Professors and their Pets: Felicia Nimue Ackerman


This segment of Professors and their Pets features Felicia Nimue Ackerman’s feline friend, Palomides. Not only has Professor Ackerman, a professor in the philosophy department, presented us her fluffy fur-ball, she has also provided some of her own kitty poetry (!!!). Read more about this furry dude—and check out some furry literature—after the jump. 

Name: Palomides

Do you have a story behind your pet’s name? He is named after my favorite knight in Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur. Upon coming across a fellow knight who is weeping and sighing, Palomides says, “Let me lie down and wail with you”—not “Count your blessings,” or “Think about others instead of yourself.”

Age: 10 years old.

Do you ever bring your pet on campus? Not anymore.

What is your favorite reaction when people meet Palomides? Everyone should be overwhelmed by his beauty.

Rotation of P6030587A 4x6

And now, some of Professor Ackerman’s kitty poetry:

A New Twist

Originally appeared in The Providence Journal 8/10/10 

Breathes there the cat with tail so long

That it gets twisted up all wrong

And knotted, tangled, coiled, and curled,

Instead of splendidly unfurled?

If such there be, release it well

And let its glory grow and swell

Till once again it waves unbound,

Untied, unfettered, and unwound.


A Fluffy Fellow in My Lap

Originally appeared in The Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin, May/June 2013. Also appeared in The Providence Journal, 8/25/13.

A fluffy fellow in my lap

Continually purrs —

You may have heard him — did you not

His purring joyful is —

He cares not if I’m rich or poor —

Or if I’m fat or slim —

Or if I’m tidy or unkempt —

Why can’t you be like him?

…And last, but not least, some kitty life advice:

Better Company

From the Providence Journal 11/16/10, reprinted in The American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Medicine, Fall 2011.

Do your friends want to reform you?

Do they try to mend your ways?

Do they prod you to get moving:

Jog, recycle, fill your days,

Start your own organic garden,

Eat more carrots, eat less fat?

Well, there’s always my solution:

Blow them off, and get a cat.


  1. It is always so interesting to hear why people gave their pets certain names and the story behind this cat’s name is no exception.

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