Famous Cats in Music

Albert Schweitzer once said, "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."

Cats in music over the years have inspired ballet, pop hits, costumes for performers, and entire plays. Here are some of them.

Nora the Piano Cat is, of course, world famous, thanks to YouTube. Nora was the ASPCA Cat of the Year for 2009, and has thousands of fans, young and old alike.

Apparently, Nora likes a well tuned piano...

Classical Cats in Music

Elaine Comparone plays Scarlatti's Fugue in G minor on the harpsichord, known as "The Cat Fugue."

  • One of the most famous and loved of the classical ballets, Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty includes a dance for two fairy-tale cats, Puss in Boots and the White Cat.
  • The duet called "Duetto Buffo Dei Due Gatti" is based only on the word "miau" or "meow." The composition is often credited to Gioacchino Rossini, but is actually said to be a compilation of parts of Rossini's 1816 opera, Otello. Otello is, itself, an opera in three acts to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Berio di Salsi, and based on William Shakespeare's play Othello. With over 40 references to cats in his work, none of them positive, Shakespeare apparently did not like cats!
  • Domenico Scarlatti is said to have composed the "Cat Fugue" or "Cat's Fugue" based on his cat's antics on the keyboard. Apparently his furry feline friend was curious about the sounds the keyboard made when he walked on it, and one day Scarlatti wrote down the musical phrase the cat was playing at the time. This became the basis and inspiration for the piece.
  • Edward Lear's poem "The Owl and the Pussycat" was set to music by Igor Stravinsky.
  • As the story goes, while Chopin was composing Waltz No. 3 in F major, his cat ran across the keyboard, which inspired the composer to write "The Cat's Waltz."
  • "The Waltzing Cat" by Leroy Anderson.
Purrfectly Cats Music CD

A number of the pieces mentioned here can be found on the CD Purrfectly Classical.

This collection includes Tchaikovsky's Puss-In-Boots And The White Cat, Copland's The Cat And The Mouse, Scarlatti's The Cat Fugue, Chopin's The Cat's Waltz, and Cat Duet by Ravel.

More Cats in Music and Theater

Interestingly, the term "cat" refers to a jazz musician. If you're a cool cat, you're some one who plays your instrument well.

Below are some more songs, tunes, albums, song names, and a musical play inspired by felines.

CATS the musical
Blink 182 Cheshire Cat

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical play CATS was based on nursery rhymes by T.S. Eliot. They were originally published in 1939 as Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.
  • Cheshire Cat by blink-182.
  • Year of the Cat by Al Stewart.
  • "Josie and the Pussycats" by the group of the same name.
  • T. Rex's "Cat Black (the Wizard's Hat)."
  • "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent. Of course cat scratch fever really is a disease.
  • "What's New Pussycat?" by Tom Jones.
  • "Leave My Kitten Alone" by Little Willie John.
  • "Stray Cat Strut" by The Stray Cats.
  • "Tommy the Cat" by Primus.
  • "Honky Cat" by Elton John.
  • "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin.
  • "Black Cat" by Janet Jackson.
  • "We Are Siamese, If You Please" by Peggy Lee from Lady and The Tramp.

Kiss Catman make up kit

Peter Criss is a real cool cat musician. He was the original drummer from the rock band KISS and his character and make up was the cat or Catman.

Peter has written and recorded many songs. His official website has a news section called Tales from Catland.

My drums are not quite as fancy as anything owned by Peter Criss, but Frankie likes them just the same. I'm not sure, but Frankie might be a better drummer than all of us...

Frankie cat playing drums

Famous Cats

Cat Lovers Only

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