A Long Tail (A Poem)

Puss slipped out of the cat flap
on a chilly winter’s day
She didn’t seem that bothered
and she didn’t want to play

She prowled around the garden
on the lookout for some prey
she chased the local tomcat
who refused to go away

She ducked below the side gate
and sidled ’round the front
I called her back with treats
but she was out there on the hunt

Puss wouldn’t come indoors again
She was having too much fun
I watched her scooting up the tree
Her game had just begun

At least there were no birds yet
as it was early in the year
I saw her climb back down again
without an ounce of fear

I called her once and once again
but she didn’t want to know
She didn’t seem to mind at all
that it had just begun to snow

I thought I’d leave her to it
She’d come back soon enough
but just ten minutes later
she dragged in a ball of fluff

I chased her ‘round the kitchen
and all around the hall
whatever she had caught
was minute, so very small

Eventually, she dropped it
It was a tiny little mouse
A baby, by the look of it
but running around the house

I picked up puss to move her
She tried to scratch and bite
I was ruining her fun
and she was up for a fight

I shut the door so quickly
and with her out of the way
I picked up little mouse
so he could live another day

But he had a wonky leg
I wasn’t sure what to do
My friend called for his death
by flushing him down the loo!

Horrified, I shouted, ‘no!’
He wasn’t going to die
I wanted him to have a chance
The poor, frightened little guy

I called the wildlife centre
They said they would call around
I popped the mouse into a box
and he made a squeaking sound

I knew that he would make it
Just needed some attention
A vet’s care and some love and fuss
and that was my intention

And puss was not impressed
and had not an ounce of shame
She slunk off to her bed
because I’d spoilt her little game.

Photo by Katherine Mihailova: https://www.pexels.com

Author: Ellie Thompson

Writing my memoirs, musings, a little fiction and a lot of poetry as a way of exploring and making the most of my life ... ... Having had a break from writing my blog for more than three years, I decided to return to write my memoirs, some day-to-day observations, views and feelings. My passion is non-fiction poetry. I have a disability and use an electric powerchair called Alfie and let nothing get in the way of living life to the full. I believe that you can never do a kindness too soon and should give credit where credit is due. A smile or a kind word could make the difference between a good or bad day for a person - we never know what's going on for another soul. Those little things, perhaps, practised daily like a mantra, could mean so much to someone else. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading a little more about me. Please, make yourself at home here. You are very welcome. Ellie x 😊

72 thoughts on “A Long Tail (A Poem)”

          1. I’m fine, thank you, my friend. It’s a very cold, wet day here today, so I’m going to stay in and read some of my readers’ blogs. I’m way behind as usual! Hope you are well, too.

          2. I’m doing good super EET 😁
            Allergy has gone. I’ll meet it in September next.
            Here it’s too hot. Yesterday, it rained, but a little. Today it’s hot and dry. You take care and keep smiling

  1. Hmm, it’s a great poem Ellie, really cute, but you’re bringing up all these moral questions for me! I’m not a big fan of mice. Small things, but count me on the wimpy side! I might have to agree with Puss and the friend: time for the loo. Ha, ha, love the imagery. Poor puss, took away all her fun.

    1. Thanks, Brian. I’m a real sucker for small creatures, especially wildlife, and believe me, Puss brings in more than enough for me to rescue from her. This time of the year, it’s mostly mice. I think this one was a little field mouse. In the spring, she starts on the baby birds, which is heartbreaking. They tend not to fare too well. Poor puss indeed, but poor mouse even more so. I’m glad you enjoyed my poem, though 🐭😊

      1. Oh yes, the poor baby birds would bother me too. But Puss has to have her fun too. I like your poems because I don’t always know where you’re going to go. I thought you we’re going to say that she brought in a bird and it was flying around inside. Love the imagery and suspense. Thanks for the laugh,

        1. Dealing with injured baby birds is the worst thing. If wildlife are caught by a cat, they need antibiotics within 24 hours. I had to wait two days for the rescue people to collect the little fella. I’d given him bits of banana, as it’s not wise to give them water to begin with. He was definitely still alive even after that time. What was ironic was that I was told to keep him warm, and as I can’t afford to heat my house, I popped him up in the bathroom and just switched that one radiator on to keep him alive. Meanwhile, I was freezing downstairs! That’s real love for you, isn’t it!? 😊

  2. Has such a great fluency and tease, and induces shifting loyalties. I thought puss was going to be in trouble with foul weather and tom cats, and I didn’t want her to get hurt. I thought the poem was slowly building to her death. At the beginning I didn’t picture her as a predator, and when it was clear that she was not to be the victim, loyalties shifted. Mostly, roaches, rats, and mice are to be exterminated in an urban environment to avoid catastrophe. And putting aside the cuteness factor of animals, I’m not comfortable standing in an open field while a lion attacks me. Context is a big dilemma. I had a very kind dog once but she was instantly vicious when we went bird hunting. She had to be taught to fetch and not crunch a bird that we hunted. Hunting at the supermarket for a dead clean chicken is a lot different than pheasant hunting in the wild.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Doug. I’m glad you liked the poem. To be honest, when I started writing it, I had no idea how it was going to end. My cat is definitely a hunter, but where possible; I try to save the little creatures she catches. She rarely kills them, so they have a good chance of returning to the wild (wild being my garden, that is.) The mouse was a field mouse but they only come into the house if brought in by the cat. It’s the baby birds that are difficult to manage. They suffer from shock quite quickly when attacked by a cat. They’re more of a job to care for and usually have to go to the wildlife rescue centre to be hand-reared. I know what you mean about context, though. I wonder why your lovely dog became so vicious when you went bird hunting. Perhaps, it’s just inbuilt nature, certainly with hunting dogs anyway.

  3. Aww. Poor kitty. I have a tendency to leave them to it when they catch mice. I kill so many myself when they get into our kitchen (which is pretty much all winter) that it seems hypocritical to steal their fun. I love this line: I called her once and once again. It have a really nice flow to it.

    1. Eww, Jeff, I couldn’t kill a mouse even if they were running loose in the kitchen. I don’t mean I’d leave them there, but that I now have a couple of humane mouse traps. Once they’re trapped, I let them go out in the garden. I keep Peanut in for a short while, or just long enough to give the mice a chance to get away. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, though. Thanks for your comment. 🐭

    1. Peanut is always hunting, Carol anne. It’s heartbreaking for me to see the little creatures that she catches. She always brings them through the cat flap as if she’s giving me a present. I’ve tried telling her I’d rather have a new pair of earrings wrapped in pretty paper, but she is just insistent on catching mice and birds for me! 😁 Xx

  4. Lol, cats will be hunters! One of mine needed praise for lining up dead frogs she had caught on the sill near the door, and if I forgot to praise her hunting powers she’d stick the dead frogs inside my shoes. They need their praise!

    1. Peanut is a real hunter, much to my dismay, although it’s only a natural instinct in many cats. Luckily, I don’t get any frogs in my garden (I don’t think any of the neighbours have a pond). I’d hate to think what a squished frog looks like! Funnily enough, when Peanut catches mice and brings them indoors, the mice always find their way into my boots, which stand in the hallway. They think they can’t be seen there, but I know exactly where to look now if one has given Peanut the slip! They say that cats bring prey into the house for us as a gift to their humans. I’d really rather not have those gifts, but as nicely as I put it, Peanut will not get the hint. She thinks she’s doing me a favour 😁🐭 Xx

      1. Oh yes, those are gifts we humans can do without, but the cats won’t take no for an answer! 😆😁😆

          1. Lol! Growing into it is a more likely thing! 😀😁

  5. To all the mouse killers out there, I cannot even kill a mosquito that is biting me. I snap my skin right behind it, and the mosquito jumps and flies away. She is doing what comes naturally to her, so why should I punish her for that?
    All living creatures are my siblings. I refuse to play God!
    Good poem, Ellie. I like that the little mouse got the chance to live…

    1. I’m so glad you said that, J. That’s precisely how I feel about all creatures. I can’t harm a fly – I’d never dream of using fly spray or a swatter. I can just open the back door and shoo it out without harming either of us. If Peanut kills a mouse, which doesn’t happen very often, I’m really upset, but I’m not cross with her as she’s only doing what comes naturally to her, as you say. However, I’ll save whatever creature she brings in if I can take care of it or get it some help as I did with this little fella. I did message the wildlife rescue centre to ask how my little mouse was doing, but they’re far too busy saving little lives to return a message to me. I know I did my best, and that’s the best I can do. I love that you’re so compassionate about animals, J. X 💙🐭💚🐈💜

      1. Kindred spirits, Ellie. I felt that from the first post of yours I read. Different places of birth, different lives, different experiences, but still connected in so many ways. I am glad to have gotten to know you, and call myself your friend.

        1. Thank you, J. I feel the same about you. In this big old world of ours, isn’t it funny how you can come across someone on the other side of the planet and although we’ve never met, we have such similar outlooks on life. I feel privileged to know you, dear J. X 💛💓💛

    1. Thank you, Ann. I’m an absolute sucker for anything smaller than myself. I just couldn’t leave the little mouse to its peril all alone. The wildlife rescue people took him in, and although I can’t get a reply from them, I hope my little mouse made it back to the wild once his poorly leg was, hopefully, fixed. I don’t even know if that’s possible on a tiny little scrap like that, but I had to give him the best chance I could. I hope he is running free somewhere now. I called him Herbert! X 🐭

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, Tallisman. Peanut is my first cat, and she didn’t hunt as much when she was young. She’s four next August, and I keep hoping she’ll quieten down on the hunting front. I don’t think she’s got any retirement plans yet! 😼

        1. Lucky you. Peanut will pounce on anything that moves! She’s brought in birds, mice, voles, slow worms and many butterflies. Luckily, I have no frogs, as no one nearby has a pond. I’d hate to think of what would be left of a frog if she caught one – they’re so squishy! Eww!

    1. Thank you, Chuck. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It’s a true story. My cat, as much as I love her dearly, is too much of a hunter for my liking. However, when she does catch her prey, I do my utmost to save their little lives as best I can. If I can’t, at least, I can keep them safe and comfortable (and away from Peanut, my cat) during their last sad hours. Peanut was definitely not very happy! 😽🌹💕

        1. Thanks, Chuck. Peanut was a house cat when she was a kitten until she was eight months old. I just kept being told by friends and relatives that I was being cruel by not letting her out. I felt guilty then (another guilt trip 😉), so I gave in and let her out. She’s never looked back since then, and it wouldn’t be fair to keep her in all the time now that she’s had a taste of the ‘wild’. I do keep her in in the late afternoon and always at night. This morning here is sunny and mild, 13C, and I can hear the birds in my garden tweeting away. This is the time of year I fear that she will soon be bringing baby birds in. Caring for injured birds is much more difficult than caring for mice. If caught by a cat, even if not injured, they need antibiotics within 24 hours. The local wildlife rescue centre had to close down very recently, and the next nearest is now too far for me to travel in my wheelchair. The new place will collect baby birds but can rarely get here within 24 hours. The birds have less of a chance of surviving than mice. Nature can be quite cruel sometimes. Nevertheless, I still love Peanut very much. She’s great company for me, living alone.

  6. Привіт Еллі. Можливо, ще один “хвіст” вашого життя? …Кайлін

    1. Hello. I’m so sorry; I don’t know how to spell your name as it is in a foreign language. Is it Caitlyn (wrong spelling) or something similar? Your comment went into my spam folder, and I’ve only just found it. I managed to translate everything into English, which reads, “Hi, Ellie. Maybe another ‘tail’ of your life.” Thank you for commenting, though. It’s appreciated, and I hope you are well. I haven’t seen much of you for a few months now. I hope you’re doing well. Xx

      1. Hello, Elllie. Thanks so much for your reply. Sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused. Wishing you only the best, …Cailín

        1. Hi, Cailin. Thanks you very much. It was no trouble at all – I just used Google Translate. It’s very useful as WordPress is a worldwide organisation and sometimes, people write in their own language, which is fine. How are you these days? Are you still writing for yourself? Love and good wishes to you, too. Xx 🤗

          1. Hello, Ellie! I’m doing reasonably well these days. Not much has changed for me since we last wrote. I do still write and take photographs. I appreciate your asking. I am pleased that you seem to be moving in a new positive direction. I couldn’t be happier for you! With all my best to you, Ellie. …Cailín

          2. I’m very glad to know you’re doing mostly okay these days, Cailin. I’m pleased that you are still writing and taking photographs. Thank you for being happy for me. I hope to remain positive, but I’m realistic with it, too, as I know that not every day can be positive and there are always hurdles to climb in life. I just hope I manage to find the energy to climb those hurdles when they present themselves to me. Love to you, Cailin. Xx 😘

          3. I thoroughly understand how life ebbs and flows. You’ve come a long way forward in the short time I’ve known you. May everything be as you wish in the future. My thoughts are with you, Ellie! …Cailín

  7. It’s a fun poem with a beautiful rhyme!❤️🤩 I would love to have a cat one day, but I am afraid that I won’t be able to take good care of it.🥲

    1. Thank you very much, Aaysid. Cats are adorable. I always said, because of my disability, I couldn’t cope with a cat, but I’ve found ways to do this now, and I wouldn’t change her for the world. She is such wonderful company for me. You never know, you might have a cat one day. Do you have any other pets? Xx 😘💞

      1. That is wonderful, Ellie. I am sure your cat loves being loved by you.😊💕 We used to have finches, parrots and a turkey as pets when I was a kid, but we kept moving due to my dad’s job, and it became difficult to move them, so we found them a new home. It was difficult to part ways with them, but it was a lot less cleaning work after that. 😬

        1. Thank you so much, Aaysid. I do love my cat and she is great company for me. I’m not so keen on her when she catches wildlife, though, but I know it’s just her instinct to hunt so she is quickly forgiven. What a shame you couldn’t keep your pets. I’ve heard that turkeys make great pets. I can imagine that there is a lot less cleaning out to do without animals. I’m always cleaning out Peanut’s litter tray. Take care of yourself. Xx 🌹💕

    1. Peanut tries to claw my chair sometimes, although somehow she never seems to do any damage. I think she must have blunt claws from all that hunting! Our cats bring us so much love, though, and I wouldn’t be without her. Xx 😻

        1. Peanut isn’t a snuggly cat, unfortunately, and she hates being picked up. But, she does curl up on my bed next to me at night, which is lovely. She usually wakes me up around 3am but then, goes back to snoozing, which is what I then have to try to do! Other than that, she’ll stay there until I want to get up, so she’s a good girl like that, and I love her to pieces. Xx 😻

    1. Thanks, Simon. Yes, they are little critters sometimes. Nevertheless, I still love her; perhaps, not right at the moment of her killing something! In this case, the mouse lived to tell another ‘tail’ 😊.

  8. I love this poem., Ellie. In fact, it reminded me of an almost similar situation with my cat years ago. I too don’t like killing any creature, so Job #1 was to separate my cat from the mouse. After that, Job #2 was to trap the mouse in such a way it could be easily transferred back outside. All went well, and while my cat was a bit chagrined it lost its playmate, I explained to him his idea of “playing” was not shared by the mouse lol..😀

    1. Thank you so much, Bruce. I’m happy you enjoyed my poem and even more so, that you could relate to it. I just love your conversation with your cat about playing with the mouse. Perhaps, I should speak sternly to Peanut next time she brings her prey indoors and discuss the niceties of true friendship 😊.

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