Caturday felid: The cat came back

June 19, 2010 • 8:16 am

If any cat song is a meme, this is.  I defy you to listen to it and not have it return to haunt you.  First up is a bluesy rendition by children’s singer Laurie Berkner:

The song was written by Harry S. Miller in 1893, and has mercifully been purged of its original racist overtones.  Wikipedia has a big entry on it, including the following:

The song is often used to teach children the concepts of rhythm and tempo. It is an excellent example in this regard, because of the strong and consistent beat pattern, combined with amusing and humorous lyrics. Additionally, especially the minor key versions of the song, have a compelling effect with regards to perception of tempo.

Like many children’s songs, the song has a very strong well-defined beat pattern. It consists of one weak beat, one strong beat, so it is often sung in 2/4 time.

Thus it can be (and often is) sung while walking, with, for example, strong beats when the left foot hits the ground and weak beats when the right foot hits the ground.

If the song goes viral in your brain, let us know.

The Cat Came Back is also the subject of a short, award-winning Canadian animation (nominated for an Oscar, too):

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Another nice version sung by Rowlf from Sesame Street.  Check out that bedraggled puss!

13 thoughts on “Caturday felid: The cat came back

  1. Rowlf did make a cameo or two on Sesame Street, but he was a regular on the Muppet Show, and I believe that’s where the clip is from.

  2. Holy crap. I haven’t seen that Canadian animation video since I was a kid (don’t ask why it was shown on TV in Alabama…no idea). I’d forgotten about that one. Always loved it! Except now it will be stuck with me for the next week or so. If I burst into song at Evolution, we may have a problem.

  3. That Canadian cartoon was pure win!

    And yes, “thank you” Jerry – the song has most definitely wormed into my ear. This is compounded by the fact that my brain is doing a mash-up of it with The Straycats’ “Alleycat Strut.” They share the same minor-key chord progression.

  4. Interesting. I had never heard this song before. It is clear that The Stray Cats used this song as the inspiration for their hit song “Stray Cat Strut”. The music is very similar. When the music started on the first video I thought it was “Stray Cat Strut”.

    1. Ok, OK, I got the title of the song wrong, but I did identify the musical similarity first (sticking tongue out). ::P

      1. So you did, so you did. I was lazy and did not read through the comments before commenting myself. Pretty pathetic when there is only 7 comments.

        1. Actually, it’s pretty pathetic of me to point it out – I really was being tongue in cheek, Darrell. 😛 I’m glad I’m not the only one who immediately heard that, though!

          1. I heard it too. I love that song, but it always bugged me because it has these lyrics:

            [BLOCKQUOTE]Black and orange stray cat sittin’ on a fence
            Ain’t got enough dough to pay the rent
            I’m flat broke but I don’t care
            I strut right by with my tail in the air
            Stray cat strut I’m a ladies cat
            I’m a feline casanova hey man that’s that
            [/BLOCKQUOTE]

            Black and orange cats are always female because these colors are each carried on X chromosomes and you need two get both colors (the calico are female too.) (The only case where you get black and orange males is when the cat has Klinefelter’s Syndrome (XXY) in which case they most certainly not be a “feline Casanova”).

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