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Love In The Form Of A Feline
Author: Shiloh

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It was raining in the alley again...
the bricks of the buildings were wet,
and the pavement was running like a small stream,
washing away the dirt and the secrets
to make room for more later on...
There was an old gray cat on the fire escape,
hunkered down beneath an old end table,
looking down at me in my cardboard box,
and I wondered if it would like to get out of the rain.

I had joined two refrigerator boxes together
with that miracle of building materials - duct tape,
and covered it all over with a piece of blue tarp
that I stole from a construction site downtown,
and I had six wooden pallets beneath me
which kept me above the water,
and with my little sterno heater and my old army blanket
I was about as comfortable as anyone, I guessed.

The old cat was still looking down at me,
but the rain had gotten heavier,
and he wasn't quite sure whether it would be worth it,
to get really wet just to see if he would be welcomed or not.
I decided to up the anty, so to speak,
and I opened a small can of tuna
and put it over the flame of the sterno,
and sure enough! there he was at the edge of my box,
looking about as wet as any cat could look,
wanting to come in, but still wary, and ready to scamper away.
So I offered him some of the tuna,
laying it at the edge of the box, just out of the rain,
and he cautiously stepped in, and, watching me with one eye,
he bent down to eat, quickly, as if I might snatch it away.

As I handed him more tuna, my hand reached out
to pet him, to see if I could,
and he allowed me this touch, without flinching,
and moved in further away from the rain.
Well, that cat ate my whole can of tuna,
and laid down on my cardboard floor,
and he let me dry him as well as I could with a small towel,
and then he said thanks by purring!
Oh, what a beautiful sound, as he showed that he trusted me,
and he moved in closer as I shut down the flame,
and he claimed a piece of my blanket,
leaned against me, and went to sleep,
warm, safe for the moment, and trusting.

He was still there in the morning,
though wet paw prints showed he had left and returned.
He's always been there every morning since then,
and he's gone with me on my rounds,--
sitting on the seat of my old grocery cart,
as I looked for bottles and things,
looking as regal as any cat could look
as we traveled the sidewalks together.

He's been my companion these last few months,
and I guess that we're family, the two of us.
He's put on some weight,
and I've insulated our box, because winter is coming,
and I made a small doorway for him.

I worry each time he goes out,
wondering if he'll be all right,
or if something will make him decide to leave,
but he always returns,
and he always lays down on that piece of blanket he claimed.

There are some things worse than living like this,
but thanks to my little friend,
living alone is something neither of us has to endure.
All I know is that as I fall asleep,
his low purring is music to my ears.
And he trusts me, and lets me pet him.
We don't need much to make us feel good, I guess...
and maybe I give him as much comfort as he gives me.

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Comments on this poem/writing:

barb (67.58.197.169) -- Friday, May 2 2008, 02:52 pm

Awe so good

It's nice to be trusted and needed.You gave him what he needed ,he gives you what you need ,friends do that for each other.such good writing thank-you I enjoyed this.
Colin (69.157.4.53) -- Sunday, November 15 2009, 11:32 am

...this brought tears to my eyes....

..this brought tears to my eyes in your greatest story ever written. My two best friends are my cats! Also thanks for your recommendations:
the subjects you mentioned will appear in:
5 MORE essential subjects in country music!
shiloh (67.251.100.215) -- Monday, November 16 2009, 07:33 pm

thank you, colin...

i really appreciate it when someone enjoys the ones i do about cats - i'm owned by four at the moment, all rescues, and all totally family.
 
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