9 Cat Poems for Cat People

The only reason I read The New Yorker’s hyped short story Cat Person was because I thought it was going to be about, well, cats. I was sorely disappointed as there was only a brief mention of cats. Despite being a necessary story for our current political climate, and one I enjoyed, I was left with two things:

1. An obsession with the internet’s obsession with the story
2. The need to read about cats

The former was quickly remedied with a hearty scroll through twitter, but I didn’t have time to read an entire Murakami novel to satisfy the latter. Like any good reader, I turned to poetry. So, if you too found yourself lamenting the lack of cats in Cat Person, quickly sate your feline appetite with these cat poems (for cat people).

February by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s February describes a cat as a cozy companion during the gloomy winter months.

Poem (as the cat) by William Carlos Williams

Poem (as the cat) by William Carlos Williams appears to be a kittish take on his Red Wheelbarrow:

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset

first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot

The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot

It’s no secret that T.S. Eliot loved cats, as he wrote an entire poetry collection about them. You’ll find the poem The Naming of Cats in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Having Slept, The Cat Gets Up by Kobayashi Issa

The life of a cat in three lines:

Having slept, the cat gets up,
yawns, goes out
to make love.

Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats by Sylvia Plath

Unlike the The New Yorker story, Sylvia Plath’s Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats is actually about a cat person.

She Sights a Bird Emily Dickinson

In She Sights a Bird Emily Dickinson’s idiosyncratic dashes perfectly evoke the tension of a cat about the pounce:

She sights a Bird—she chuckles—
She flattens—then she crawls—
She runs without the look of feet—
Her eyes increase to Balls—

Her Jaws stir—twitching—hungry—
Her Teeth can hardly stand—
She leaps, but Robin leaped the first—
Ah, Pussy, of the Sand,

The Hopes so juicy ripening—
You almost bathed your Tongue—
When Bliss disclosed a hundred Toes—
And fled with every one—

The Cat and The Cat II by Charles Baudelaire

King of gloom, Charles Baudelaire captures the duality of cats in two cat poems.

The Cat and The Moon by W.B. Yeats

Two of the greatest symbols of the occult come together in Yeats’s adorable poem about a cat trying to teach the moon to dance:

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

Cat Poem by Get Lit

Finally, Slam Poetry duo Get lit have one of the best cat poems of all time:

 

Want more than just cat poems? We’ve got 10 of the best books for cat lovers, too. 

In 1975, Truman Capote published a short story that ended his literary career. Listen to Annotated on Apple Podcasts or Google Play to hear how.
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