And Now For Something Completely Different

c_a_t spells TERROR

I loved staying with a friend in Boston
she acquired a cat.
I love animals but
I’m both afraid of and allergic to

To save my sanity
and prevent asthma attacks
we decided he would be shut
in one half of the house,
allowing me to relax in the other
– but –
at least once a day
some bastard would forget to close a door.

Said cat
(otherwise known as the furry stealth bomber)
would entertain himself by
hiding and waiting
until I was reading quietly,
then silently launch himself.
Before one could say
black flying fur-ball
he’d land on my head,
book and coffee
would fly through the air.
The bloody cat would hiss
as if he were the injured party
before nonchalantly heading off.

Tail held high
with a final smirking backward glance
His Royal Pussness
would return to his half of the house.
It took lots of wine, antihistamines, ventolin
even the occasional valium,
to save the friendship,
and the cat.


About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often don’t understand. Poetry is my supreme solace, closely followed by literature and music. When my son ended his life in 1999 I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life, my grief journey. To survive in this unknown, harsh landscape I had to write. It was for me, the only way I could even begin to move forward. Then in 2009 my darling husband died suddenly and so my journey continues. I write about other issues but because of my life experience, grief and death are continuing themes in my writing life. In our culture I believe there is a fear of death, an inability to accept the inevitability of our mortality, and this creates enormous difficulties for the bereaved and those around them. I have begun this blog in the hope I will create a small ripple in the pond of fear that is currently drowning the reality of death and grief. I will continue to skim the stones of my truth, watch them bounce, and see how many ripples I can make.

Posted on November 26, 2013, in Poems. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. This sounds really stressful 😦

    I’m afraid you’ll never be able to visit me… We only have three cats at the moment but I fear that is probably three too many for you. Especially as two of them are ridiculously friendly.

    I love learning more about you. I’m glad the friendship survived! X

    • I was going for humorous not stressful, Pooky. It was difficult at times but in truth neither the friendship, nor the cat’s life were ever in jeopardy. πŸ™‚

      • πŸ™‚ It just brings forth some stressful memories for me… I was five… I had my only ever birthday party and a friend who attended turned out to be allergic to one (or some) of the large menagerie of animals we kept in our tiny house (we had dozens of animals in a very small house!) and it made her really unwell. In my memory she was taken away in an ambulance but I’m told her mother came to the house with an aspirator so I’ve clearly exaggerated it in my mind! Anyways.. I guess I read your poem differently because I mixed it up with my own memories..

        I’m glad that no friendships and no cats were harmed in the writing of this poem though πŸ˜‰

        How’s big Ted? x

      • Pooky, I was just re-reading your poem ‘Words can hurt’ when your comment came through. This is another example of how words can touch old lesions. It must have been awful as a child to have such an experience.
        And you were right in your initial comment, at the time the whole experience was really stressful for both my friend and myself. It was 5 years ago and I’m only now ready to joke about it. I often send my poems to my friend, but won’t send this one because I’m not sure if she is yet ready to see the humour.
        Again you make me stop and think. You are a honey, Pooky. x

      • Well I never had anther party so it clearly had a lasting impact… I’m sure it is just hugely overplayed in my memories… we tend to do that, over-inflate both the good and the bad don’t we?

        I think it’s probably a sensible call not sharing the poem with your friend… If you could see her face to face and read it in such a way that it was clearly humorous would be one thing, but it’s so easy to read words in a certain tone and style when reading them for ourselves.

        I am writing a module for a government project at the moment which touches on children with social and communication difficulties such as kids on the autistic spectrum. I included an exercise in the module using the same words read with very different tones to show what life is like for someone who can’t interpret tone. It’s quite suprising how nice words read in an angry tone can, in fact, sound angry. So if we have an interpretation bias of some kind, it’s easy for us to misinterpret the words of others – especially when they’re communicated online.

        I’m waffling!

        I guess you made me stop and think too. But now I must stop and sleep! xxx

      • Just noticed the Big Ted question. He is wonderful. He and the other bears and Elmos are my pets. I would love a dog, but couldn’t care for it, so I got me bears and I’m happy with them. And you know the other day a dear friend posted a video of her two dogs ripping a teddy apart and it really upset me. Isn’t that silly. I know bears are not real but I still saw something I loved being torn apart and I had a bit of a weep. My friend did type in the intro to the video “Tricia don’t watch” but I didn’t listen. I had to delete it from my facebook wall.
        Think I’ll stop waffling now and go and get my breakfast.

      • Oh dear… that is sad.

        My Mum really loves her bears too She has started collecting them and buys some really beautiful bears (she inherited some money recently having been destitute all her adult life so this is her frivolity!) Most people keep them in cabinets but she keeps them in her bed. She now has more than she can sleep with so she has a strict system of rotation so that no bear receives more love than the others bears. They bring her joy just as yours do – and that, in turn, brings me great joy!

      • I love that your mum rotates her bears so they all get equal love. I only sleep with Big Ted, but play with all the others. πŸ™‚ I hope you’re able to sleep well. xo

      • Me too, it really amuses me! I used to sleep with a bear that Tom gave me but now that I end up sharing the bed with Tom and two girls (and the occasional cat or dog) there isn’t really room for bears..

  2. Cats have a certain sociopathy that other pets seem to lack. That said, a dog wanting to play can be equally annoying. Good one!

    • Dear Joe, it wasn’t until I just posted a new poem that I realised I’d not replied to all the comments on this one. I’m going a bit doolally in my old age:) Since I posted this poem I’ve seen at least three photos on Facebook of cats flying through the air ready to scare the whatsis out of someone. Seems to be a cat thing. πŸ™‚

  3. I’m with you on this Tricia, also allergic to felines, although not quite as severely. I enjoyed the dramatic humour.

  4. Wonderful piece. Thank you.

    • Something a bit lighter for a change, I’m pleased you enjoyed it. Rod always wanted me to share this side of myself via my writing, but you know me, when I come to the keyboard I’m called to the dark side. πŸ™‚

  5. I can just picture you in a stand-off with THE cat, Tricia! Somehow cats just know when they are not appreciated and then take it as a challenge to outwit, outlast and outplay! It sounds to me like you were a good friend, doing your very best to tolerate the intolerable. I’m more of a dog person, myself, but I have friends who expect me to address the cat with lavish attention when I come into the room! LOL! Oh what we are willing to do to preserve our friendships, huh? You gave me a chuckle with this. πŸ™‚

    • I must admit I was a rather ‘mouthy’ good friend, Debra. πŸ™‚ I tend to loose control where cats are concerned. I’m a dog person.

      As I type this you are possibly sitting down at your family Thanksgiving celebrations. I want you to know how thankful I am for your presence in my life. I hope this holiday is very special for you.
      Big hugs

  6. funny poem πŸ™‚ apparently I’m allergic to cats and dogs (and dust mites, mould and several other things) but not as bad as you I feel – I won’t have a cat though (the dogs came after I found out – typical – lucky they are labradoodles and so they aren’t too bad with the woolly coat).

    • Gabe, I’m allergic to so many things. Animals, perfume, flowers, lotions, I even have to wash my clothes in a special detergent. It drives me bonkers. We had a short haired dachshund but he had to live in a kennel just outside the family room door. He came in during storms. We all played with him outside, a lot, but I still felt a bit mean. He was such a loving, accepting little thing. I would always open the door when I got home, pat him and then chat to him while I prepared dinner but he never came inside until he was asked.

  7. I love this Tricia! It gave me a much needed smile πŸ˜„

    I love cats; we have two, but there are members of my family who are allergic!

    You described the general character of them brilliantly in your poem! They are such unpredictable little beggars! And we absolutely dont own them, its the other way round. But one of ours is a very gentle, polite litle thing who wouldnt hurt a fly, and she can still give the curtains a run for their money at age 13!!

    Love and hugs
    And thank you for the smile 😊

    • Christine, I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to reply. First your comment went to the ‘pending’ area for some reason, and then after I set it free I became distracted by one of the shiny objects of life, and didn’t finish replying to these comments. I sometimes think, because I’m so slow in replying to comments, people will see a post and think ‘well you can just bugger off because you can’t be bothered responding’. I do hope not. I so appreciate the time and effort people put in to commenting. I just seem to be getting slower and slower at everything I do these days.

      You are so right when you say people don’t own cats, cats own people. A neighbour’s cat keeps jumping over the fence onto my deck. If I open the glass doors to let some fresh air in, the little bugger can slid the fly wire door open with its paw. I’ve even tried yelling at it, mature I know but ‘piss off puss’ does have a poetic ring to it, don’tcha think? Anywho the cat has mastered the perfect putdown, he just sits beside the door and licks his bottom. Cat=1 Tricia=0

      Naughty Tricia is going now.
      Love you. xoxo

  8. It’s snowing on your blog Tricia! Time to get you mittens and scarf out! x

    • Pooky, I love snow. I’ve had some great fun in the snow while staying with my friend in Boston (her what owns the cats). We once went to this huge book barn and when we came out it had started to snow, so I was twirling and dancing while the snow fell on me. Nancy was trying to get me into the car and I kept saying ‘I can’t leave, I’m too busy being flurried on.’ A small crowd started to gather and Nancy said, ‘you’ll have to excuse my friend, she’s from Australia’. People were applauding so of course I danced some more. Then one chap in the crowd said to Nancy ‘Let her shovel the driveway a few times and see if she’s still dancing’. It was such a lovely laughter filled time. So that’s why I have snow on my blog in December.
      The End

      In reality your comment about the mittens is rather apt. In Melbourne we have been having strange weather. We’ve had a couple of hot days, but recently there’s been thunder storms, hail and it’s been really cold. I’m sitting here in my winter nightie.

      • This made me smile so much! I love the stories you share of your past. You are a complete kook… the more I learn about your complete kookiness, the more I love you.

        I can have a similar big-kid streak myself. Somewhere, I have some fun pictures my husband (then boyfriend) took of me in New York. It was REALLY hot and there were these fountains for kids to run through in their swimsuits. Well… I just had to join in, fully clothed. It’s a really fun memory and made a lot of people laugh at the time. I just felt very free!

      • We get very excited by snow too – the UK climate has changed loads though and having seen ‘proper snow’ twice in the first 26 or so years of my life, in the past five we’ve had it every year. Lyra and Ellie think that it snows every winter and it’s been hard to explain to them that it’s possible we won’t get to go sledging this winter (though I hope we will!)

  9. Haha! Oh Tricia you are good for me! Its always us = 0 where cats are concerned!
    And I would never suggest you bugger off anywhere! πŸ˜„ XxhugsxX

    • Christine, my secret ambition is to one day outsmart a cat. I know I’ll probably die trying.
      I’ve a cat who keeps jumping the fence and using my back deck as his personal litter box. I repeatedly tell him to bugger off, but he just looks at me then licks his bottom. The ultimate cat putdown. Bah Humbug to the cat world. (Sorry to your pusses) πŸ™‚
      Luv ya xoxo

  10. Licking their bottoms seems to be their answer to everything and the ultimate insult too! 😊 xxxx

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