Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cat Thursday - Authors and Cats (36)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author and their cat(s).

Once again, I'm behind due to work constraints. I still owe you all a visit from last week and I promise I will be by. 

I like to honor authors with birthdays during the week when I do these posts, but had a difficult time finding an image of an author with a cat who also had a birthday in September. But I did come across something interesting and so I'm taking a bit of a different approach this month. Hope you like it!

T.S. Eliot has a birthday in September (the 26th in 1888). We all know what he's famous for, but did you know that he also wrote cat poems? Actually, I did know this because I had read some of his book, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. I think I may even have it on my shelf. Hmm. Anyway, I came across this site that was featuring a book of cat stories, Best Cat Stories, an anthology published in 1953. According to the post, the book has some wonderful illustrations and among it's literary offering is a poem by T.S. Eliot with a featured illustration of him with a cat. And so, I share it here! 

You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are sane and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse –
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
How would you ad-dress a Cat?
So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.
Now Dogs pretend they like to fight;
They often bark, more seldom bite;
But yet a Dog is, on the whole,
What you would call a simple soul.
Of course I’m not including Pekes,
And such fantastic canine freaks.
The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown,
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.
He’s very easily taken in –
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He’s such an easy-going lout,
He’ll answer any hail or shout.
Again I must remind you that
A Dog’s a Dog — A CAT’S A CAT.
With Cats, some say, one rule is true:
Don’t speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that -
I say, you should ad-dress a Cat.
But always keep in mind that he
Resents familiarity.
I bow, and taking off my hat,
Ad-dress him in this form: O CAT!
But if he is the Cat next door,
Whom I have often met before
(He comes to see me in my flat)
I greet him with an OOPSA CAT!
I’ve heard them call him James Buz-James –
But we’ve not got so far as names.
Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste –
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.
So this is this, and that is that:
And there’s how you AD-DRESS A CAT.

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  1. Bea @ Bea's Book NookSeptember 11, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    I knew wrote about cats, he wrote the poems that the musical Cats is based on, but I wasn't familiar with this book.

  2. I love the direction you took this week! Haven't read Elliot in ages...I need to check my shelf

  3. I had no idea that T.S. Eliot wrote about cats. Thanks for posting this.

  4. T S Eliots poems were the basis for Cats.. :)

  5. Oh had no idea. Love little tid bits like that :)

  6. So T. S. Eliot turns out to have been a crazy cat man, eh?

  7. Queen Elizabeth was a survivor and had to be strong to survive the difficulties she faced. Thanks for this great review and giveaway.

  8. Oh, this is such a lovely poem, I didn't know TS Eliot ever wrote about cats. I think the key word in there is "condescend", but they really are adorable friends :)

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