Rooster J. Catburn


With the end of summer comes the end of kitten season: a time of year when the local SPCA is overrun with newborn kittens while their slightly older siblings are apparently brought and abandoned in our neighborhood. People must know that we will provide for their strays.

This is how Rooster J. Catburn found his way into our family.

When our oldest and typically orneriest cat, Ambrose, found Rooster, he was a half-grown, half-starved mess living under an azalea bush. In a fit of uncharacteristic kindness, crotchety Ambrose brought this ball of matted fur to our front door.

My father had recently proclaimed that two dogs and two cats were more than enough animals for empty nesters; but my parents couldn’t ignore Rooster’s breathy cry or white face and black soul patch. They took him in and fed him, all the while saying it would be straight to the SPCA and a new forever home.

Although they did take him to the shelter, they couldn’t leave him. The SPCA was already full of younger, more adoptable kittens. The staff did ensure that he was fixed, healthy, and clipped his ear to mark him as a fully vaccinated feral cat before sending him back home with my mother.

My parents tried to find another home for him. They posted his picture on social media and talked him up to neighbors, family friends, anyone who would listen. They thought a beautiful and friendly cat like Rooster would be perfect for a family looking for that one special pet. But it was already too late. Rooster had adopted them and my father, despite his proclamations, had gotten attached to that puffy tail.

Now that I’ve moved home, Mr. Catburn has accepted me as another one of his people. He’s now a plump, spoiled, happy cat sprawled across my bed. The way he purrs and churns-butter in his sleep, you would have no idea he was ever an orphaned stray.

Except for that clipped ear.

To help the SPCA make it through another kitten season and cats like Rooster, please visit their site at:

Pookie is a poet and proud Ole Miss Alum who is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree.

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