International Cat Day 2022: some musical cats in pop culture

Cat lovers and haters can agree that the animals seem to have human intelligence about them. Unlike dogs and other pets, they seem aloof and seem to have their own inner world, perhaps where they chase shadows or balls of yarn. Videos of cats doing human-like things, like petting other animals or playing the piano, always go viral.

While cats with an ear for music in real life are amazing, artists have imagined cats as musical creatures in creations that suit the intelligence of our favorite furry friends.

The Aristocats (1970)

This Disney animated film follows the lives of four cats, Duchess, Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse, in France. Their owner is a retired opera singer and the epitome of a cat lover who leaves her fortune to her cats in her will. Cats are also cultured musicians, playing the piano and training their voices every day. The cats even cross paths with a jazz band, the Scat Cats, on their adventures, who perform the delicious song Everyone wants to be a cat.

De Pianoles (1897)

Des Pianoles or 'The Piano Lesson' is a painting by Henriette Ronner-Knip

Des Pianoles or ‘The Piano Lesson’ is a painting by Henriette Ronner-Knip
(Wikimedia Commons)

Henriëtte Ronner-Knip was a Dutch-Belgian artist who began by painting dogs. One day a cat came into her house, and she became intrigued by cats and they became her new favorite subjects to paint. During her career, she painted cats gazing at atlases and globes, cats making music with guitars, and cats mesmerized by jewelry. This table titled Pianos Where The piano lesson shows the furry creatures discovering music through the piano.

Cats, the musical

This musical which debuted in 1981 tells the story of anthropomorphized cats like Macavity the mystery cat and Grizabella the glamorous cat. This musical with songs composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber is based on TS Eliot’s 1939 poetry collection, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The musical has a whimsical plot where all the different cats get together once a year to choose which cat deserves to be reborn. The various songs in the musical are the cats explaining why they are most worthy of being chosen. The musical was also adapted into a film in 2019.