Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

Poetry Friday: “Cat Breath”

I was going through some of my old(er) poetry and stumbled upon a short poem I wrote almost exactly 13 years ago, in late Feb. 2001.

At the time, we had a cat my daughter had named Dozey – a black kitty poetryfridaybutton-fulllwho always looked like he was napping, even when he was awake! Anyway, he had come over to me and started rubbing his face in mine, as cats often do, and it was at that moment I was struck by how horrendously putrid his breath was – we’re talking eye-tearing, nose-numbing, knock-a-buzzard-off-a-manure-wagon bad.

When I finally regained consciousness, I set about writing my experience down in verse. This is what I came up with. And for more fun, Anasatasia Suen has the complete poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Poet!

Cat Breath (for Dozey)

A cross between some tuna fish
and salmon three days old;
perhaps some stinky cheddar cheese
that’s growing fuzzy mold.
A whiff of bird, a hint of mouse,
the sour milk he had…
what is that one ingredient
that makes cat breath so bad??

© 2001, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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25 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Cat Breath”

  1. Love this, Matt! Our cat, Cupcake, has putrid breath, too. Personally, I think it’s her tongue that’s to blame, though I’m not about to make a list of the culprits that I think linger there.

  2. Ugh-did you run for a tiny toothbrush? Well said!

  3. Tee hee. I had a black kitty named Luca. She drooled. Loved her. I enjoyed picturing you regaining consciousness and immediately putting pen to paper. Thanks for the giggles. Here’s to black kitties everywhere!

    • Thanks, folks! Renee, my daughter Lauren subsequently had ANOTHER all-black cat, which we were struggling to name – until I came up with Nosferatu, which was perfect, as he looked like a little bat when you held him up! His nickname was Nosey…and he was exactly that, too!

  4. Hi, Matt–

    Nice lines! I’m pleased to say that none of our cats, black or otherwise, have had awful cat breath. I didn’t even know that was a thing!

    I want to let you know that I have nominated you for a Sunshine Award (which just means I like your blog). It’s fun if you have the time! Go to my post this week to find out how it works.

    http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2014/02/sunshine-part-2.html

    • Thanks, Heidi, I’m glad I bring some sunshine to your Juicy Little Universe! It’s going to require some brain power to come up with bloggers and questions…so let me work on it, and I’ll let you know when I post mine!

  5. Seriously. The are so elegant but that breath!

  6. Cute poem! Glad your cat had stinky breath or where would the poem be? All our cats so far have seemed to have minty fresh breath – fortunately!

  7. Giggling! Firepaw is not insulted…but I will not be showing this poem to Bonfire, because it may as well be about him. Maybe it’s the dead birds? So funny, Matt, and spot on! Happy Poetry Friday…

  8. Buffy Silverman on said:

    Holding my nose, Matt! Thanks for the fun read.

  9. Eeew indeed! It must have been a surreal experience stumbling upon old poems. I can imagine a lot of boys who would enjoy Cat Breath. :)

  10. maryleehahn on said:

    You had me at the title. HA! Perfect poem. Going to hug my kitty now and see if I can detect that secret ingredient. Kibble, perhaps? Or slime of hairball?

  11. I enjoyed your intro as much as your poem– “knock-a-buzzard-off-a-manure-wagon bad”? Wow. Let me know if you figure out that one ingredient!

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