Whether you whistle, sing, or hum as you go about your busy day, retired kids of a certain age have tunes and jingles pop into memory for a spin around the brain before moving on.  But it’s the tune that sticks around for days that raises curiosity.  Why this song?  Other than the chorus or few remembered words, what are those forgotten lyrics?  Thank goodness for Internet!

Those who love learning remember Going My Way, the highest grossing movie of 1944 starring Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley.  His “Swinging on a Star” earned the Academy’s Best Music award for songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen and lyricist Johnny Burke.

The lyrics encourage listeners to aspire in life:  be better off through schooling, without which we grow up to be a weak-brained mule, a rudely lazy pig, or an illiterate fish.  The lyrics further warn us that all the monkeys aren’t in the zoo (as everyday we meet a few), so go to school!

I still remember from childhood about the unschooled lives of those four animals and didn’t want to be one.  But what about life as a CAT?  Things look pretty good for indoor pet kitties from where I’m sitting.  It’s the outdoor cat who needs our warning.  Kittens deliver their first litters around six months – two months after their first heat.

To that end, let’s have some fun and mix up the lyrics.  Ready to whistle, sing, or hum along?

Would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar?
And be better off than you are?
Or would you rather be a CAT?

A cat is an animal that lands on its feet.
A move with a powerful complete!
It purrs like an engine tuned to 25 Hertz,
A stretch follows napping on a lap or your shirts!
But if you want a life of chasing rats?
You may grow up to be a CAT!

And it’s not just eartips running free;
You’ll meet full-ears, that’s guaranteed!
Like pursuit of life, liberty –
Don’t show yourself to be a dunce.
Spay/neuter kittens at three months!

This article by Head Cat Susan Kumpf appeared in the August 2020 issue of Vicinitus Haywood.