On Buddha
(after he was lost for the second time)

I had a cat
A real smart cat
He wasn't fat.
He walked around
His face profound
He walked just like a king
His ears erect
His whiskers straight
His tail up in the air
The tip of which
Drooped slightly down
A cane loop formed
In line with ears
That said to all
Throughout nine years
I have earned my place
and own this space
So anyone who's near
Is subject to my inspection
and approval comes quite dear.

Because I own what I survey
I'm prepared to fight this very day
To keep the half breed riffraff away.
Provided Pauline or Ray
are never more than a meow away.

I had a cat
A real smart cat
He wasn't fat.
He held his tail up straight and proud.
He was very black
Stood out in a crowd.

He wasn't loud.
But if he wanted something now
He didn't necessarily meow.
He often laid his claw to chair
With just enough demanding air
To say: Does anybody care?
I'm out of food and want some now.
I'm not impolite, don't want to meow
But if you don't move to right this wrong
Before the count of ten
I'll shred this fabric from my full height
Right down to its cold chrome leg.

Please don't force me to exercise
A practice which I abhore
Get up right now
Get me a drink
Don't put it on the floor.

I had a cat
A real smart cat
He wasn't fat.
I miss him.

Fortunately, Buddha was found. Here is the letter Ray and Pauline sent to the people who found him:

Dear Friends,

A few words to tell you how very grateful we are that you phoned us when you found our cat Buddha.

Buddha will be 10 years old this August, and we have had him with us since he was a kitten.

He has travelled with us to every campground from here to Alaska and enjoyed every kind of wilderness while knowing that our motorhome was always home base.

One weakness that Buddha has always had, has been his tremendous curiousity and since he has always enjoyed travel, he often jumps into and inspects vans, cars and pick-ups.

In the past 10 years, we have twice had to drive to a friend's place to rescue Buddha after he had hidden in their vehicle while it was parked in our driveway, and unbeknown to any of us, had wound up across the city in a strange yard.

We feel certain that on December 9th, our cat again got into a strange vehicle and hid until it stopped somewhere (God only knows where), and that he then proceeded to make his way home.

It was 42 days later that you phoned us and we can't tell you what happiness we felt when hearing that Buddha was alive.

Imagine our shock at his condition the day you phoned. We are pleased to report that he is now steady on his feet, eating well and showing signs of his previous fat cat attitude. His weight today is 4 pounds, compared to his normal previous 10 pounds.

Again thank you so much for making possible the reunion of a much-loved cat with his sorrowing owners.

Yours truly,

Ray and Pauline Cooley



Ode to Buddha

I had a cat
and he owned me.
He also owned my wife.
That small black little animal
Brought great joy to our life.
It started back in 71
When he was just a kitten.
Evicted by a landlord
When just a big as a mitten.

He had the greatest spirit
And loved to ride and watch
As the road and fence and trees went by
On our way to the wilderness.
When we stopped and backed and parked and blocked
When we got out to turn on the propane.
That fine young animal called Buddha
Knew this was his terrain.

And he climbed down from the cupboard
and he stretched and scratched
just to sharpen his claws for the night.
Cause he knew that the territory
Could bring up a serious fight.
And he knew that given half a chance
He could outsmart even large foe
And he couldn't wait for the dumb ones
that he could scare into flight.
And if they were mice and were plentiful
He'd line up a dozen a night.

We had him for 18 fine years you know.
We lost him 3 times in that time.
He used up his nine years in 18
And gave us a lifetime of pleasure.
If I were to tell you the joy he brought us
It comes in a form you can't measure.

Buddha was small as cats go.
But a giant in spirit and heart
I've seen him take rabbits much larger than him
And charge Rocky sheep with a heart
so large that he thought he was king.
The chase was the thing to this cat.

He loved the wild, the wilderness
He was proud of his hunting prowess.
He always brought back the game that he caught
for inspection and praise which he knew
We were waiting to heap upon his fine pelt.

His normal diet was catfood
But when we went into the woods
And parked by a stream in the wilderness
Then Buddha went after fine goods.

He loved to catch rabbits of any size
They were chicken and never did bite.
He knew they were never out in the daytime
That's why he wanted out every night.
Yes - Buddha the great rabbit hunter
Dragged home many a corpse
If the rabbit was young, it got hid in the bush
Where Buddha would feed for two days.
Then Buddha spurned cat food
and dreamed of his kill.
He went out the next day to check on his cache
Ate deeply, felt kingly, and came back to camp
For the great petting from us
That he knew he deserved.
As he showed us the blood that covered his chest.
And he proudly licked at his paws
as he stretched and purred and laid back his ears.

Yes, Buddha had years of fine hunting
and when we moved to the States
That fine mature black animal decided he must change his stripes.
He took on the task of inspector
Each vacant apartment his task
As soon as the tenant vacated
Buddha went in like a flash.
He always looked into each room
Ran into each closet and out
Checked the whole place thoroughly
And soon after that would go out.
Buddha would watch very carefully
and when he knew we were through
The place was clean and the carpets done,
And this was the final day,
Buddha would rush in despite all our efforts,
And give each room an approving cat spray.


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