The View From The Back of the Couch

Cat in an Empty Apartment

April 14, 2011 | Filed under: Poetry |

By Wislawa Szymborska

Die—you can't do that to a cat.
Since what can a cat do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls?
Rub up against the furniture?
Nothing seems different here,
but nothing is the same.
Nothing has been moved,
but there's more space.
And at nighttime no lamps are lit.

Footsteps on the staircase,
but they're new ones.
The hand that puts fish on the saucer
has changed, too.

Something doesn't start
at its usual time.
Something doesn't happen
as it should.
Someone was always, always here,
then suddenly disappeared
and stubbornly stays disappeared.

Every closet has been examined.
Every shelf has been explored.
Excavations under the carpet turned up nothing.
A commandment was even broken,
papers scattered everywhere.
What remains to be done.
Just sleep and wait.

Just wait till he turns up,
just let him show his face.
Will he ever get a lesson
on what not to do to a cat.
Sidle toward him
as if unwilling
and ever so slow
on visibly offended paws,
and no leaps or squeals at least to start.

The Laws Pertaining to Cats

March 14, 2011 | Filed under: Humor |
Law of Cat Inertia
A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force — such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.
Law of Cat Motion
A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.
Law of Cat Thermodynamics
Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.
Law of Cat Sleeping
All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved, and as comfortable as possible for the cat.
Law of Cat Pill Rejection
Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.
Law of Cat Composition
A cat is composed of Matter plus Antimatter plus It Doesn’t Matter.
Law of Cat Energy Consumption
Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.
Law of Obedience Resistance
A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.
Law of Rug Configuration
No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.
Law of Cat Obstruction
A cat must lay on the floor in such a position to obstruct the maximum amount of human foot traffic.
Law of Cat Magnetism
All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.

A Cat’s Christmas Prayer

December 14, 2010 | Filed under: Poetry |
Whoever made the stars that shine,
Whoever made green trees of pine,
Whoever dreamed up fish and mice,
Or sun and rain and snow and ice,
Must have the power in His paws
To help when there's a worthy cause.
Whoever gave the birds a nest
Will grant this humble cat's request.

For needy felines everywhere,
I meow my little Christmas prayer.
Please heal the sick
And cheer the sad,
Forgive the naughty,
and excuse the bad.

One more simple thing I ask:
A pool of sunlight in which to bask,
Plus a plate of food,
A safe, warm house,
A loving lap, a catnip mouse.
Freedom from fleas, furballs, and mats,
And homes for all the homeless cats.

[From A Cat’s Christmas – Stefanie Samek]


February 15, 2010 | Filed under: Sunny |

We had to put our sweet old orange tabby, Sunny, to sleep on January 14. It broke my heart to do so (and don’t think Robert wasn’t equally crushed. We both cried not only in the vet’s office, but in the car on the way home, and for days afterward). And it’s been a month. And … I still miss him so. I feel his presence everywhere in the house. Sunny was the last thing I saw when I went to sleep at night and the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. I miss him most when I’m coming home from work at night. He’s buried behind the big garage and when I walk by, I always stop and whisper “I love you, big fat honey” while I choke back tears. On beautiful sunny days, I am reminded how he loved being outside in the back yard, sniffing things, rubbing his cheek up against the corner of the back garage, exploring under my watchful eye things we cannot see, hear or smell but they can. I miss tripping over him on the way to the kitchen, the way he always ran to greet me when I came home from work, the way he’d chirp at me when my foot touched him inadvertently (or sometimes, deliberately because I wanted to know, in the middle of the night, if he was there with me in the bed). There is a hole in my heart no one and nothing can ever fill.

Until one has loved an animal, one’s soul remains unwakened.

~~Anatole France