© R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.

Hello my black cat

How do you want your petting?

Stroke the chin or head?

No, please, the whiskers

I dearly love the whiskers

I feel so good, then

OK I obey

Your wishes for a nice stroke

But I am busy

What say you, Malcolm?

Why do you ignore me so?

Just when I need love?

I know, Aida

You are so affectionate

You want more petting

No, Malcolm, no, no

Please stroke my long whiskers, please !

I feel so good then

Yes, yes, Aida

I will meet your wish today

Tomorrow, who knows?

All right, Malcolm, thanks

For being so kind and nice

When you could be mean!

May 23, 1994

This interesting black cat came into the family as our daughter, Julie, nursed it back to health when it appeared on our doorstep on the evening of the summer solstace, combined with a bizarre lunar eclipse several years ago. The robust, almost playful expression and the numerous "meows" demonstrate a remarkable intelligence and understanding of this particular cat's personality-one which is friendly, ugh, too friendly! This cat will allow one to pick it up by its hind legs, hang it inverted and, at the same time, stroke its belly, all without a scratch. Julie named the cat after one of her operas, and this animal can simply be mesmerized by stroking its whiskers and holding its nap, probably as its mother may have done to carry it from place to place. No doubt, Aida is unique in some ways, but she expresses the universality of animal behavior in the context of our need to communicate and be kind to animals. Hopefully this poem conveys Aida's personality!