Fast Poem: #12 We are Not Pet People

We inherited a cat.
We are not pet people.
Liz thought she was
until we inherited a cat.
We are not pet people.

It’s not that we dislike animals.
Quite contrary.
We love them too much.
Liz spoils our inherited cat
with fresh fish
and organic chicken livers.

Every morning I pour the cat a sip of milk
while I sip my coffee
and at night before bed
to help our little cat sleep
Liz gives her a teaspoon of ice cream.

When we are home
we pet our cat every three or seven minutes
and it breaks our hearts
to see her sit
at the glass door
watching squirrels
and beautiful leaves
in an outside
we cannot let her walk into.

Our cat is a city cat now.

For fifteen years our cat roamed
the pastures and forests I explored
as a child.
She earned her keep catching mice,
explored nooks, poked in crannies
and played tag with my father’s hunting dogs.

Then my mother decided to leave.
the drafty farm house.
Then my mother decided she’d had enough
of long, narrow, snow and ice covered roads.
Then my mother, finally,
at last,
decided to pursue,
for a few years,
an easier life,
a smaller house to clean,
less isolation.
In November my mother took my father,
against his wishes,
to a tiny apartment,
one of many tucked side by side
in a local retirement village.

Fifty years of farmhouse life
do not fit in tiny retirement rooms.
Things were left behind.
The cat was left behind.

We found our cat on a November night
alone in the dark, cold old house.
Hunting season had ended.
Siblings who hunted,
who knew our cat well,
who grew up with her purring at their feet,
turned lights and heat off,
left her with a bowl of nasty dry food
and another of water.

They simply walked away.

We came prepared.
We’d heard them talk.
Overheard really:
I’d been away too long
to be included
any more
in idle family talk talk.

As an aside
not part of the family
turns out alright for me,
fewer obligations,
less sibling drama,
I can say sincerely
ignoring me
is their gift to me.

No one wanted the cat.
They had their reasons:
“She bites when she plays.”
“She might hurt the children.”
“She does not get along with my dog.”

and so on.

Fifteen years of mousing
and companionship
set aside for inconvenience,
rendered unimportant,
left to become memory.

They are right of course.
She bites when she plays.

But she purrs when she’s petted.
And follows me from room to room
just to sit by my chair as I read
or write
or think.
She naps with Liz on lazy afternoons
and greets me in the morning
with the thinnest, tiniest meow.
She sits quietly
while I make coffee,
patiently waiting
for her sip of milk.

She is so sweet it breaks my heart
to see her sitting at the door
she cannot walk though.

She is a city cat now.

We inherited a cat.
We are not pet people
but we’ll make do.

© 2008 Chromepoet
Originally published October 21, 2008

© 2008-2012 Chromia Poetics