Cats Gone By: Guilty Parties

Posted by ractrose on 9 Oct 2014 in Nonfiction

Cats Gone By: Guilty Parties

Photo of Maine Coon cat wrapped around table leg



Photo of grey tabby in hanging basket



Photo of innocent white cats raiding food bag

Bucky and Louis


Photo of white cat by heat register

Bucky at Eighteen



This spot by the register is a favorite with all the elderly kitties. They push up against the metal, and nod off.





I was looking though an old photo album for art subjects. These pics are from the ’90s. My gang of white cats (I once had five) are all gone now, most having lived to the age of nineteen. Lorenzo, the Maine Coon, used to sleep wrapped around the table leg like that. Seymour is peering over the hanging basket, tiny Bucky and cerebral Louis are the bag breachers. Lou was such a smart kitty, who seemed always short of achieving cat Zen because he tried to figure things out, to communicate, and sat clearly waiting to see results….had he made himself understood about the refrigerator?

Bucky was a perfect sweetie, so utterly at peace with the world, that he almost went into suspended animation at the end of his life, like the music master in Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game. Lorenzo was a great attention-seeker, holding his little arms up to be held and hugged…and Seymour had a habit of turning up in photos, watching from the background.



Pencil sketch of ornery faced cat



I like to capture the orneriness, when I sketch a cat.





In Memoriam: Gretel cat


Photo collage black cat Gretel in memoriam




Oil painting moon tree black cat




Oil painting three alley cats



Caught Alone


Loved one, they gather on the stairs

The passageway is closed

The door will jar against a darting shape

Unnoticed, their kind, snuffed in the daily cataclysm

One will tear the fabric



She is standing in the kitchen of her mother’s house

Caught alone

Under the popeyed voyeur’s thumb

She hears disjointed blurbs of speech

They come two or three times

Over the telephone’s open line

A mind like a termite nest

Chopped in the blender of cultish whispers

Reassembled in the conqueror’s chalice

A tumor of lard

Finds this valedictory declining fuss

Heartbreaking, stirring, condemnatory, just

The mockery of solemn things is more than

She can understand


O, the battery, the battery is dying

Its tiny voice is piteously crying

Syllables of digital diddly-hoo

A mylar balloon is flying, loosed

From the used car lot where once it bobbed

“For sale”—for nothing—“There it goes”



Loved one, in this room, they’ve laid a sash cord

And the window is unlatched

Others lionized in death

Trembled here to heal the wayworn breach




Thumbnail of cover for The Poor Belabored Beast














(2016, Stephanie Foster)




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