by Bill Mullis


Maybelline was a tabby cat,
A tabby cat was she;
With a stripey, speckled, charcoal coat,
And green eyes like the sea —
The Carolina coast, that is,
Not Caribbean blue —
That gazed upon the world around
With full impunity.

Maybelline was a quiet cat,
A silent cat in fact.
I ne’er before nor since have heard
Such quietude and tact.
No purrs, no rowrs, no sad meows,
And not a single mew —
The world not worthy of her voice,
And so her voice it lacked.

Maybelline was a tricksy cat,
The evidence abounds.
When coming home I never knew
Just where she would be found.
Up on the lamp, or in the door,
Once in the Fridgidaire;
And on the stage as Jones the Cat,
She brought the whole house down.

Maybelline was an easy cat,
As freely I’ll attest.
Her dining needs were almost nil,
And easy to digest.
Not from a can, not from a bag,
No carcass on the stair;
The cheapest cat I ever knew
Which makes her — yes — the best.

Maybelline was a cardboard cat,
I say it without guile.
She never made my roommate sneeze,
Nor practiced self-denial.
The perfect pet, the perfect cat,
And not a whit of care!
She stood and watched and ne’er complained,
And never lost her smile.

But now I’ve had my share of cats
Of bloody tooth and claws.
And I have loved and cared for all,
With all their quirks and flaws.
I’ve scooped the poop and popped the top;
I’ve had their cross to bear.
And what I want is a Maybelline,
A cardboard cat of cause.


  1. Scat,
    Fat cat.
    Flat cat.

  2. Many was the time I'd be driving up to your old apartment at Sans Souci, only to see Maybelline sitting at the patio door, as if waiting and watching for me to arrive. I wondered what had happened to her.

    By the way ... Jones the Cat is still bringing the house down on a regular basis ...


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