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“For He Purrs in Thankfulness”

Paul Nelson


One of my favorite poems (actually, a famous extract from the longer work Jubilate Agno) is Christopher Smart’s “To My Cat Jeoffrey” (1759-63). Smart was confined for insanity in the Bedlam asylum, but his description of Jeoffrey is the sanest and most accurate verbal painting of a cat in English literature. This line, about the daily presence of a cat — “For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit” — is truth itself. 

So…my wife and I took the plunge yesterday, and adopted Newton (pictured above, butterscotch tabby, stalking his brother from the orange chair) and Einstein (mostly black, on the carpet, just realizing he is being stalked). Two 12-week-old mischief makers, and our house is no longer incomplete.

One more favorite line, from Smart’s poem: “For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.” Amen.