Stan and Bette Solomons

Poetry and Artwork

Category: A company of cats Page 1 of 2

The Cat

The cat is the most fascinating and mysterious of animals. Dogs, horses, cattle, pigs were of immediate use to man, but the cat, not useful to anyone, independent, fierce, remained its own master.

When it did strike up a relationship, it was not out of affection, but self-interest, because it could not resist the succulent mice that roamed the granaries of Ancient Egypt.

Scientists seem to agree that the domestic cat is a cross between the European wildcat (Felis sylvestris) and the African Wildcat (Felis lybica). It lived like a small tiger in the wild. Only in the Third Millennium did it mortgage its freedom and was tempted to begin its softer life in Egypt. Here it was deified and venerated and slowly accepted the company of men.

The goddess Bast or Past – hence the diminutive puss – was depicted with the head of a cat endowed with a mysterious bewitching gaze. She was the moon, the lover of the night.

Nowadays the cat knows that it comes from noble lineage, and will not let us forget it. Every cat has its own particular psyche – it may be timid, impudent, stubborn, tranquil, spiteful, courageous, neurotic. How much it acquires from men is problematic. But under this it also has typically feline qualities of independence, curiosity, cruelty and jealousy.

In this collection Company of Cats, I have tried to portray some of these.


Sleek sybaritic,
Sibylline feline,
Eyes slanting
Towards a mind,


The genius of cats is that
they’re individual and hate
to be confused with one another,
although the other is their brother.

There are fluffy cats and huffy cats,
fraidy cats and lady cats,
naughty cats, haughty cats,
fat cats with gravitas,
slender cats and delicate.

There are macho cats and muscular,
alley cats crepuscular,
cats who really can’t be cuter,
but unfortunately neuter.

Cats of many different sizes.

Some are scatty, some win prizes,
some are social, some are loners,
all of them the pride of owners.

Cats of an exotic hue,
Chartreux and the Russian Blue.

Cats of interesting shades,
Tortoiseshell and Marmalade,
Oriental cats with poise
Chocolate, Seal and Lilac Points.

Cats who love to put on airs,
precious cats with silky hairs,
and Aristocats, much at ease,
like Siamese and Javanese
and Balinese and Tonkinese

Cats you only see at shows,
Somalis, Egyptian Maus,
Hairless Sphynx and tail‑less Manx,
Abyssinian, Cornish Rex.

The genius of cats, I should recall,
is that they’re individual.

It’s not so much they’re on their own,
It is the owners that they own.


O lovely Cat!

Slant eyed and adamantine,
Sheathed in a velvet coat.

I’d lief have thee for pet,
And yet ‑
Know thou wilt never
Be mine.


A work of art,
the cat.

A thing of beauty,
but solitary.

Sometimes you may swear
that love is there,
but I suspect the worst.

At best his universe
is selfish, hedonistic,

The cat is balance,
elegance and dance.

His lonely art is
pure catharsis,
never failing to entrance.

The very best of all this feline
art is found in Spain,
where crowds of tourists go
to see the cats curvet and twirl
in an elaborate flamenco,
or a flaming fandango.

Each is in his private world,
alone in Catalonia.


I overheard my cat one day
conversing with the cat next door.

To my surprise I heard him say
rodents had fallen through the floor,
mice in particular were down a hole
and now was not the time to sell.

I was aghast at all this tale.

I’d seen my cat as a Seigneur,
with all pertaining privileges,
not as a crass entrepreneur,
wheeling and dealing in small species.

A cat of more perceptive nous
than make a killing in mere mouse.

But later on I changed opinion
to one of feline admiration.

Cleaning beneath our old refrigerator
I saw a line with little feet in air
of mice and rats and puny creatures.

So far from being out of pocket
he’d coolly cornered all the market.

And now he is no longer skint,
he is the Master of the Mint.

Cat’s Eyes

The Cathay nation as a whole
is clever and inscrutable,
But not a lot of people know that
this applies also to their cats.

In China, cats are suitable to train,
to sit uncomfortably in line,
squatting in little holes at night
and act as feline traffic lights.

Their apprehensive heads protrude
above the surface of the road
facing the traffic with a squint.

They do not even dare to blink,
exposed to juggernaut and car.

And all they do is stare and stare.

Straight down the middle of the way,
especially to Old Cathay
where all too often it is foggy,
the Chinese cousin of our moggy
marks out the route with jewelled eye.

Of course they cannot possibly avoid
from time to time ‑ even the brainier ‑
staccato bumps upon their crania.

But they all know there’s much at stake
worth the occasional headache.

So this is why we ought to praise
the cats of Cathay and their emerald eyes.


The common or garden cat
is not at all common.

In fact he lives in exotic state,
exceedingly difficult to penetrate.

In his prime
he is at the same time:
Beauty in motion,
Poetry in notion,
When so required the feline can be
sybaritic, egotistic, sycophantic, neurotic,
sometimes manic‑depressive,
and all stations in between.

So he may live
a multitude of modes,
and I compose
to him, this Ode.

Unkind Cut

Tyger, Tyger, pussy cat,
Meditating on the mat.

Nowadays you can no other
Sitting like a burnished Buddha.

Tyger, Tyger, pussy cat,
I often wonder what you’re at.

Perhaps you dream of former glories
Defending all your territories.

Of victory and feral feats
Against the other alley cats.

The smiles that spread so enigmatic
Are naughty thoughts of past gymnastics.

But now, alas, these dreams of action
Are mere immaculate conception.

Oh it was the most unkindest cut
When we took you to see the vet.


Flashing sparks of hate
and claws of onyx
to wound and lacerate,
a blazing ball of fear and fluff
trapped by the front door
by a great Labrador
who thinks enough’s enough
and does not persist.

Page 1 of 2

© Pete Gallagher - PJG Creations Ltd