"I came back from vacation and she had somehow... changed. She had gone into heat while I was away... Four thousand male cats are in my front yard reenacting West Side Story. To-NIIIIGHT, to-NIIIIIGHT, won't be just any night..."
Alleycats invariably spend their evenings singing opera while standing on top of a wooden fence. Usually they perform solos, although coordinated choruses and sodden barbershop renditions of "How Dry I Am" are not unknown. A female cat (complete with ribbon
) may or may not be seen nearby, the coy recipient of the serenade.
The cat is likely to be treated as a Dreadful Musician
, since feline yowling corresponds to really bad human singing. Of course, for Rule of Funny
points, the concert is just as likely to be sophisticated Opera
. Performances usually end with a thrown shoe or piece of trash
and a bellowed "shaddup" from somewhere off screen.
For what it's worth, midnight yowling from Real Life
alley cats generally means they're fighting
, not "entertaining".
Compare That Poor Cat
. The Trope Namer
is the Tom and Jerry
cartoon The Cat Concerto
— in which however the cat isn't singing but playing classical piano.
- The temporarily-talking cat from Moving Pictures was possibly referencing this trope when he commented that whenever he's been in love, people throw old boots at him.
- In the novel Twig, Old Girl, a cat who hangs around Twig's apartment, gives these kinds of concerts every night. When the Queen of Fairyland visits, Twig employs Old Girl to put on a special concert for her. The queen sits through the concert, far too polite to disparage it.
- Invoked in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom and Huck routinely signal each other with cat cries. At one point Huck complains that "Last time, you kep' me a-meowing around till old Hays went to throwing rocks at me and says 'Dern that cat!'"
- The Warrior Cats book Thunder Rising contains a bonus story at the back that shows how one character came to the forest. It begins with Ripple and all the other cats of the park yowling together to greet the morning.
- Gioacchino Rossini's Duetto buffo di due gattinote is made of this trope.
- "The Pussy Cat Song," sung by Patty Andrews and Bob Crosby.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Cats" is essentially made of this trope, complete with a giant boot which is dropped onto the stage in the middle of a song. The cats pause, look resentfully at it, then keep singing.
- Dozens of Looney Tunes shorts, e.g. "Back Alley Oproar"
- Garfield and Friends had Garfield doing comedy routines on a wooden fence, and occasionally being upstaged by Odie. This is also a Running Gag in the print version.
- Disney's The Aristocats is an obvious example. It has 10 full minutes involving a full house, accompanied by wild music and drug-induced background color. It's possible that they do it again at the very end.
- Superman turning into "Super-Cool Cat"...
- Also in Tom and Jerry.
- In Bolt, alley cats are seen to do this in order to eat the food thrown at them.
- Played for horror in The Cat Piano, where all the singing cats are taken away from the city by a deranged human who uses them as part of his hellish "cat piano". Arranged according to the natural sound of their voices, with the touch of a note, a sharpened nail impaled each cat's tail, causing them to shriek out in pain.
- The idea of a cat piano is Older Than They Think and attributed to various famous sadists from human history.
- Occurs in the "I Was a Teenage Gary" episode of SpongeBob SquarePants when Spongebob and Squidward are turned into snails and perform with Gary on a fence, complete with Patrick throwing a boot in annoyance.
- In one episode of South Park, a mouse with a penis growing out of its back interrupts a chase scene to do a solo on top of a fence.
- In one of the earliest examples, the Felix the Cat cartoon "Forty Winks" begins with Felix conducting four of his buddies in a loud performance. Of course, a guy in a house throws things at them.
- In Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf, the Hunch Bunch do this, in full cat-costumes, to keep Shaggy from being well-rested for the big race. They are promptly pelted with boots thrown by Frankenstein. "Doggon kitty-cats!"
- While Doug is watching Stinky, Stinky sings on a fence with other riff-raff cats from the neighborhood, while holding up a carton of milk.
- Unspayed female cats in heat will "sing" very loudly to attract the attention of male cats. This can be very obnoxious for their owners. One of the many reasons to spay and neuter your pets!