The Empire of the Cat

Elaine Hogan 2018

Kitty has lived at the theatre for a very long time
In fact her lives may have exceeded the usual nine.

With four velvet paws she ruled the Royal Court
And many a neighbourhood Tom had been her consort.
She played leading lady in a number of roles
And as of yet she’s never received any cat calls.
‘My blithe spirit reviews remain unsurpassed
While my ghost of Elriva can’t be outclassed.
Ive starred in mousetrap without catching a mouse
But my lively performance brought down the house.
I can be angry and spiteful, enigmatic, aloof
Ive burnt my four paws on a hot tin roof.
Though I am loathe to admit my great escapade
Was when I slept in a handbag the nanny mislaid.
‘Is this the bag?’ said Jack as he waved it about
And lady Bracknell ad libbed ‘That’s let the cat out,’
With her usual air of stoicism
As I leapt out the bosom of a startled Miss Prism.’

Kitty was no only a star in theatre plays
She was also quite active in music hall days.
‘I trod the boards a certain little lady
When George Formby sang and played ukulele.

Although it wasn’t music but more the variety
Where I actually gained my great notoriety.
And showed off my daring on the flying trapeze.
‘I could juggle four balls whilst laid on my back
And just like Houdini I could escape from a sack.
But as a magicians assistant I had no success
Due to my plucking a pigeon and making a mess.
And then when the rabbit was found dead in a hat
Mr Marvel demanded they ‘Get rid of that cat!’
Catastrophe came when the flea circus hit town
I was so badly infested I was almost put down.’

Kitty watched movies when it became the big screen
And dreamt she was part of the Hollywood scene.
She ate lunch with Chaplain and supper with Keaton
When the finest caviar and oysters were eaten.
‘I courted my suitors with flirtatious chit chat
And saw the moggies as moguls rich and cat fat.
I met a Russian Blue boy, an inveterate sprayer,
I named him affectionately as Louis B Mayer
I cast my coat on the couch of Cat B DeMille
But it was so out of season I caught quite a chill.
I was lured by the charms of a swashbuckling Manx
Who co-opted the name of Douglas Fairbanks.

My heart set aflutter and my tail went into a spin
When down from the light fittings swung Errol Flynn.
My greatest love for them all was Thomas O’Malley
No matinee idol just a cat from the alley.’

Kitty watched the silver screen rise and then fall
To be followed by the advent of the bingo hall.
No more drama, no footlights, no singing, no dance
Her Empire doors opened to a game of chance
Which was played with a random selection of balls
Their numbers read out in a doggerel calls.
Then to my rescue along came Bacup Am Dram
And I was able to dance with the King of Siam.
I slept on red velvet inside Audrey Two
And hitched a ride with Pricilla and sat in the shoe.
Now every year around Christmas time
I still play a role in each pantomime,
I had a romance with Dick Whittington’s cat
And once played myself wearing boots and a hat.
I’ve climbed up a beanstalk and fallen on jack
And came out of a lamp but couldn’t get back.’

Kitty has now lived so long in the role of mine host
It’s quite widely reputed she may be a ghost!

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