dog and cat nose to nose

Cats vs Dogs

February is ‘getting started’ month, and I’ve often been told the easiest way to start an argument is to ask a group of friends about their personal preferences.

Mr TS Elliot, a famous cat lover, whose 1939 children’s book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, inspired the iconic musical theatre production Cats — playfully contrasted cats and dogs in his poem The Ad-Dressing of Cats. It is not hard to see where his preference lay, you can see its evidence by observing how little space is reserved for his discourse on dogs!

Today’s poetry prompt invites you to take a leaf out of Mr Elliot’s book and start an argument with someone (real or fictitious) about their preference for cats or dogs. If you feel up to the challenge try to do it in rhyme.


You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
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.
For some are sane and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse —
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:

How would you ad-dress a Cat?

So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.

Now Dogs pretend they like to fight;
They often bark, more seldom bite;
But yet a Dog is, on the whole,
What you would call a simple soul.
Of course I’m not including Pekes,
And such fantastic canine freaks.
The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown,
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.
He’s very easily taken in —
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He’s such an easy-going lout,
He’ll answer any hail or shout.

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!
But if he is the Cat next door,
Whom I have often met before
(He comes to see me in my flat)
I greet him with an OOPSA CAT!
I’ve heard them call him James Buz-James —
But we’ve not got so far as names.
Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste —
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.

So this is this, and that is that:
And there’s how you AD-DRESS A CAT.

Now it’s your turn. Why not use the comment area below to share your own rhyme or poem? I always get a thrill out of finding out how others interpret my themes as they are never what I quite expect to read.

(Image by giselaatje from Pixabay)


  1. Written in less than a minute – so don’t expect too much!


    The Dressing of Cats
    With bow-ties and cravats
    Is more nonsense than Ad
    Just a whim, just a fad

    But Dogs look quite fine
    With a collar sublime
    With a kerchief of silk
    There’s so few of that ilk!

    1. Well, if that’s what you can do in less than a minute I’d love to see what you do in 10, 20 or 60 because that was brilliant Linda x

  2. Dillon is a faithful soul and (sometimes) my best friend.
    A bull in ev’ry china shop and so I can’t pretend
    that he is always well-behaved, respectful or refined
    to strangers’ disapproval he is happily resigned.

    My chum with a rich pedigree, he barks but seldom bites,
    loves chasing balls of sundry size and stays out late at nights.
    He eats like a wild animal and slobbers when he drinks
    and when his hygiene’s below par I’ll tell him that he stinks!

    Millie, on the other hand, will always look pristine,
    grooming herself every day, fanatically clean.
    She’s placid for the most part, although if she’s given cause
    can morph into a lioness – at DEFCON one with claws.

    Ms Oh-So Independent, she looks after number one
    making friends on her own terms; loves basking in the sun.
    She is such a fussy eater, so there’s never any doubt
    that if her meals aren’t up to scratch, we know she’s eating out.

    Such different personalities, who sharing the same space
    try my patience daily as they’re often on my case
    and yet I love them equally, as we have the same mother
    for Millie’s my big sister and Dillon is my brother.

  3. Interesting take Iain – leaves me wondering if you have a dog for a brother and a cat for a sister (in the best possible sense) what are you? Hmmm….

    1. Thanks Lesley – I’m probably an irritating mixture of both and I have 4 brothers and I sister. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

  4. I couldn’t get started on the pro’s and con’s thing…so just talked about the cats that came & went…


    Sputnik is the only thing to call a cat
    that arrives on your childhood fireside mat
    while the Russians are launching the first space rockets,
    (because not even a biker would call a mog Sprocket).

    Tojo was obviously an oriental feline
    though a bit of runt, not quite so sublime
    as a Japanese emperor, but he had quite a bawl,
    and apparently liked to slide down the hall.

    Then came Moggin as black as the night she was found,
    who recognised his home-bus by intuition or sound,
    kept me company as I studied for final exams,
    so long as I paid in tuna, salmon or ham.

    When a poor boy with troubles named his kit Zoe,
    he gave the poor thing a complex, till we renamed him Joey,
    he got a big bruvver when Kavin moseyed on in,
    & took him out on the town, to teach him a thing.

    Felix showed up like his portrait, all black and white,
    and the three guys terrorised the neighbourhood at night,
    but when whistled for, they’d come hurtling over the fence,
    a clatter of innocence, and no-melting-butter pretence.

    Last came a tomcat, who snook in as a Lodger
    a street-cat-bob that we called Dodger
    a fighter, a bruiser, in many a scrap,
    but a softee whenever he was offered a lap.

    You see the thing is, you address a cat by its name
    and not one of them is ever remotely the same,
    they’re curious, quixotic and look you in the eye,
    and answer every instruction with a head-crooked “why?”


    1. Thanks Lesley – I’m probably an irritating mixture of both and I have 4 brothers and I sister. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

    2. You’ve had some interesting cats Lesley – I love those names. Hope Moggin didn’t cost you too much in tuna.

      1. To be fair…none of them were mine. Mogs was “ours” all the rest were “his”, over a long period of time. Sputnik back in the fifties, through to Dodge in the 2010s. None were acquired, they all just arrived.

        1. I’ve noticed that pets have a habit of doing that – just arriving Lesley 🙂

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