During the latter part of the T’ang and Sung Dynasties (618-1279 AD) Chinese cat poems and paintings became popular. Here Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060AD) writes a heartfelt poem to his dead cat.
Sacrifice to the Cat that Scared all the Rats
When I had my Five White cat,
The rats did not invade my books.
This morning Five White died,
I sacrifice with rice and fish.
I see you off in the middle of the river,
I chant for you: I won’t neglect you.
Once when you’d bitten a rat,
You took it crying around the yard.
You wanted to scare all the rats,
So as to make my cottage clean.
Since we come and board this boat,
On the boat we’ve shared a room.
Although the grain is dry and scarce,
I eat not fearing piss or theft.
That’s because of your hard work,
Harder working than chickens or pigs.
People stress their mighty steeds,
Saying nothing’s like a horse or ass.
Enough—I’m not going to argue,
But cry for you a little.