Cats vs. Dogs: A poem by T. S. Eliot

Cats vs. Dogs: A Poem by T. S. Eliot, with Stunning Vintage Illustrations by Dame Eileen Mayo

by Maria Popova

“You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.”
 From: T.S. Eliot, ‘Cats vs. Dogs’

While researching the endlessly entertaining 1982 gem A Cat-Hater’s Handbook, I came upon Best Cat Stories (public library) — a rare 1953 anthology, long out of print, edited by Michael Joseph and featuring 19 short stories about cats by some of the era’s most celebrated authors, with delightful black-and-white illustrations by English artist Dame Eileen Mayo:

 From 'The Ad-Dressing of Cats' by T. S. Eliot

From ‘The Ad-Dressing of Cats’ by T. S. Eliot


Joseph writes in the introduction:

What outsiders do not understand is that we are not just infatuated worshippers at the shrine of the cat. We can scold our cats (not that it ever does anyone any good), laugh at our cats, play with them, find faults with them, and be exasperated by their unpredictable moods. The only thing we cannot do is to live without them.

So, in compiling a book for other cat-lovers, I have tried to present the cat in all moods; to show him as a cunning rascal with a nice sense of humour…; as a creature of infinite resources and courage… ; as the victim of his own perversity…; as the disciple of witchcraft; as an animal for the loss of whom a child will shed tears of inconsolable grief; the cat in fable, superstition, comedy, tragedy; the cat we all know and can never fully understand.

Cat Stories

…Again I must remind you that
A Dog’s a Dog — A CAT’S A CAT.

With Cats, some say, one rule is true:
Don’t speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that –
I say, you should ad-dress a Cat.
But always keep in mind that he
Resents familiarity.
I bow, and taking off my hat,
Ad-dress him in this form: O CAT!

Continue here: Cats vs. Dogs: A poem by T. S. Eliot, with stunning vintage illustrations by Dame Eileen Mayo | Brain Pickings.

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Cats, Dogs, Entertainment, Poems, T.S. Eliot and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cats vs. Dogs: A poem by T. S. Eliot

  1. Hi Dianabuja thanks for link my Cat with your great article & me honored.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Naming Of Cats | Juno@rt Photography Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s