Anyone who’s adopted a cat has inevitably made up a goofy ditty about their beloved kitty at some point — and it seems that musicians and pop stars are just as willing to let feline muses inspire their songs. Here’s a spotlight on seven tracks written about cats that are prime for your next playlist.
Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats)
Rockabilly trio the Stray Cats scored big with 1981’s Stray Cat Strut, a song that explores the daily trials, tribulations and psychology of a feral black and ginger alley cat. The hero of the song — who is cast as a “feline Casanova” — struts around looking for brawls with other kitties, howling at the moon and snagging dinner from garbage cans. “I got cat class and I got cat style,” the protagonist ultimately purrs, signing off with pure feline sass.
Tron Cat (Thundercat)
Before winning a Grammy for his work with rapper Kendrick Lamar, Los Angeles-based funk singer and bass player Thundercat broke through with this equal parts tender and tongue-in-cheek tribute to his rescue cat Tron. Over gently jittering production, Thundercat trills, “Don’t you ever leave me Turbo Tron / Don’t ever wonder where I’m going.” Elsewhere in Thundercat’s cat-centric discography, the mellifluous Dragonball Durag finds him lauding the virtues of turning up for a date proudly covered in cat hair.
Nestled on theatrical pop-rockers Queen’s 1991 Innuendo album, Delilah is an ode to lead singer and confirmed cat fancier Freddie Mercury’s most treasured feline, the titular Delilah. Delving into the finicky and temperamental aspect of living with cats, Mercury at one point laments, “You make me so very happy when you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me / And then you make me slightly mad when you pee all over my Chippendale suite.” But don’t worry — the song ends with Mercury and Delilah kissing and making up.
Top Cat (Slick Rick) Renowned as hip-hop’s greatest ever storyteller, golden age rapper Slick Rick turned his conceptual chops to feline pursuits on this 1991 release. Fueled by a jaunty backdrop that includes rhythmic sampled meows, the narrative opens with kitty Rick “skipping through an alley in New York, a stray kitten,” before he’s chased by a dog, taken home by an affluent lady and put to work as a mouser.
The Cat In The Window (The Bird In The Sky) (Petula Clark)
Petula Clark came to prominence with her upbeat 1960s smash Downtown, but the English singer’s deep back catalog also includes this more reflective exploration of what cats are thinking when gazing out of a window watching birds glide by. Backed by dreamy flute lines, Clark ponders whether cats are secretly envious that they can’t fly — and even suggests that contemplating a lack of wings is enough to bring a tear to any kitty’s eye.
Old Black Cat (Ian Anderson)
When not holding down duties as the lead singer of prog-rock trailblazers Jethro Tull, you might find Ian Anderson penning songs about cats. Featured on his 2003 Rupi’s Dance solo album, Old Black Cat is a poignant tale that opens with Anderson’s faithful feline passing away, before he goes on to fondly reminisce about a kitty who possessed “a wide-eyed innocence” and was partial to dancing on roofs and sneaking in bites of the Sunday dinner.
Phenomenal Cat (The Kinks)
British rockers The Kinks’ psychedelic rock-spiked 1968 Phenomenal Cat tells the philosophical fable of a portly kitty who loves to spend his days wallowing around and filling his belly. After discovering the secret of life during a trip to Hong Kong, the newly enlightened kitty decides on a new agenda: “He gave up his diet and sat in a tree / And ate himself through eternity.” It’s clearly advice that many cats are still faithfully following to this day.
Have a favorite feline-centric song not on this list? One that’s about an actual cat? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org