Meow-sic to My Ears: Cat-Inspired Songs for National Music Month
Category: Cat Ownership
Two things I know:
- March is National Music Month
- People love cats.
Okay, so those two things might not seem to go together at first glance, but hear me out. We can trace cat love throughout history starting with the Ancient Egyptians all the way to today’s celebrities. I think it’s purr-tty safe for me to assume that cats have inspired the creative minds for generations. As I was digging deep into the litterbox of the internet for proof, it didn’t surprise me when I came across tons of songs about cats (all written in the key of love) from 1700 classical composers to current day electronica artists — even The Cure wrote songs about cats.
So, what better way to celebrate music (and cats) than with the sounds of folk artists folk-ing, full orchestras orchestra-ing, rappers rapping, and 80’s rockstars rocking in honor of our favorite felines?
It was a hard choice, but I narrowed down my list to my Top 9 Cat Hits. Take a listen, add them to your playlist (or listen to ours), and jam out when you’re feline festive. It’s sure to be meow-sic to your (cat) ears.
My Top 9 Songs for Your Cat’s 9 Lives:
CATcerto by Mindasga Piečaitis featuring Nora, the Piano Cat
First on the list is Lithuanian composer, Mindasga Piečaitis’ work featuring YouTube famous and internationally adored, Nora, the Piano Cat. Piečaitis took Nora’s ivory improvs and “compose(d) music for a full chamber orchestra.” 1 Yes, you read that correctly: a full orchestra backing up a cat. The piece is presented with a video of Nora playing as the orchestra accompanies her beautiful, “improvised and emotive modernist motifs”. 1 A musical highlight, Brian Wilson of Soundfly.com points out, is when the whole orchestra meows like they’re communicating with Nora.
Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti (Or Humorous Duet of Two Cats) by Gioachino Rossini
The best part of this piece by Italian composer, Rossini, is that the only lyric is “miau” (read: meow) over and over again. Two singers battle it out with miaus, and it really is quite a delightful duet if you imagine two cats just bursting out into challenging vocal runs. As far as compositions go, it is considered “unique among pretty much all western music, classical and otherwise, for the bizarre style in which it is notated to be sung.” 1 But, cat people understand bizarre, so make sure you give it a listen.
Delilah by Queen
Unbeknown to many, Freddie Mercury really loved cats. So much, in fact, that he wrote Delilah as an ode to his furr-avorite kitty, Delilah, “a tortoiseshell with an assertive personality.” According to Mercury’s boyfriend Jim Hutton, “‘He would constantly fuss over [his cats]….During the day the cats had the run of the house and grounds, and at night one of us would round them up and bring them inside.’” 3 Mercury captures the ups and downs of cat parenting in Delilah, and his beautiful musical bridge of meows is sure to get you feline good.
Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog by Norma Tanega
Norma Tanega is the kind of crazy cat lady I can get behind. She named her cat Dog and walked him around her neighborhood on a leash because “her living situation only allowed for a cat.” This song ended up being her only Top 100 hit, but I think it’s an anthem for all of the crazy cat ladies out there.
La, La, La, He, He, Hee - Prince and Sheena Easton
This “funky seduction dance” of a song “involves a dog and a cat and a tree.” 4 It’s definitely a tune that sticks with you long after hearing it, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself head bopping to the tune hours later. With lyrics like “Licking your tail like it’s cream/ Stroking your whiskers, causing a scene” how could it not? 4
Black Cat by Janet Jackson
Talk about “feline fierceness.” 5 This power jam might be about her ex-boyfriend, but we can’t help but pick up on the references of cats’ nine lives and the unlucky superstition around black cats. While Black Cat didn’t win any Grammy Awards, Jackson did become “the first artist to earn nominations across Pop, Dance, Rock, Rap, and R&B categories” due to it. 6
Honky Cat by Elton John
This song is so catchy that I find myself smiling like the Cheshire Cat while I listen to it. It might be one of the lesser known songs by Elton John, but for cat lovers, it definitely is a must for your Top Hiss (haha, get it?) playlist.
Tron Songby Thundercat
Thundercat, a “genre-bending multi-instrumentalist who’s not a fan of conformity,” loves his cat. 4 In his song Tron Song, Thundercat “proclaims his undying loyalty” to his kitty, and to be honest, I feel it. 4 Personally, I tell my cat, “Fitz, you can’t ever leave me” all the time, and Thundercat’s lyrics say exactly that. It’s like Thundercat heard the words of my heart and put his meow-sical spin on it, and for that all I can say is thank mew.
Josie and the Pussycats Theme Song
My list isn’t complete without this influential girl group. I loved watching Josie and the Pussycats growing up and would set the DVR to record it on Cartoon Network every time it was on. An awesome girl band who dressed up like cats and solved mysteries? My ultimate dream job.
A Very Long List of Honorable Mentions:
- The Cat Waltz by Chopin
- Fugue in G Minor or The Cat Fugue by Scarlatti
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens
- The Lovecats by The Cure
- Man from Mars by Joni Mitchelle
- Look What the Cat Dragged In by Poison
- We are Siamese, If You Please by Peggy Lee (From Lady and the Tramp)
- Year of the Cat by Al Stewart
- Cat in the Window by Petula Clark
- What’s New Pussycat? by Tom Jones
- Nashville Cats by Lovin’ Spoonful
- Pads, Paws and Claws by Elvi Costello
- That Cat by Jimmy Smith
- Sunbathing Animal by Parquet Courts
- Our Cat by Advance Base
- Kitty Cat by Amon Tobin
- Mean-Eyed Cat by Johnny Cash
- Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin
- The Big Sky by Kate Bush
- Lucifer Sam by Pink Floyd
- Cool for Cats by Squeeze
- Mirror Maru by Cashmere Cat
- Pussycat Meow by Deee-Lite
- Alley Cats by Hot Chip
- Phenomenal Cat by The Kinks
- Keke That’s My Kitty by Lil B
- Up On the Catwalk by Simple Minds
At Meowtel, we celebrate cats in all ways and at all times! The next time you’re away from your kitty, plug into these tunes, and rock away your sadness knowing that your cat is in the best hands with your Meowtel sitter. But don’t fret – you don’t need to leave your cat to enjoy these catastic tunes! Check out our Mew That’s What I Call Meow-sic (Volume Pun) playlist on Spotify!
- Wilson, Brant. (2018, February 13). Scarlatti and Rossini Prove That Cat-Inspired Composing Is Hundreds of Years Old. Retrieved from https://flypaper.soundfly.com/write/scarlatti-and-rossini-cat-composition/
- Miller, Julie. (2018, November 10). Bohemian Rhapsody: Freddie Mercury and His Cats, a Love Story. Retrieved from https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/11/freddie-mercury-and-his-love-affair-with-his-cats
- The A.V. Club. (2019, February 6). Now That’s What I Call Meow-sic: 16 times cats made their way into song. Retrieved from https://music.avclub.com/now-that-s-what-i-call-meow-sic-16-times-cats-made-the-1832274225
- Palmer, Tamara. (2012, April 25). Songs About Cats: Catster’s Top 20 Kitty Tracks. Retrieved from https://www.catster.com/the-scoop/songs-about-cats-catsters-top-20-cat-tracks
- Songfacts. (2020). Black Cat by Janet Jackson. Retrieved from https://www.songfacts.com/facts/janet-jackson/black-cat