Joshua Sutherland Allen

Joshua Sutherland Allen

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Wandering Cat

Two things there are that God cannot control,
In all his awesome majesty and power:
The master of the universe himself
Cannot force love for him from human hearts,
Nor can he mandate or compel justice
Or peace throughout his world. 

        But one more thing
There is God cannot do, and this small thing
Is that which I regret perhaps the most
Of all.  The infinite, divine, supreme,
Creating power has no command over
The mind or frantic actions of a cat.
I’ve heard it said that cats all show
The signs of Asperger Syndrome, while dogs
All live with ADHD.  A cat knows not
How to behave in social interaction,
Nor how to properly return the love
We give to them, in feeding, petting care.

This little cat of mine, she wastes no time
And runs away whene’er she sees a door
Even slightly opened to give the dogs
The opportunity to go and pee.
With all her inborn feline stealth and speed
She sneaks past me and prances, scampers through
The slightly opened door.

                                               I know the course
This jaunt of hers will take.  She will remain
Outside for just a day or two.  We will
See her just once or twice in all that time,
Perhaps chasing a bird, a mouse, a squirrel,
But never catching it, because she is
Too slow and lazy to keep up with things
That spend their lives, however brief, outside
Avoiding claws and teeth of predators.
I may see her again, another day,
Perched atop the gated fence that borders
Our backyard, or lying beneath my car.
I’ll call to her, and walk to her, but she
Will run away, because when she’s outside,
She wants nothing at all to do with me

I will give her a few days more, and then
She will no doubt return to me.  One night
She’ll come back in, just as she left, but now
A little thinner, hungry, thirsty too.
She’ll drink her water up as if she thinks
There’s no tomorrow, then she’ll sit beside
Her bowl of food, and wrap her furry tail
Around her furry feet, and she will eat.
And when she’s had her fill, she will settle
In my lap, and purring, fall fast asleep.

Our prodigal returning home to us,
Our stray returning to domestic life.
This cat of mine has a way of showing
The value of a wandering life, the truth
That adventure nourishes the spirit,
But also that it’s good to come back home,
Where you know you have a food bowl waiting,
And a soft, warm bed and lap to sleep on.
She knows that no matter the length of time
She’s been away, we will welcome her back,
And give her rest, and say she is at home.


  1. Cats! the most individual and unique of all creatures. My boy is always begging to go out but I keep him in for safety sake. he has learned I am a past master at blocking those feline dashes for the outside. Very nice poem! Spencer is Kanzensakura

  2. Oh how I love this. Just so, must God welcome back the prodigals from their misadventures. Smiles. Loved this, Joshua.

  3. so important to have a place you can go back to when all else fails ... Cat or human!

  4. I like how you heighten a our cats' importance by comparing them to loving God, justice and peace. Maybe God is controlling your cat, but not through you. I love your descriptions of her jaunt and especially of the cat eating: "then she’ll sit beside
    Her bowl of food, and wrap her furry tail
    Around her furry feet, and she will eat."
    If only people loved God as much as their animal companions!

  5. What a good write Julien. I like the surface story as well as the underlying message. Nicely done!

  6. Yes the ability to come home to a warm bed and food is fantastic.

  7. Perhaps it's the dogs she runs away from? But no, of course it is freedom and adventure she runs to!