“A Cat by Any Other Name”

One of the big differences between cats and dogs…

 A Cat by Any Other Name

He isn’t deaf, he isn’t dumb,
And still we cannot make him come.
Try Buddy, Budster, Mr. Man.
He moves not, though we know he can.

Try also Buds, The Boy, Buttface.
The Boy at rest remains in place.
Call him this, or call him that,
He’s not coming, and that is cat.

© Stephanie Malley

Peace to your ♥ !

“Speaking of the Cat”

We’ve had Buddy for two-and-a-half years, and he’s still the number one topic of conversation in the house. What did we talk about before he came into our lives? (Besides the weather, which offers more in the way of variety than he does. :) )

Peace to your ♥ !

 Speaking of the Cat

Buddy grooms and sleeps and eats,
A pattern that he then repeats;
A regimen that doesn’t vary,
Come July or January;
A routine anything but dull
To us whose talk is Buddy-full.

© Stephanie Malley

“Welcome Cat”

When Buddy first entered our lives, I wanted to limit the chairs he could get up on. That lasted, hmm…not long at all. Now we go out of our way to create Buddy-comfy places with cushions and fleecy blankets. Peace to your ♥ !

 Welcome Cat 

Consider the typical welcome mat;
In particular, the fact that it’s flat.
(Life was like that when we had no cat.)

Now consider that when you enter,
A welcome mat sits front and center.
(Buddy’s the landlord; we’re simply renters.)

© Stephanie Malley

“My Buddy” / “Catnapping”

Of my family, I’m the least enamored of Buddy, yet he still considers me his MIP (most important person). Go figure! :)

Peace to your ♥ !

 My Buddy

In Buddy’s heart, I take first place because I give him Buddy-space.
The others, who give him no rest, must be content with second-best.

© Stephanie Malley


It never fails. While Buddy’s sleeping,
One or another girl comes creeping,
Snatches him up and, not getting caught,
Succeeds in another catnapping plot.

© Stephanie Malley


Sometimes I know what book I’m looking for at the library, and sometimes I scan the shelves hoping to find something good, with varying results. Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse, which I stumbled across at my local library, proved so enjoyable, I bought myself a used copy, given to Meg with love from Joanne and Bob (“May you spend many happy hours curled up in front of the fire reading this”). Thank you, Meg. Your trash is my treasure.

In this anthology, Henry Beard parodies well-known poems, each one “written” by the poet’s cat from a cat’s point of view. John Donne’s cat gives us “Vet, Be Not Proud” while William Carlos Williams’s cat offers up “The Yellow Goldfish.” How Beard managed to successfully parody 39 poems, I’ll never know. I do know that I crack up whenever I read the line “Short-haired Hrodent-slayer” (“Grendel’s Dog,” from Beocat, by the Old English Epic’s Unknown Author’s Cat, Modern English verse translation by the Editor’s Cat). I suspect that majoring in English in college has something to do with it.

It appeared at one time that our cat Buddy had poetic aspirations, but nothing has come of it, for him at least. For me the occasion inspired the following poem. Peace to your ♥ !


Over the keyboard Buddy goes.
Composing what? Cat only knows.
He typed a string of p’s and o’s
That I would label pawful prose.

But what if he meant p-o-e?
Or even (yes!) p-o-e-t?
If paws were hands, this cat could be
The feline Poe of poetry.

© Stephanie Malley

“The Cat’s Meow”

Dan Ariely in his book The Upside of Irrationality writes about animal experiments that show fish, gerbils, rats, and birds (among others) like to work for their food. Maybe you’ve seen the pet treat puzzles that let them do exactly this. What is the one animal tested that wants its food as accessible as possible? The cat. In my experience, not only do cats prefer to eat the easy way, they also have a real blind spot when it comes to the food in their bowl. The barest bare spot, and Buddy believes his bowl is empty; he’s in danger of starvation; he needs more food now, thank you.

This is the first Buddy poem I wrote. Peace to your ♥ !

 The Cat’s Meow

There’s a hole in my bowl,
Can’t you see?
A bare space in the place
Food should be.
A blank spot where there’s not
Food for me.

Oh, Buddy, you’re a study
In persistence.
I admire your desire,
That you need, with due speed,
My assistance.

I implore; you ignore
My request.
I’m a cat; as a cat,
I know best.
I will plead till my need
Is addressed.

Well, I choose to refuse
To kowtow
Though you stare and you stare
And meow.
You will dine—okay, fine,
You win—now.

© Stephanie Malley

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 2 - Write a poem that plays with voice (as in a dialogue, for example).

“Nobody like Buddy”

I didn’t want a cat. I told my daughters they could get cats of their own once they were out on their own. Taking care of the house and four kids was plenty enough for me, even without dusting regularly. I held firm when my third-oldest handed us a Christmas wish list in which every other item was cat. But I agreed to two hermit crabs (what was I thinking?). Not furry, no warm fuzzies, faces only a mother could love–poor substitutes for a cat. The girls took care of them without caring for them. They died eventually, and we moved on, still (happily for me) catless.

Then my mother-in-law’s lung cancer came back as bone cancer that necessitated surgery and the long-term use of a walker. One Wednesday, Gini said she feared tripping over Buddy, and I asked if she wanted us to take him (she had always joked that we could have him). That Thursday, she said goodbye to Buddy with grace, the same grace she showed later in letting go of her car, her apartment, her possessions, and finally life itself.

My husband grew up with a cat named Tippy, who was still around early in our relationship. Tippy was a phenomenal cat. If you lay down on your side on the sofa, he would curl up in the crook of your legs. He had his own Tippy, a small stuffed animal he “borrowed” from my husband’s sister and never returned. Buddy is at least his equal. He, too, is affectionate, not one of those cats who hunker down under the bed and rarely make a personal appearance.

In addition to blessing our lives, Buddy has provided me with poem possibilities, enough that I have a mini-collection of Buddy poems I’ll begin sharing. I’m calling the collection Nobody like Buddy, and it begins, as many books do, with a dedication.

To Buddy, the best of cats

Never an alley cat. Always a Malley cat.

 Nobody like Buddy

There’s nobody like Buddy.
He’s a cat beyond compare.
To find another Buddy
In the cat realm would be rare.
But should somebody say
That Buddy’s just another cat,
They’re simply being catty,
And nobody cares for that.

© 2019 Stephanie Malley

Peace to your !