Saturday, 29 May 2010

Why cats?

I've been wondering for a while now, just why it is that cats have become associated with music.  There are hepcats (linked with "hipsters" in jazz, especially swing jazz), Keith Richards (for one) talks about musicians as "cats" all the time, the references constantly abound in the lyrics themselves, e.g. The Beatles cover of the Leiber/Stoller song "Three Cool Cats".

Perhaps I am clouded by my liking for cats, but there doesn't seem to be such a depth of reference in relation to other animals in music.  Who Let the Dogs Out, anyone??  Yeuchh.

Possibly the only other rival could be birds.  Again referrring to jazz, Charlie Parker was known as "Bird", and the bird is frequently referred to in lyrics as a shorthand for some sort of personal freedom.  Apart from the aforementioned, though, rarely are musicians referred to as creatures of the winged feathered variety.

Is it because in some way, cats are associated with the unconscious, the rejection of "ordered" living, and a move towards the instinctive?  And do musicians therefore tend to like cats more than dogs?  It seems that way to me.


  1. Perhaps the whole of Animals by Pink Floyd? Pigs, dogs, sheep and more pigs!
    (And every song is bloody lengthy)

  2. your feathered friends appear a lot: off the top of my head; Little Red Rooster; Blackbird; Ride a white Swan; Freebird; The Eagles; The Byrds; The Hawks; Albatross by Fleetwood Mac; Rockin' Robin;
    Edith Piaf was the sparrow...
    As for dogs..Black Dog Led Zep; Hellhound on my tail? Hounds of Love Kate Bush; although not so many granted.

  3. Seems to me that apart for a few notable exceptions cats are clever and dogs are err...stupid. Who would you align yourself with if you held this view?

  4. I would heartily concur, Mr/Mrs Impossible!

  5. So where was my cat when they handed out the clever?