20 Poems About Cats Everybody Should Read

two cats lying on sofa with book at home in winter

Pet owners understand that the emotions you feel for your feline companion can be overwhelming at times. Perhaps they give you a head butt and curl up next to you when you’ve had a bad day, almost as if they somehow knew what you needed. The best way to express what you feel can be captured artistically in cat poems. They often speak the words that describe your mood perfectly.

Let’s face it: Sometimes, felines get a bad rap. They have many negative associations, but our list of poems about cats sets the record straight about our beloved pets.

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The 20 Poems About Cats

1. “Cat’s Dream” by Pablo Neruda

Few poets express emotions so eloquently as Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. “Cat’s Dream” is an excellent example. Perhaps he is reading our minds when he writes, “…I should like to sleep like a cat, with all the fur of time…” No animal rests so soundly and seemingly without a care in the world. Neruda’s works speak of close observation of the little things that may escape our notice but not his.


2. “The Kitten and Falling Leaves” by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth is one of the most influential poets of all time. While he’s known for other pivotal works, such as “The Prelude,” “The Kitten and Falling Leaves” is another fine example of his work. It’s a simple piece yet speaks so well of his observation of a cat hunting. When described this way, it’s hard not to respect the predator in the feline and their stealth.

Tuxedo kitten playing outside during the early spring
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3. “Cat on a Couch” by Barbara Howes

Poems like Barbara Howes’ “Cat on a Couch” give us a bird’s-eye view of the feline’s take on the world. The work reads as if we’re silently observing the kitty that carries on, unaware of our scrutiny. It points out the nuances of feline behavior with metaphors that speak the truth about our pets. We know their non-verbal communication is relayed to us through the position of their ears or twitching of their tails.


4. “The Blue Cat” by Mary O’Malley

The Blue Cat” is a sympathetic work that recognizes how the life of a feline may conflict with their owner’s. Pet owners understand. It’s worth noting that the poet is Irish, and they are more likely to let their animal companions out than Americans. That fact can help explain the background that’s evident in these lines.

blue burmese cat
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5. “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussycat” reads like a fairy tale. What an adventure going out to sea! The irony is that the two would hardly be traveling companions but predator and prey. The poem has a romantic and lyrical air that can easily transport you to a moonlit night filled with song and dance. Edward Lear was a creative individual who dabbled in art and music. It’s on display with this work.


6. “Fog” by Carl Sandburg

The beauty of “Fog” by Carl Sandburg is its simplicity. The well-chosen words evoke emotions and bring the scene to light. People have different feelings about it. However, we can sense the opportunity the kitty sees as it envelopes the atmosphere.

blue point siamese cat
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7. “My Cat Jeoffry” by Christopher Smart

My Cat Jeoffry” is a touching tribute to a pet well-loved by their owner. There’s intimacy in the words spoken by a person who knows his cat well through careful observation. You become more acquainted with this feline as you skim the verses. You also sense the poet’s reverence for his animal companion. Clearly, they were more to their owner than just a pet.


8. “The Cat” by Charles Baudelaire

The Cat” is a love poem with an analogy drawn between the poet’s pet and a woman. Charles Baudelaire lived life fully and artistically through his writing. The emotions are palatable in this work. There’s an undercurrent of danger that speaks to the mystery we associate with felines, an image that persists today.

golden british shorthair cat lying on a blue sofa
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9. “Cat in the Window” by Lam Thi My Da

The image that “Cat in the Window” conjures is enough on its own. It’s a familiar scene for any pet owner. This poem takes it and wraps it in emotion and admiration of the animal’s beauty. They are also symbolic of freedom and how the cat personifies it only by being. They needn’t do anything but just sit there to create this association. The power lies with the potential and opportunity.


10. “Finding the Cat in a Spring Field at Midnight” by Pattiann Porgers

Finding the Cat in a Spring Field at Midnight” paints the picture perfectly. It’s an apt description of how the animal can fade into the background as an asset for hunters of the night. You feel as if you’re seeing something hidden from others who don’t take the time to observe the signs. The words make you feel as if you’re watching this silent scent with the poet describing the action.

cat walking on fence
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11. “To Mrs. Reynold’s Cat” by John Keats

To Mrs. Reynold’s Cat” is a testament to how our pets can touch other lives. We would feel honored to have a friend immortalize our feline companion in such a way. But cats have a way of doing that, making us notice them and wonder about them. We are drawn to their wild side as Keats questions the number of kills this kitty made.


12. “The Sphinx” by Oscar Wilde

The Sphinx” by Oscar Wilde is a haunting poem that reaches back in time to the Ancient Egyptians and their love affair with cats. The words draw you into the imagery deeper and deeper. Some references are obscure unless you know the history. However, it doesn’t seem to matter as you’re caught up in the magic of Wilde’s creativity.

sphynx cat hepper pod bedroom


13. “Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats” by Sylvia Plath

Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats” draws a definitive line between cat lovers and non-cat lovers. Anyone who has more than one pet understands how unique each individual animal is. Of course, the number pushes the limit. However, cats have a way of attracting other cats to a home. Maybe we can forgive Ms. Mason since the word has gotten out to the feline population in the neighborhood.


14. “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes” by Thomas Gray

We think “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes” is meant to be a tribute instead of a humorous tale. It reads more like a cautionary tale to be careful when on the hunt. Don’t be too sure about your stealth and ability to navigate the hazards. Sometimes, things don’t work out as you think they will.

tabby exotic shorthair cat
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15. “February” by Margaret Atwood

February” by Margaret Atwood is a surprise. You likely think of her fiction before her poetry. It’s a fun poem that describes the relationship between owner and cat to a tee. We learn about the private moments the person observes. Atwood understands her pet and their response to the seasons. We feel the animal’s anticipation of the hunt with her words.


16. “She Sights a Bird – She Chuckles” by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson captures the scene of a cat on the hunt purr-fectly with this poem. Pet owners will nod in agreement as they read these lines of “She Sights a Bird – She Chuckles.” We love the reference to the chirping sound cats make when they’re on the hunt in the title. It also refers to the fact that felines aren’t always successful.

cat bird sparrow coffee
Image Credit: 165106, Pixabay

17. “The Cat and the Moon” by W.B. Yeats

The Cat and the Moon” is another dreamlike offering. This one plays on the nocturnal nature of felines with an invitation for the Moon to dance with the cat. The interplay is fitting and makes the reader want to join in with the fun. We love the imagery of the animal running through the grasses, perhaps hidden in the shadows of the night as the Moon watches.


18. “Macavity the Mystery Cat” by T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot is a cat-lover’s poet. He paid tribute to his feline companions in many works. “Macavity the Mystery Cat” recognizes the stealth and cunning of cats. The clever kitty makes another appearance in the musical “Cats.” Eliot drew upon his love of the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, fashioning his character as an antagonist of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

maine coon cat resting at the top of the cat tree
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19. “Cats Sleep Anywhere” by Eleanor Farjeon

Cats Sleep Anywhere” will make pet owners smile. They could probably add several verses to this poem. After all, anywhere means anywhere. Somehow, the felines find them, even the places right under our noses. The mention of the cardboard box is especially true for anyone who gets deliveries at home. The best part for your cat is not what’s inside. It’s the box itself for a place to hide.


20. “Poem (As the Cat)” by William Carlos Williams

Poem (As the Cat)” captures what pet owners know about these animals. They can maneuver stealthily without knocking down anything, whether on a bookcase or table. The simplicity of the poem echoes this observation. The action happens quietly for the cat without a thought or care. Of course, there’s something new to explore at the end of the tale.

Munchkin Bengal Cat
Image Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Cat poems come in various guises. Many are tributes that describe the actions and behavior of this sometimes mysterious animal. They are proof of the way they still captivate us. Others are rich with emotion, of cats known and lost. These are among the most poignant. An underlying theme is how the poets try to understand cats. That’s true, but we think the felines have the last say in what they reveal.


Featured Image Credit: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

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