Lamenting an Old Cat upon Passing

by Dave Lieber

Karen & Dr. Nero

Goodbye, my old cat.
I miss you so.

Never cried 'bout an animal before,
But your passing is a terrible blow.

For 18 years, you gave my wife joy,
You were her best friend ever.

You'd come, sit and fetch like a dog.
What other cats are that clever?

As a kitten, you had a broken pelvis.
Your life was in great peril.

With eyes so green and a coat so black
Karen rescued you and named you Nero.

Before I met you three years ago,
I feared cats would scratch me bad.

Never had a kitty before,
But I ended up proud as your dad.

I loved the way you purred at me.
You'd climb on my lap for a scratch.

I was nervous while you were calm.
Our temperaments made one great match.

Your loving ways turned me around.
I became your biggest fan.

My job was to feed you every day.
It was me who opened your can.

The day I married our shared love Karen
I honored you as my hero.

You received a degree in philosophy.
From that day, you became Dr. Nero.

They say a black cat is unlucky.
Well, whoever said that was a fool.

They never met you, Dr. Nero.
Everything about you was way cool.

When you heard my car enter the garage
You greeted me at the door.

Who ever expected that from a cat?
From a pet you couldn't expect more.

Your little collar bell always jingled.
You bathed yourself once a day.

Your whiskers were like a long mustache
And your black hair turned light gray.

Your hobby was afternoon sunbathing.
On the stairs, you found your place.

Oh how you loved that Texas sun
Flashing beams upon your felinely face.

You always showed me love in your eyes
Especially when you sat by my computer.

I'd write and write the whole day long.
What work companion could be any cuter?

Remember that time I felt so sad?
You knew I was deeply upset.

You came and purred and smiled at me
Dr. Nero, you were one great pet.

This last year, you slowed in many ways
Your decline in health was depressing.

Like an old man you hobbled around
But your wisdom remained so refreshing.

My wife looked at you on Saturday.
You couldn't walk anymore.

You were 18 with a heart gone bad
One last time you headed to the door.

Tough as it was, she made a decision:
"The time is now. There's no choice."

It was hard for her to say those words.
Her eyes were very moist.

She placed you in the basket.
We drove down to the vet.

Dr. Nero, you purred 'til the end.
No one could ask more from their pet.

Your death was harder on my wife
Who first saw you in the road.

For 18 years, Karen loved you a lot
And your love for her always showed.

You were an old black cat.
Dr. Nero was your name.

You were a finer pet than Psycho Dog.
Just didn't share Sadie's great fame.

Psycho Dog can't fill your shoes.
She doesn't have your heart.

I'd call her and you'd come instead.
Dr. Nero, you were so smart.

The other day, as you purred goodbye
There was nothing I could do.

A friend like you comes but once.
But now you know that I loved you, too.

Devoted to Cats: Table of Contents    A Candle in Memory

Dave Lieber is an award winning columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Lamenting an Old Cat on Passing" was published in his Northeast column on August 12, 1997. His current column, The Watchdog, is published twice a week in the Star-Telegram.

Poem and photograph ©1997 to present by Dave Lieber.

Devoted to Cats ©1997 to present by
Pat & The Crowley Cats