November 01, 2007

Do You Sing to Your Cats?

She Appreciates Every Single Song, Really

This is one of those rushed days when Crabby wishes she had stockpiled some more handy guest posts. The Crab and Lobster are in the middle of buying a new house and getting ready to sell their old one, and, well, this process can disrupt one's blogging routine! There are decisions and negotiations and surprises. And lots of and phone calls and faxes and estimates and to-do lists and arrangements and chores, chores, chores. Crabby hates chores.

(As it happens, Mary over at Sheesh is also doing the house-hunting thing and blogging about it very amusingly, if amusingly is indeed a word. Poor Mary doesn't even realize that she's going through the FUN part right now).

So in lieu of researching some Important Health thing or other, or thinking up something sensible to say about Motivation or Personal Development or Nutrition or whatever, Crabby thought she'd just rip off a topic from a way wittier, clever-er blog so we could have something to discuss here at Cranky Fitness. (It's not even a particularly health-related subject, unless you want to go for the whole Mental Health/Stress Reduction angle. Crabby's really just stealing the idea because the post made her laugh).

Anyway, so Kristy at She Just Walks Around With It has a great post about the major joys/minor annoyances of pet ownership, and she ends up discussing the weird effect pets can have on their owners.

In particular, Kristy notes that pets can inspire us to: "create and SING SONGS to them. For them. About them. Bad songs. Ridiculous songs. Songs that make no sense and that the cats (or other pets) pretend they couldn't care LESS about, but which you sing with fervor because you know -- KNOW -- that they secretly love it. Love. It."

Just an informational aside: Cats don't, as a rule, speak English or any other human language.

Yet it's interesting to discover that composing and singing special lyrics to your cats is something a lot of people do! Along with making up multiple nonsensical nicknames for them.

The Crab and Lobster are guilty on all counts. Lots of Silly Nicknames and Stupid songs. How did a cat named Mailie (pronounced My-Lee) become "Mailie Moo" and then simply "The Moo?" Who knows. After a while, it doesn't even sound weird anymore.

"Have you seen the Moo?" the Crab might ask the Lobster.

"She was in the Moo Hole last time I looked," the Lobster might respond. (The Moo Hole is a pile of pillows and blankets specially constructed each morning on the bed so that the Moo might have her favorite warm place to burrow).

And then the Crab might launch into a Mailie Moo Song, and the Lobster might join her. Even though the cat is upstairs barely within earshot... because the Crab and Lobster know that the Moo will hear it faintly and feel special.

So of course Crabby was relieved to discover that she and the Lobster are not the only cat-serenading Nutballs out there in the world. Kristy is a Nutball too!

Are any of you? And if you have a pet or not, what do you folks think about singing to your pets?


  1. I can't say I sing to my doggy but I definitly talk to him (when no one else is around) and he has TONS of nick names. It's funny but thinking about it we usually only call his "real" name when he's in trouble!! LOL

  2. Yes, I sign to my kitty. And talk to him in that annoying baby voice - "How is the Boo today? Did the Boo have another tough day being a CAT? Is it SOOOO tough being a CAT?"
    *hangs head in shame*

  3. Emily, that's too funny. If we were ever to admonish Mailie (cats don't generally stand for reprimands the way dogs do) we would probably address her as "Miss Mailie," but since it's also an endearment I don't think she'd take us too seriously.

    Missicat, perhaps the Boo should meet the Moo someday so they can grumble about their nicknames. (And we do that asinine baby talk thing too!).

  4. When I had pets I spoke to them in a normal voice. I asked questions and listened to their responses. We've had quite the conversation. I speak to my friends' pets that way as well as any that I meet while out walking.
    I do not sing to animals,or anyone, as I am morally against torture.

  5. I am a queen nutball...
    we made up odd songs for our cats more often than I'd care to admit.
    One of our cat Geek most often gets a roaring rendition (from me)of Figaro as Geekamo...and it goes down hill from there with our other cat Chudley. Add the ballroom dancing with cats to the equation and husband thinks I'm nuts. Altho to be fair, I've heard him carry on full conversations with Chuds.

  6. re the househunting. When we were looking for this house, I would go out with the realtor and look at houses, find ones that my DH may like and then he'd go and see them. I kind of liked looking at them alone first. Worked for us.

    Re the cats.

    I had a cat when I got married. I small tabby named Clara. She was a doll. She loved to sleep on DH's pillow. Problem was, DH was very allergic to her. After three weeks of wedded bliss (?), I had to decide who was going to stay. Clara or DH.
    Decisions, decisions. Luckily, DH was easily rehomed and we all lived happily every after. Oops, did I say DH? Must have been a slip. {grin}
    Clara was easily rehomed since she was such a sweetheart. Now, all three of my kids suffer from varying degrees of cat allergies, as does my husband. :-(

    So, it's greyhounds for us. The cats of the canine world.

  7. Crabby, this post made me laugh out loud-it's nice to know I'm not the only one! My husband often jokes that our 2 cats don't even know their real names. And if I don't sing a nonsensical song to them first thing in the morning, my family thinks something is wrong with me...

  8. I don't sing to my cats, but I talk to them all the time. When one of them comes into the room, I greet them and I usually get a meow back. My cats are really quite talkative. :)

  9. I'm with Leah here. I want my cats to love me, so I won't sing to them. It would be.. catastrophic!

    Also similar, is the conversations Zephyr and I have. We have chattered back and forth up to a few minutes at times.

  10. I don't sing to the two adorable cats I have now because they are not the brightest crayons in the box. (Sharpest?) They look at me as if I'm nuts. (And I'm a professional soprano.) They DO like for me to put on nice soothing classical music. They gather round the living room and curl up in balls and groove on it.

    I had a cat once though, name of Tristan, who loved singing so much he would jump on the piano stool when I was practicing and sometimes in a frenzy of ecstacy throw himself on the keyboard purring. When I had students he would sit on the bench and then jump up onto the piano and stare adoringly at them.

    My daughter has the same sing-song little song that I can't remember the original name of that she uses for all cats. It's her Cat Song. She just substitutes appropriate lyrics.

    1. our half Siamese is the same. Gets very excited by high soprano singing and often gives love bites and sings back.

  11. Oh!! Speaking of cat conversations, have you all seen this?

  12. Back before blogs, I took out a free classified ad in the weekly paper asking what songs people made up for their cats. In the voicemail replies, I got several adorable samples, both riffs on existing songs and wholly original works. (And of course the moron who figured this must be dirty somehow and said in a puzzled but breathy way, "Yeah, I want to, um, sing to your kitty..."

  13. When I was boarding at a friends while going to college, I would be the last one to leave the house. Their cat (siamese) would come downstairs and meow at me as I was getting ready to leave, so I would, like any sane person, meow back, then I would start singing "Hush, Hush Sweet Xerses". He would howl if I stopped for more than a breath!
    My current cat gets regular conversation and some singing. Once when I meowed back at him at a friends, her cat came looking for the third cat - I guess I am pretty good at being, er, well, yes in fact, but also a good howler.

  14. I don't sing to my cats, but I talk to them. I call one of them madam. But I really only talk to answer them. Because they meow/chatter ALL THE TIME.

    I love the name migration thing. My roommate's cat was named Phineus, but as he was, you know, kinda large, and my cat was thinner, he was usually just "Fatty." (Obvious cat name, I know.) I'm in the process of naming a new kitten, and calling her all sorts of random things until I settle.

  15. No singing to the animals, but they do have nicknames. The cat's proper name is Virtue but he is rarely ever called that - we call him Kitten instead, despite the fact that he is most definitely now a cat. And the dog is often called Poopin or The Poop (not as a reference to excrement, I just mispronounced 'puppy' as a small child).

    I have found myself very inclined to make up and sing silly songs to the Wee One though. Maybe it's because I know he'll appreciate it more, heh. Though he probably won't appreciate the silly nicknames when he's older.

  16. I sing to the rabbit more often than I sing to the cat. Tidbit's favorite is the Bunny Butt song, sung to the tune of Baby Face.

    She loves it. Really.

    *slinks away in shame*

  17. The Bag Lady has more nicknames for her pets than she can count, but rarely sings to them. The Princess (dog) will only allow singing if it is not accompanied by dancing -- no dancing allowed in her house (and no running for the phone!) The Princess will try to talk - she vocalizes and responds to questions. The cats also respond to conversation.

    The Bag Lady's dearly departed golden retriever loved to be sung to. One of the funniest things in our world was a drunken Cowboy perched on the steps down into the living room, crooning (off-key) along with Marty Robbins to the golden, who propped his chin on the cowboy's knee and listened raptly. The golden would also dance with anyone.

  18. No pets here. But I do say the occasional hello to my plants.


  19. Hooray, more Silly Pet Serenaders out there! And lots of others of you who are equally nutty re: conversing with and nicknaming your animals.

    Melissa, dang it, I just went to the Youtube link-very charming! The problem is, then I ended up spending another 10 minutes watching a bunch of related videos of cats singing and talking etc. (Some are quite adorable).

    And grrlpup--I'm betting "kitty" wasn't the word he used either as another feline synonym comes to mind...

    And I'm totally sure the rabbit loves the bunnybutt song and the golden retriever loves the cowboy songs and all our animals (and Wee Ones) appreciate all the attention they get. (Or else they think we're all bonkers, and they wouldn't be entirely wrong about that)!

    Note: and any of you who want to submit a linkable video of yourselves serenading your animals will of course get guaranteed placement in a Random Friday post, should you ever care to humiliate er... publicize yourselves or your blogs!

  20. "No one knows what it's like to be the BAD CAT! To be the BAD CAT! Behind blue eyes!"
    OK I fessed up - anyone else?
    And Cranky - does your cat have the longest front arm in the world? Look at that thing!

  21. missicat, I love the bad cat song! Now you have it going through my head.

    And actually, Mailie's appendages are not freakishly long, she just likes to pose with a front leg down like that for some odd reason. Perhaps she's hinting she'd like a nice pair of evening gloves or something.

  22. Crabby - I think it looks like that because my cat has short stubby legs and that is what I am used to seeing. He usually lays with one little stump "stretched" out in front of him.
    Poor thing has to jump in steps - from the chair, to the computer table, then to the dresser.

  23. My family's treatment of our cat is very...straightforward.

    "Hello, Cat," my brother says when she wanders by.

    I'm predictably a bit more childish. "KITTY!" any time I see her.

    Her real name is Toonces (i.e., "the driving cat"). I'm pretty sure she's been called that five times in her 14 years on this earth.

  24. My parents cats do have names but I don't remember them since we just call them big kitty (for the older one with a bigger head) and little kitty (for the younger one with smaller head who unfortunately for the nicknames actually grew larger than big kitty creating all sorts of confusion for those who don't know them). But we never sang to/about them. They are sorta grumpy cats.
    My dog luckily has a song already made up about her and a proposal from a poor man. "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do..."

  25. You guys really are totally making me laugh. I think the Daisy Daisy song would totally work well for our cat too. (At least better than the 'Hey Hey it's the Monkees!' theme song, which is one of the ones on the current rotation).

    And Jim--you are the same Jim, right, just not dressed in hyperlink-blue today? Got your new blog yet? We're eagerly awaiting its debut! Or if you're a brand new jim, sorry for the confusion.

  26. Ever see that Star Trek episode with the Mirror Universe and all the evil versions of characters sporting goatees?

    I'm Mirror Jim. Or rather, I'm the same Jim, but I'm growing a goatee. Evilness may follow.

    No blog yet (aside from my profanity and TMI-filled livejournal, anyway), but I'm working on something, probably a bit more literary than Chew on That. I'll keep you posted. :)

  27. I used to sing to one of my cats when I first got her 2.5 years ago. She was 4 then and had been living in what was essentially a cat lady's house with non-profit status. She had been adopted once but wouldn't eat, so they sent her home. A few years later, I got her.

    Zara did not leave the carrier for a week. I read to her, sang to her and even reached inside and petted her (thankfully, no scratches). The song's chorus is "Zara is a beautiful kitty, Zara is a beautiful girl" sang twice. The rest of the song is about her travels to my life, and those change all of the time.

    Now all I need to do is wiggle my fingers or snap them and that cat is right there.

  28. Remember when I said I'd keep you posted?

    This is me doing that. I'm hyperlinked, baby!

  29. My cat's name Toto has somehow morphed into Po and now The Po - when he's not being Buddles or Box Cat (he loves to lie in boxes - preferably ones where he can prove the laws of physics wrong by actually fitting).

    And Toto's song? Sung lustily to the tune of an Australian doggie treats commercial (well he *does* follow me around a lot):

    "I love YOU, yes I DO,
    I love YOU, yes it's TRUUUUEEE...(deep breath)
    I'd go WHACKOS
    without SCHMACKOS
    and YOOOOUUUUUUU..."

    Sometimes I hate living in a condo - usually when I see how my neigbors look at me after a particularly hearty rendition.

  30. All right, you guys have made me giggle too much. I must now confess:

    "She is our Mailie, our Mailie Moo,
    She is our Mailie, Mailie, Moo-oo-oo;
    She makes us happy,
    When we are blue,
    She is our Mailee,
    (Mailie! Mailie!)
    Mailie, Mailee, Moo-ooo!"

    Seriously. We are not only insane, but insipid.

    And I don't know what the song is, but it's incredibly old and familiar and corny and is used to suggest something wacky and possibly circussy is about to happen.

  31. Crabby warned:
    Poor Mary doesn't even realize that she's going through the FUN part right now


    Oh heck, where's the tequila?

  32. Jim, I totally missed your last comment and shall rush right over!

    And Mary--yep, and don't forget the lime and the salt.

    (It'll all be worth it one day, though. I'm pretty sure.)

  33. Well, Karen sometimes calls me "Kitty One" and Sadie "Kitty Two". She also picks us up and sings "Dancing Kitty" roughly to the tune of the ABBA hit "Dancing Queen" (notice I said roughly-- I don't think Karen has a great grasp of the tune or the lyrics).

    Karen sings alot and not very well. When she does I jump into her lap and lick her on the face. She thinks this is endearing. Whatever.

    -- P

  34. Penelope, I was hoping you would amble (gracefully) our way and give us your expert opinions on this!

    I am relieved that Karen's singing is not met by hissing or hairballs. I shall have to try ABBA--I think "Waterloo" might work quite well as "Mailie Moo."

  35. oh. my gosh.
    These comments are HILARIOUS.

    I have concluded from reading them that I am the only person in the entire world who has never owned a cat.

    Although if I did have one, I am positive I would sing to it. I sing to my kids all the time! Not like lullaby sing, more like ridiculous making-up-stuff singing. It does depend on what I'm singing for though: getting them to do chores has a totally different feel than trying to make them laugh or eat their peas.

    And I make up ridiculous nicknames for everything, with the boys help of course. (even breakfast cereals... )So if I had a cat, she (yeah, i'm still stuck in the cats are girls, dogs are boys thing, sorry) would definitely have a nickname. It wouldn't come close to "the moo" though. That is TOO funny! Love it.

  36. My dog's name is Chewbacca. Among his many nicknames is Chew, which replaces "you" in any song, making it very easy to sing songs to him.

    My wife does it far more often than I do, talking to him constantly, which I'm certain is why he likes her more. I barely talk to anyone, let alone Mr. Chew.

  37. Katieo, you have get-them-to-do-chores songs? That's too cute. (But don't tell the lobster or I'll start hearing some at my house too!)

    Jeff, that's hilarious. "Chew, light up my life" comes immediately to mind for some reason but you're right, the possibilities are limitless!

  38. Ok, he wasn't a cat, but we did have a song for Oscar, the greyhound:

    Sung to the tune of the Spiderman theme:

    Oscar man, Oscar man
    Does what ever our Oscar can
    Sleeps all day, sleeps all night,
    then he get up to grab a bit,
    look out, it's our Oscar man...

  39. Oh my gosh, my fiance and I talk to the cats all the time and I must say they are quite in depth conversations occassionally. We also have strange codes and words we use about the animals that we don't even remember starting to use, but they just make sense now!

  40. I thought Poodles were the cat dog, they are at least half cat anyway. They especially like to be on the backs of couches, somewhere up at people level. I didn't know that about Greyhounds being cat-like as well. It's like having the best of both worlds. ;)

    All of my Poodles had their own songs, especially for when they when are being showered! Everyone sings to Bogart, our mini Pood, who is 9 months old. My DH sings classic 60's- 70's songs and changes the words as he goes, most of which are hilarious. I mostly just sing him the PuppaluppaLOO song, which is very repetitive and rhythmic. My Mom even sings to him, a version of the "Angel Baby" song as "Bogie Baby" when she sees him. Singing seems especially appropriate as his registered name is "Jazzman Rockin' My Blues Away".

    Bogart, (Faux Latin name: Bogus Aurelius Curlius Negris), Bogie, Bogus, Boogie and Bug (from Love Bug). Grandma calls hin BlowFart but it doesn't fit as he's not gaseous. And we've only had him 5 months, a few years down the road who knows how much his name will morph. And I was so determined NOT to let that happen with this one.

    Is it any wonder our pets ignore us when we call them half the time? If I really want him to come I use his real name with the command, or his recall whistle,; he always obeys both, he knows the rest are mainly our silly primate vocalizations. Using his real name is the equivalent of a parent calling a child with the child's full name, first middle and last when serious about them coming here RIGHT NOW! Which is important to keep them safe.

  41. When I worked at a boarding kennel, we all sang to the dogs. (Not the cats that I remember; the cat room was where the Customers Could Hear Us.) Several of the regular boarders had their own special songs.

    The Daisy I sing to now is a Poodle.
    "Daisy, Daisy, give me your front paw, do.
    I'm half crazy, all 'cause I'm grooming you.
    I can't afford a fracture,
    I'm trying to distract yer,
    But you'll look sweet
    When we repeat
    Every stroke till the comb goes through."

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  42. Wow, some classy tunes! The "daisy, Daisy" does seem just made for singing to an animal (although spider man and all the others are great too). Thanks for everyone's "primate vocalizations," though yours are all quite clever and don't make me feel any better about our babbling. We're too lazy to make up real lyrics.

  43. Mary Anne, your Daisy song is priceless! I always groomed my own Poods, so I can really relate to the paw thing. We have to sing to ours when the toenails get ground.

    The "Moo" being in "The Moo Hole" just struck me as hysterically funny by the way, best laugh I've had in weeks! You are such great pet parents to let your Moo have her own safest place on your bed.

    I just remembered that my Mom used to have four Siamese cats at one time, which were collectively called "The Poos", with "Big Poo" being the lordly male and oldest Poo. Other cats she had later that were not Siamese were NOT "Poos", however, just ordinary cats. So I'd guess that your Moo must be a cat "above", as well! ;D

  44. I am especially guilty of the crazy nickname thing. My oldest cat, who's practically attached at the hip to me, always knows when I'm talking to him or about him, no matter what name I use. His current nickname of choice is Lumpy or Lumpy McLumpster because he needs to be groomed pretty badly. His name is Albert but he's often my Albry Cat. Or bertie Boser or something. And my other cat was named after someone I don't really care for anymore so I almost always refer to him as "Squeak" and people think that's weird.

    My Albert actually quite likes it when i sing normal songs. When i once wanted to teach myself to play the old broken down piano in our house, Albert would sit on the bench near me. He really likes music and he likes language. he really does stop to watch TV a whole lot. he loves the Spanish channel or the Latin Mass on EWTN or even the English Mass. My Albert is, after all, Catholic. :) And Squeak is Jewish... I so just joined a new category of weird,,,, But my dad is pushing 70 and doesn't have much of a life so he makes up stories about my cats all the time...

  45. I think that the smarter the cat the better they like being sang to. They seem to like silly rhyming, nonsensical words, type of songs. I have one cat we call Snickey that I made up a song about to the tune of Achey Breaky Heart that she just loves.
    I'm not going to repeat it here. I feel dumb singing it but kitty loves it.
    I confess to be guilty of spoiling our cats. Especially the cute, smart, and friendly ones.

  46. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm nuts for this exact reason. I sing to my pets, often, and loudly, and in a mix of EnglishGermanSpanishFrench. Usually it's to the tune of other songs .... currently I keep singing "Fatty bella" to the tune of the Indian Jones theme song.

    They love it.

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. You mean there are people out there who DON'T sing to their cats? Why, that's just wrong! :)

    My husband and I adopted our cat about 3 years ago, and she came with the name Priscilla. It never really fit, but we didn't change it on purpose. When we first brought her home, she was scared of everything, and she's still pretty jumpy. We started calling her the chicken cat. It just morphed into "The Bucca" - according to my husband who created it, it's because that's the sound a chicken cat would make, bucca-meow (like the Cadbury commercials.)


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