Purrsday Poetry: If Cats Had Thumbs

Hi everyone,

Today’s Purrsday Poetry post comes from Deborah Ann Greenfield who runs Catkind.


If Cats Had Thumbs

By Miss Diva Calico Knee-socks

“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

– Mark Twain

Dear Friend, Did you know that just like you, Mark Twain was a devoted *ailurophile? Purr-ific! Many photo-ops of Mr. Twain feature him enjoying the companionship of  “a Clemens cat or two.” His keen wit and wry observations on life, society, and cats, were truly inspired; but in my opinion, you’ve just read his most astute declaration.

*Ailurophile: from the Greek: ailouros = cat, -phile = lover.

 “If man could be crossed with the cat  . . .” I pondered Mr. Twain’s observation for some time and awaited for the poetic mews to kick in. Then, fluffing down at my iMac, I composed “If Cats Had Thumbs – A Feline Responds to Mark Twain.” And all the while I was writing, I imagined myself riding on his shoulder, or sitting on his lap, and mewing to him, this kitty-wise reply:


A Feline Responds to Mark Twain

by Miss Diva Calico Knee-socks

Dear Mr. Twain, cats know ‘tis true,
That man would improve crossed with Felis Catu
With sharpened mind and hunting skills,
He’d best any battle of the wills!
With hearing keen and poise precise,
A Man-Cat could be . . . would be . . . nice!

However, we must debate that crossed with man,
Cats would “deteriorate,”
It’s quite the opposite – cats would ameliorate
With the greatest gifts derived from man  –
Those dexterous digits: Thumbs one-and-two
Are every Feline’s dream-come-true!

What proud phalanges of agility,
That facilitate grasp with alacrity!
Fine, flexible digits that oppose,
To “thumb a ride,” or “thumb our nose,”
Ah-h, if Cats had thumbs, what formidable creatures we’d be!
Thumbs are wasted on the likes of chimpanzees,
With their monkey-see and monkey-do,
Hey, silly primates, “HISS-S-S-S on you!”


With cat-thumbs we could lace our sneakers,

Adjust the volume of the speakers,

Clasp a mouse with gripping grasp,

Turn a doorknob,

Lock the hasp,

The “possibles” just make us gasp!

We’d pick a banjo, strum a tune,
Dine on kibble with a spoon!
Fly a rocket to the stars –
The Space-cats conquer planet Mars!
Dear Creator, if thumbs for cats we pray Thee find,
T’would be One Giant Leap for All Cat-kind!


How’s that for a bit of kitty whimsy? Ah, well, having cat-thumbs may be a fluffy dream, but here is one vital feline fact: the claw-end toe-tips of our forepaws are just as laden with nerve endings and sensitive tissue as your human fingertips. And just as your fingertips relay sensory information to your brain about your world, our cat-claws & toe-pads relay sensory information to our brains about our world!

Imagine your life without the pads of your fingertips: they have been surgically removed at the first knuckle. A vital essence of your humanity has been marauded. Never again will you feel the velvet of your baby’s cheek; never again will you savor those last, salty crumbs at the bottom of the pretzel bowl pressed onto your fingertip and touched to your tongue; never again will your fingertips text your friends; never again will the fingertips of the Deaf perform the joyous choreography of ASL; never again will the fingertips of the Blind illuminate their minds and souls as they decode the bumps of Braille. To surgically remove human fingertips is to deny an essence of humanity bestowed upon you by our Creator.

You invited us into your homes to share your lives, and we trusted your invitations. We apologize for using the back of the sofa to stretch our toes and exercise our muscles, but, just like you, felines thrive on mindful activities like aerobics and yoga; and if you deem that we live strictly indoors, then please provide us with ultra-cool workout areas!


If, however, you bring us to the “animal doctor” and insist that we be “declawed,” you are marauding a vital essence of our species; denying us a crucial survival tool bestowed upon us by our Creator.  Please, friends, go to the Pet supermarket, shop online, or if you’re artistic & handy, design and build some fun-tastic kitty furniture & scratching posts (hint: think 4×4’s wrapped in sisal!) and together we’ll share years of loving devotion and mutual respect.


Blessings and head-boops,

Miss Diva Calico Knee-socks

If Cats Had Thumbs: A Feline Responds to Mark Twain

© 2016 Deborah Ann Greenfield, aka, Miss Diva Calico Knee-socks

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27 thoughts on “Purrsday Poetry: If Cats Had Thumbs

  1. scfjdqueenbeeedit says:

    I used to do tours at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. Mark Twain loved cats. ? He had 11 of them there, and when he was growing up in Hannibal, Missouri, he was allowed to pack 4 of his favorite cats in carriers to go to Florida, Missouri for the summer while he stayed with his grandmother and attended school. In Hartford, his cats had some great names: Satan and Sin, a mother cat and kitten who lived close to the inferno of the coal furnace in the cellar. Other cats’ names were Stray Kit, Sour Mash, Soapy Sal, Buffalo Bill, Pestilence, Famine, Lazy, Frauline, and Apollinaris.

    Here is a Mark Twain cat quote, from his 1894 novel, Pudd’nhead Wilson:
    “A home without a cat – and a well-fed, well-petted, and properly revered cat – may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”

      • kameamoonmaiden says:

        You’re very welcome. My cat Mila is so crafty and creative dealing without thumbs. She actually knocks on the door, because her meow is very small. In the townhouse I used to live in, she actually figured out how to open the door! LOL.

          • Judith Watson says:

            Ahahaaa– I’ve an Oliver as well! Oliver Twisted, if we’re being formal. Grand name for a cat– and mine looks the part. He is an Oliver through and through. I’m chuffed to bits that I’ve found this site!! It’s simply brilliant
            ? =^. .^= ?

          • Marc-André says:

            Awwww every household should have an Oliver! Ours is a black and white tuxedo cat. 🙂

            And thank you! If you ever fancy submitting something to our site let us know. 😀

  2. Pingback: Purrsday Poetry: If Cats Had Thumbs — Katzenworld – lisasiddellphotography

  3. Kay @KittyCat_Smile says:

    Fantastic post once again! Loved the poem and the wonderful message to NOT DECLAW YOUR CATS. They’re most definitely given claws for a reason. A huge thank you for comparing declawing to removing our own finger tips. WOW! Thanks a million.

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