Poetry for Kids: Haiku Poems About Cats (and Kittens Too)
How to Write Haiku Poems
Haiku are short poems and are generally written over three lines with a total of seventeen syllables. The lines are written thus; five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.
- 3 lines
- 5, 7, 5 syllables
This stylized form of poetry writing was invented in Japan in the 17th century. It was more than a hundred years later before this style was copied in Europe. Some of the early European and American haiku writers did not stick to the rigid Japanese rules and adopted their own syllable count. You may therefore occasionally find examples of haiku that do not conform to the 5, 7, 5 pattern.
Children and Adults Love Haiku
This haiku poem is about a tabby cat I know.
Green eyes hypnotize
Camouflaged hunter supreme
Hunting mice at night
Never ask the cat,
"do you love me? love me not?"
You don't want to know ...— from "My Three Cats & Co" by C B Fraser
Mischievous Bundles of Fun
This haiku needs no explanation to anyone who has watched a litter of new kittens.
Four fluffy bundles
Life will never be the same
Chaos comes with them
Haiku Poems About Cats by Kobayashi Issa
Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) was one of the Japanese masters in the art of writing haiku. This version of his poem about a cat is a translation (by an unknown translator) from the Japanese, so the syllable count is not quite the same as the original.
Arise from sleep, old cat
and with great yawns and stretchings
amble out for love
My version of the same haiku using the 5, 7, 5 pattern is as follows.
Awaken wise cat
yawning and stretching your limbs
ready to seek love
Haiku Poetry About Black Cats
This is a haiku poem I wrote about my neighbor’s black cat. It was always coming up to me and brushing itself against my legs.
Beautiful soft fur
their demand to be stroked is
Some people associate black cats with witches and broomsticks. Here is a haiku poem about this aspect of their reputation.
Spell-bound I watch as
a black cat jumps on the broom
stick and disappears
Black cats are also excellent night hunters because they are able to blend into the darkness.
With unblinking eyes
they melt into the shadows
of the moonless night
Japanese Haiku by Bashō Matsuo
Another well known Japanese master haiku poet was Bashō Matsuo (1644-1694). He wrote the following haiku poem about a homeless feral cat he saw.
Why so scrawny, cat?
Starving for fat fish or mice...
Or backyard love?
Bashō must have been awoken many times by the love-making antics of cats in his district to inspire him to pen the following lines.
Amorous cat, alas
You too must yowl with your love...
or even worse, without!
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Cats are affectionate and are very, very clean animals. I wrote this haiku after watching my cat wash herself all over and then start again from the beginning. They also use social grooming as a way of bonding with other cats.
No body part is left out
Fur silky and soft
Cat Grooming Itself
The one thing I hate about cats is the way they get rid of all the hair they’ve groomed from their body. Their tongues are quite rough and act like a comb removing dirt and loose hair as they lick themselves all over. They are very clean animals and I’m pleased about that, but the fur balls that accumulate in their stomach are brought back up by the animal being sick. If you have never seen this, the video below shows a cat in full puke mode.
(NB. This video is not for the squeamish. It shows a cat puking up a furball with the sounds of retching.)
Such a dreadful sound
Stomach sides move like bellows
Retching a fur ball
Cat Pukes Hairballs
Cats are fascinating creatures. If you have ever “owned” one then you’ll know how much time it’s possible to spend just watching them. They are graceful and delicate, but they are also hunters and carnivores. They are a constant source of creative inspiration for poets and artists.
This is a haiku poem I wrote after watching some kittens play in a tumble of head-over-heels. It may make you pause (paws) for thought.
A tentative paw
gently pats the other’s fur
Teasing, playful, fun
Not Everything About Cats and Kittens is Lovely
Not everything about cats is pretty and affectionate. Some cats carry fleas and these will bite humans as well as their feline host. These tiny unwanted lodgers inspired this next haiku.
Even just thinking
of them makes me start to itch
Pesky little fleas!
Now it's your turn
What will you write your next haiku about?
whiskers and purrs
unfair advantage— from "Whiskers and Purrs" by Rohini Gupta