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