines
she knows you especially must remember.
Later you must kiss that thin red mark
and remember.

She picks the most beautiful,
the most tragic,
the simple stories for us.
We need them more than she does
and she is generous.

She hopes we will understand.

She will rub our hands,
soft fur on hands,
and whisper poetry, war songs,
fairy tales.

In languages without words,
without judgement,
she will give us her spinning worlds.
So listen closely children,
and remember.


Fae Cat Fib
by Deborah Brannon

and King
snub all courts,
flaunting their tattered,
fierce hearts in a highland demesne:

every deep shadow there a road,
pride and claw always
oaths among
Cait Sith


Cat Songs
by S.H. Jacobsen

Lovely songs
Of the feline kind.
Do they know their purrs affect us?


Alice is Missing
by Jess Mersky

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Children’s Hour”

Edith-cat swats a little boy
through the cage’s narrow bars,
all mischief and razor paws.

(That cat’s too crazy, he hoots)

Allegra-cat hunkers at the back,
moonbeams dull in dinnerdish eyes.
But Alice is missing.

(If there ever was an Alice)

At home, they explode
from the box, straight up. Away they go,
Allegra laughingrunning, mewling hello:

hello dishwasher
hello mouse chirping
on a string
hello sister

(Edith lurks beneath a chair),

hello darkness beckoningwhispering
breathing soft
dark and soft
behind the basement door

It smells like memory, like a mystery,
something coming on tiptoe
from a far distance.

Allegra sits before the basement door
in the afternoon. She cries.
Mornings, Edith takes the shift.

where is Alice
come out Alice

behind the door a shadow wriggling
through the dark on tiptoe
it cries


by Tria Hall

Write a letter
to somebody, anybody, no-one in particular
and let the cat purr over your shoulder
as you set down your pen and sip a drink.
Kitty can’t read;
no fear of gossip here,
even though she mews
at the birds in the street.
Treasured companion, trusted friend
— to a point, if there’s no fish involved.
So lie back, let her sit on your chest
and purr you into oblivion.


Ode to a Scratching Post
by Marc Massari

Oh scratching post,
without which I am lost,
my paws accost
your staunch repose
with fervent blows
that tear and toss
your carpet lining to a gross
facsimile of straw.
Oh scratching post,
how well you boast
the anger and the awe
of one who held you with his jaw
then cuddled close, to draw
his signature.
The furniture
is ruined, and the floor
is worn beneath my anxious paws
and still you pose, secure
in majesty. Oh scratching post!Oh acme of décor!
Before whose form I gladly pause
with reverent yet reckless claws,
and in whose image I’ve composed
this totem, tall and pure!


Neighborhood Cats
by Gray Jacobik

On my walk this evening, I spied a grey
and a calico under shrubs, and two
tuxedo shorthairs under a parked truck.
Not one came near when I knelt

and sung a high-pitched herekittykittykitty—
discriminate beings, self-possessed.
Others roamed the yards, striking off
across grass or heading for a copse

of trees, tails high, small feet churning
peppermill-quick, their dusky coats
flowing like water poured on slate.
Now that the sun’s trekking down

its slope toward winter solstice, this mild
September evening deepens quickly.
Screendoors have stopped opening so a cat
or two can curl out dreamily

around its lip. What light’s left is lambent,
scattered, a dim stage for agile
acrobatics when a moth floats by. Soon
the brawls will start, explosive hisses,

screeches, squeals, then the caterwauling
that inaugurates night. I think of Bloom
cutting up liver for his puss’ms and blathering
on to it with affection—Joyce having

figured out displacement—the cat sated
in a way the man would never be.
The creature eats, washes, curls round then
sleeps, keeper of a guiltless nonchalance.


Old Girl
by Sally Koetsveld

Old and contrary
she has my complete attention
as I try to guess her very need.
Not unlike her kittenhood,
when each move and mood
mesmerized me.

I treasure those too rare
precious moments,
when her kitten self appears,
chasing a moth, or dancing
the joy of the feed.

Old eyes look back at me
pupils now permanently wide.
I know she understands my attempts
even as she deplores them.
Treasured and ancient,
her old bones rule our home.


Ode to the House Cat
by Dawn LeMay

Oh, empress of the night
prowler of the moon─
enveloped in a soft comforter
your chin music vibrates the room

Oh, Houdini of the household
escapee of my condo
Your get-aways
plotted like
a prisoner
chasing moths in the hallway
a martial artist with paws

During waking hours
you prance
around like an Asian hooker
in high heels
you leap out of your litter box
as a fireman to a fire

Oh, Seal Point of the stars
your chocolate nose presses
against the window screen
face of a bandit
as the sun blazes into
your sapphire eyes


By: Cat (Fruita Middle School, Grand Junction, Colorado)

So much depends on the black cat
Sitting on a mat,
In a cage with a rat.
Her brother is fat
She is at
My knee so I just sat
Staring at the cat
on the mat
In a cage with a at
She looks like a bat.
Oh boy!
I want that cat…


by Martha Wallen

It’s six A.M. and you are still in bed.
My paw is in your face. Relief! You growl!
We’d feared you sick or maybe even dead,
You’ve lain there for so long. Why don’t you prowl
Like us at night? We know you like to eat
Most any time. Get up! Or else you’ll feel
All four of us careening off your feet,
Your head, your middle, and we’ll steal …?

Your glasses! But if you give us breakfast NOW,
We’ll tell you where to find your other moc.
Your feet have hit the floor. We run in line
To the refrigerator, where our chow
Is kept. But one day we will pick the lock,
When we know how, then you can sleep ’til nine.

Donate to the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue.

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
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14 Responses to Poetry for Cats – Poets Supporting the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue

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  2. Nathalie says:

    Great post, Erin.
    (By the way the Grey Ghosts are bundle of cuteness but not Bengals that I would know of – although, who knows? Their mom did not say – just strays Lorraine had fostered during my last visit there).

  3. Daryl Lamkey says:

    “Poetry for Cats,” most excellent! Thank you! The fourth picture down is my own Bengal cat, Captain Jack Sparrow. He was adopted from Great Lakes Bengal Rescue and he is a total gem, love, cuddle junkie, I could go on….

    I was told that Bengals are typically not lap cats. Apparently, either no one told Captain Jack Sparrow this, or he never read the book. My lap is one of his favorite places to be. Go figger….

    Currently, I have a roommate. As soon as he moves out, (which, now that he’s working, will be sooner rather than later,) my plan is to make my guest bedroom into a foster home for Great Lakes Bengal Rescue.

    • Daryl, Captain Jack Sparrow caught my eye immediately when I was looking for photos to add. He’s beautiful. 🙂 I’m very happy that he found a good and loving home.

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  5. Maryll says:

    There is some very fine work on Poetry for Cats for a very fine rescue group. These words come to me like the voices of many loves past and present. Thanks for all you do.

  6. Heather says:

    Today I stumbled upon your lovely website & am delighted by the intention and the art.
    My intention was to search for appropriate poetry to send to 2 cats that I was caring for while their guardians were away travelling in EU. I have found something nice (chose “And the Cats”) & I am also inspired to take a stab at writing poetry (something that I never learned in school).
    Thank you!

  7. Some cats are dark and others are light
    They come in black, gray, orange and white.
    If you are having a boring day
    Throw them some catnip and watch them play.
    They sometimes quarrel but never fight:
    They’re seldom wrong and always right.
    Some like to seen, some like to be heard
    And always love to have the last word!
    Our friendship’s a gift, they’re quick to explain
    We’re very proud and a trifle vain.
    It feels so good when they cuddle and purr
    As you stroke their silky downy fur.
    They’ll race you to your favorite chair
    Then pretend to sleep – or just smile and stare!
    They take great delight in catching a mouse
    Especially one who dares enter your house!
    And one thing I know for sure to be true –
    Any cat will be happy if he lives with YOU!

    By Dale Crisafulli dalecrisafulli@gmail.com

  8. Pingback: Of cats and birthdays. | Deborah J. Brannon

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