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Discuss Texts: 'Macavity: The Mystery Cat' 3

In this worksheet, students will read 'Macavity: The Mystery Cat' by T.S. Eliot, and answer questions.

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:  Listen to and Discuss Texts

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

This poem was written by T.S. Eliot to go in the Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which was published in 1939. Old Possum was T. S. Eliot's nickname. It was used in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical 'Cats'.

Read through the poem.

 

 

*************************************

 

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

 

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw –

For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.

He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:

For when they reach the scene of crime – Macavity's not there!

 

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,

He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.

His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,

And when you reach the scene of crime – Macavity's not there!

You may seek him in the basement, you make look up in the air – 

But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!

 

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;

You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.

His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;

His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.

He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;

And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

 

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,

For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster in depravity.

You may meet him in a by-street, you may meet him in the square – 

But when the crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

 

He's outwardly respectable (They say he cheats at cards.)

And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's

And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,

Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled,

Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair –

Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!

 

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,

There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.

He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:

At whatever time the deed took place – MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!

 

*************************************

 

 

Now use this poem to help you answer the following questions.

Who is the Hidden Paw? 

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

Why is Macavity called the Hidden Paw?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

In the poem, who is looking for Macavity? How do you know?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

Why is everyone searching for Macavity?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

A fakir is a trickster or swindler. 

 

There are several other tricky words in this poem:

  • levitation
  • fiend
  • depravity
  • deceitfulness
  • suavity

 

Use a dictionary to find out what each of these words mean and type your answer below.

Once answered, these definitions will help you to answer the remaining questions.

Why is Macavity never caught?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

Why does T.S. Eliot say Macavity is like a snake?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

Describe Macavity.

What does he look like? Where do you think he lives? How do you know? What else can you tell about Macavity?

 

Type your answer using sentences and use information from your previous answers.

Personification is when an animal or object is described as if they are a person.

Find two examples of personification in this verse: 

 

*************

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;

You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.

His brow is deeply lined in thought, his head is highly domed;

His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.

He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;

And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

 

*************

 

 

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

Do you think Macavity is really a criminal?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

  • Question 1

Who is the Hidden Paw? 

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award one mark for the following answer:
Macavity is a cat who is also called the Hidden Paw.
  • Question 2

Why is Macavity called the Hidden Paw?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award up to three points for the following information written in sentences:
1. Macavity is a cat who has paws.
2. Macavity is always hiding.
3. Hidden Paw sounds like a real criminal with a criminal name.
  • Question 3

In the poem, who is looking for Macavity? How do you know?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award one mark for the following answer:
The poem says that the Law, Scotland Yard and the Flying Squad are all looking for Macavity. These are different names for the police.
  • Question 4

Why is everyone searching for Macavity?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award up to two marks for answers that include the following information, are written in sentences and refer to the text:
Macavity has committed lots of different crimes, such as stealing jewellery, milk and food, damaging greenhouse glass and trellis, cheating at cards and stifling a Peke (Pekinese) dog.

Award a further mark for answers that describe how Macavity can never be found:
No one can find him because he always disappears when they are looking for him.
  • Question 5

A fakir is a trickster or swindler. 

 

There are several other tricky words in this poem:

  • levitation
  • fiend
  • depravity
  • deceitfulness
  • suavity

 

Use a dictionary to find out what each of these words mean and type your answer below.

Once answered, these definitions will help you to answer the remaining questions.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award one mark for each definition:
1. levitation is when something appears to rise or float
2. a fiend is someone evil
3. depravity is an evil way of behaving
4. deceitfulness means you are trying to make someone believe something that is not true
5. suavity means that someone is relaxed, pleasant and confident when talking to others
  • Question 6

Why is Macavity never caught?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award up to three marks for answers that are similar to the following, refer to the text and are written in sentences:
Macavity is never caught because he always disappears. Whenever the police arrive, "Macavity isn't there!". The poem says that Macavity "defies the laws of gravity" which means that he seems to fly away.
The poem also says that Macavity always has an alibi which means that there is always a reason why he didn't do the crime.
  • Question 7

Why does T.S. Eliot say Macavity is like a snake?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award up to two points for similar answers written in sentences:
Macavity "sways his head from side to side" like a snake. Snakes hide and slide away easily just like Macavity disappears from the police.
  • Question 8

Describe Macavity.

What does he look like? Where do you think he lives? How do you know? What else can you tell about Macavity?

 

Type your answer using sentences and use information from your previous answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award up to three marks for answers that give a detailed visual description, are written in the sentences and refer to the text:
Macavity is "very tall and thin", with ginger fur. His forehead is lined and he has sunken eyes with a "domed" head. He looks messy because his coat is dusty and his whiskers are not combed. He also sways his head like a snake from side to side.

Award extra marks for each of the following points:
1. I think Macavity lives on the street because the poem says "his coat is dusty with neglect" which means that no one is looking after him.
2. I think Macavity is clever because he always manages to disappear before he is caught and his domed head might mean a big brain!
3. The poem says that Macavity is "outwardly respectable" even though he looks messy and dirty.
4. The poem says that Macavity is deceitful and suave which means that he gets people to believe him even when he is dishonest because he is easy to talk to.
5. The poem uses lots of unpleasant words to describe Macavity, such as "criminal", "fiend", "monster" and like a "snake". These all make Macavity sound horrible and scary.
  • Question 9

Personification is when an animal or object is described as if they are a person.

Find two examples of personification in this verse: 

 

*************

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;

You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.

His brow is deeply lined in thought, his head is highly domed;

His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.

He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;

And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

 

*************

 

 

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award one mark for each of the following points, written in sentences:
1. "His brow is deeply lined in thought". This line makes Macavity sound like he is a person thinking through a problem, or someone who is worrying about something.
2. "His coat is dusty..." makes it sound like Macavity is actually wearing a coat!
  • Question 10

Do you think Macavity is really a criminal?

Type your answer using sentences and use information from the poem to explain your answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Award up to three marks for answers that give reasoned explanation, are written in sentences and refer to the text. For example:
I think that Macavity is definitely a criminal. He is always getting into trouble because he steals and breaks things. He is a horrible cat who needs to be caught!
or,
I think Macavity is just a cat who does things that cats do. He likes drinking milk, shiny jewellery and he sometimes breaks things. The poem makes him sound like an awful person who keeps escaping, but he is just a cat!
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