Poetry for Kids: Haiku Poems About Cats (and Kittens Too)

Updated on June 25, 2018
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

I teach creative writing to adults and I love helping my students improve their writing skills.

Cats are quirky, interesting creatures.
Cats are quirky, interesting creatures. | Source

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.

A cat's unblinking stare holds your attention (no matter what else they are doing.)
A cat's unblinking stare holds your attention (no matter what else they are doing.) | Source

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
Mischief and trouble times four.
Mischief and trouble times four. | Source

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

Four adorable sleeping kittens.
Four adorable sleeping kittens. | Source

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

The look of love.
The look of love. | Source

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

irresistible


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

Black cats blend into the dark night.
Black cats blend into the dark night. | Source

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!

Nights out are so exhausting.
Nights out are so exhausting. | Source

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.

Constantly licking

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

Fascinating Creatures

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

A month-old kitten peeks out of a box.
A month-old kitten peeks out of a box. | Source

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!

Come out from under the covers and write haiku.
Come out from under the covers and write haiku. | Source

Now it's your turn

What will you write your next haiku about?

See results

large eyes

whiskers and purrs

unfair advantage

— from "Whiskers and Purrs" by Rohini Gupta
Seriously, what is stopping you? Start writing your own haiku poems now.
Seriously, what is stopping you? Start writing your own haiku poems now. | Source

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Mark Tulin profile image

    Mark Tulin 

    3 weeks ago from Santa Barbara, California

    Beautiful felines meet beautiful haiku. Thanks

  • KatWin profile image

    Kathy Burton 

    5 months ago from Florida

    So many haiku and great pictures. Now I must practice

  • profile image

    Snakesmum 

    2 years ago

    Cats are certainly a great subject for haiku. I didn't know the format until I read your hub. Love the first pic. of the tabby cat.

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