Poor little beggar cat, hollow-eyed and gaunt,
Creeping down the alley way like a ghost of want,
Kicked and beat by thoughtless boys, bent on cruel play,
What a sorry life you lead, whether night or day!

Hunting after crusts and crumbs, gnawing meatless bones,
Trembling at a human step, fearing bricks and stones,
Shrinking at an outstretched hand, knowing only blows,
Wretched little beggar cat, born to suffer woes.

Stealing to an open door, craving food and meat,
Frightened off with angry cries and broomed into the street.
Tortured, teased and chased by dog through the lonely night,
Homeless little beggar cat, sorry is your plight.

Sleeping anywhere you can, in the rain or snow,
Waking in the cold, gray dawn, wondering where to go,
Dying in the street at last, starved to death at that,
Picked up by the scavenger--poor tramp cat!

Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

From a postcard from the American Humane Education Society.

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