And then you have your pets.
Or do they really have us?
I guess it all depends on who you ask
or even who you trust.

They say,
whoever they are,
the authorities on such things,
that people were the ones
who made animals like human beings.

And since I’ve brought up making.
what about their genes?
Is there a cogent reason
if there ever really was
for breeding mutations
like too short legs
to go above a dog’s paws?

We doom animals we breed
to what nature didn’t choose,
make them vulnerable
to respiratory disease
and other assorted bad news.

Now before you get all up in arms,
or legs, since that’s my subject
let’s talk about that designer breed
that some of you covet.
Please remember that I love them all,
I just have little patience with their humans.

At the risk of being labeled a long legged dog and cat fascist,
I have to question the wisdom of breeding cats with a short leg characteristic.
That’s a cat that can’t jump. Does that make any sense?

I’m not a scientist.
I don’t know how long
it would take for the dog and cat population
to breed out what we’ve done wrong.
As we’ve found out with other stupid stuff we silly humans have done,
it’s a lot easier to sing, than to un-sing a song.

© Joel Tipple


Our cat is old enough to drink. Shadow turned 21 this year. For 21 years she has shared our king size bed. Not that we required a king size bed to keep her. Like most tortoiseshell cats she is on the small side. The mutation also means most torties are female. I just think they look cool. In my lifetime I’ve had three. Shadow came to us with a litter of feral kittens born in a pile of brush outside our shed. We watched them from our kitchen window after they were born. I called Shadow Stripe for a while, after the nasty little Gremlin from the movie, Gremlins. She has a prominent orange stripe in between her eyes. We started feeding the feral family, and when the kittens were old enough, we put out a live animal trap. We caught the kittens, one at a time, and then caught the momma and took her to the vet to have here fixed. We split the cost with our neighbors, who already had a cat from one of her previous litters. Shadow got her name because for some time after we brought her inside, we didn’t actually see her. She would eat and drink and use the litter box, but always hide afterward. Then, one day I went into her room and heard her meowing. She had managed to get stuck inside a dresser drawer. Shadow has always had a delicate stomach, but when she started losing weight in her later years, we came up with the idea of grinding fine her dry cat food in a coffee grinder. Good thing I don’t buy coffee beans.