- Elton John, "Honky Cat"
- The Presidents of the United States of America, "Kitty"
- The Pogues, "Wild Cats of Kilkenny"
- The Vaselines, "Monsterpussy"
- The Coasters, "Three Cool Cats"
- Muddy Waters, "Crosseyed Cat"
- Squeeze, "Cool for Cats"
- Joe Jackson, "We The Cats (Shall Hep Ya)"
- The Rolling Stones, "Stray Cat Blues"
- Johnny Cash, "Mean Eyed Cat"
- The Kinks, "Phenomenal Cat"
- Trout Fishing in America, "The Cat Came Back"
- David Bowie, "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)"
- Janet Jackson, "Black Cat"
- Pantera, "Cat Scratch Fever"
- Grateful Dead, "China Cat Sunflower"
- The Cure, "The Love Cats"
- Little Willie John, "Leave My Kitten Alone"
- PJ Harvey, "Cat on the Walk"
- Stray Cats, "Stray Cat Strut"
- Scatman Crothers and Phil Harris, "Ev'rybody Wants to be a Cat"
- R.E.M., "Star Me Kitten"
- Primus, "Tommy the Cat"
Not all of these songs are technically about cats, one might argue, but all of them pay tribute to the coolness of the feline, whether it's Elton John's hillbilly vagabond, Mick Jagger's back-clawing stray or something that Jerry Garcia ate. There's an especially big presence from '40s and '50s-style swingers, of course, where all that anybody ever wants to be is a cat, and the oft-reworked "The Cat Came Back" reveals that cat songs even predate the swingers. I picked Trout Fishing in America's version for being sweetly traditional and modern, and also because they got their band name from Richard Brautigan.
Many of these songs have been passed down for decades. Ry Cooder and the Beatles both have great versions of "Three Cool Cats," but I ended up going with the original, the Coasters' beloved b-side to "Charlie Brown." Johnny Cash first recorded "Mean Eyed Cat" in the 1950s, but didn't perfect it until he met Rick Rubin 40 years later. Pantera's smoldering run through "Cat Scratch Fever" makes me forget who wrote it. "Star Me Kitten" was once recorded with William S. Burroughs, but even the most fanatical Naked Lunch scholar can tell you that Michael Stipe was the better singer.
Finally, a few of you might remember that I made an all-dogs mix a few months back. Only three artists made it to both mixes--Johnny Cash, David Bowie and the guy who does the voice of "Tommy the Cat."