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Cat Concerto

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"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..."
Amy Boyd
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Alleycats invariably spend their evenings singing opera while standing on top of a wooden fence or a roof-top. Usually they perform solos, although coordinated choruses and sodden barbershop renditions of "How Dry I Am" are not unknown. A female cat (complete with a ribbon or bow) 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 is considered Cute, but Cacophonic, and corresponds to really bad human singing. Of course, for Rule of Funny points, the concert is just as likely to be sophisticated Opera or Jazz. 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 or mating, not "entertaining".

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Compare That Poor Cat. The Trope Namer is the Tom and Jerry cartoon The Cat Concerto— which isn't an example, since the cat in it isn't singing but playing classical piano. Completely unrelated to Tail Concerto, which is a videogame.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • During the 1970s, Meow Mix commercials featured a singing cat.

    Comic Books 
  • Played with in Superman (vol. 1) #182 when The Man of Steel turns into "Super-Cool Cat". He has apparently sprouted a striped tail and is seen walking along a fence while holding a guitar and singing, being pelted with tin cans for his trouble.
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    Comic Strips 
  • One Footrot Flats strip depicts Horse singing loudly on a fence... until Wal Footrot silences him with a gumboot.
  • Garfield often performs atop fences, though he prefers standup comedy — perhaps because any musical interlude gets him the Vaudeville Hook.
  • The title character in Heathcliff is sometimes shown singing or yowling on a fence, either alone or with other felines.
  • Krazy Kat: Lampshaded in the narration of one strip, wherein the full moon irresistibly compels Krazy to sing, and he's pelted with a rolling-pin, a shoe, a clock, an iron and finally...a boot.

    Film - Animated 
  • Disney's The Aristocats is an obvious example. It features a ten minute musical segment involving a full house of singing felines, accompanied by wild music and drug-induced background color. They do so again at the very end.
    "Everybody wants to be a cat..."
  • In Garfield Gets Real, Shecky, Waldo, and Bonita perform a Cat Concerto of sorts through stand-up comedy and song and dance, much to the annoyance of nearby apartment residents, who throw the cats food in an attempt to shut them up.
  • In Peter No-Tail (1981), the titular cat develops a crush on Maya/Molly Creamnose, who loves singing. Måns, realizing Maya's owners hate cat howling, tells Peter that Maya loves singing, expecting Maya's owners to spray Peter with a hose later when he goes to sing to Maya. Luckily for Peter, Maya almost immediately warns him, but also invites him inside, so Måns ends up soaked instead.
  • 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. "Doggone kitty-cats!"

    Literature 
  • 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 temporarily-talking cat from Discworld novel Moving Pictures is likely referencing this trope when he comments that whenever he's been in love, people throw old boots at him.
  • Pufftail from Stray considers his cat yowling to be beautiful singing. He's spent many nights courting numerous females with his voice. In contrast, he considers human singing obnoxious noise.
  • Tailchaser from Tailchaser's Song is a part of the Meeting Wall Clan. They rendezvous at the Meeting Wall on Meeting Night and listen to Bristlejaw, an elderly Master Old-Singer, tell the oral traditions of cats. It's a time where cats socialize and learn about their history. A Master Old-Singer is an important role in cat society as they help pass on traditions to future generations.
  • Tomcat Blue Eyes' Diaries:
    • The cats from Blue Eyes' neighbourhood regularly meet for concerts on one big roof and Blue Eyes must learn lots of etiquette rules before White Whiskers takes him there. Green Eyes, Blue Eyes's friend, leads them because she is the only she-cat around; White Whiskers notes that usually it is the other way round: a tom-cat leads female cats. Green Eyes is very strict on tom-cats who sing out of tune. Blue Eyes' first concert is ended by some uncultured human who threw a broom among them.
    • One night, Green Eyes and Tore-his-ear sing a beautiful duet. Sometime later, Green Eyes has kittens...
    • Once Blue Eyes sang alone in the wood when he felt alone and abandoned, when in fact his human had gone searching for him.
    • Blue Eyes celebrates his glorious victory over a mean, evil tom-cat called Yellow by singing a quiet song when he saves little Kiki from him. Kiki carefully listens to his performance.
  • In the novel Twig, Old Girl, a cat who hangs around Twig's apartment, gives backyard fence "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.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • "The Pussycat Song," sung by Patty Andrews and Bob Crosby has lyrics that describe a man dreaming (or maybe not) about two amorous cats singing to each other.
  • Gioacchino Rossini's Duetto buffo di due gattinote  is made of this trope. Many a version has the singers acting catty to each other.
  • "Stray Cat Strut" by the Stray Cats describes the adventures of a black and orange feral feline, which include "Howling to the moonlight on a hot summer night/Singin' the blues while the lady cats cry."

    Theatre 
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Kill Dr. Lucky has a Failure card wherein the doctor's cat starts yowling, which is more upsetting than what the doctor did to warrant being murdered.

    Web Comics 
  • Housepets!:
    • Fiddler and Keys are a feline musical duo seen in a few strips. Both sing, and the characters respectively play violin and piano.
    • Maxwell is shown walking along a backyard fence here, singing "Someone's Rocking My Dream Boat." His rendition is cut short by a thrown boot to the face.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The 1933 short Sittin' on a Backyard Fence (based on the song from Footlight Parade) revolves around a bunch of cats singing and playing in an alley,
    • The 1941 short Notes to You involves Porky Pig being pestered by an operatic cat. At the end, Porky shoots the cat dead, only for nine ghostly cats to start singing in harmony.
    • The above short was remade in 1948 as "Back Alley Oproar", with Elmer Fudd and Sylvester. A rare example of a Looney Tunes cartoon in which Sylvester wins.
    • In the 1965 short A Taste of Catnip, Daffy Duck, who is having delusions that he's a cat, tries singing on a fence before inevitably getting hit with a boot.
  • The 1929 Mickey Mouse short The Karnival Kid has Mickey serenading Minnie by playing guitar while two cats sing "Sweet Adeline". They even bring in a fence to complete the effect.
  • Ready Jet Go!: In "Sunspot's Night Out", Sunspot participates in a neighborhood animal choir with some alley cats and Mitchell's dog Cody. They howl "Ode to Joy".
  • 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.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: The episode "I Was a Teenage Gary" ends with Gary, plus a transformed SpongeBob and Squidward, meowing "Blow the Man Down" on a fence. Patrick throws a boot in annoyance, knocking Squidward off.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • In "Solid Serenade", Tom played a big bass fiddle while singing "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?" to serenade a female cat. Unfortunately, the music ends up disturbing Jerry's sleep and causing his house to quake and fall apart, driving Jerry to shut him up and leading to the usual chase.
    • In "Heavenly Puss", one of the recently deceased cats boarding the Heavenly Express was struck with a flatiron while doing this, leaving him with a large lump under his tophat.

    Real Life 
  • Intact 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 cited for spaying and neutering cats. Not every intact female cat is loud in heat though.
    • They make a window-rattling yowl when feeling neglected, spayed or not.
    • Likewise applies when they're hunting anything unfortunate enough to wander into the house.

Mreeeeooow/Mreeeeoooow/Marooooow/Mreee—CHUKONG!


 
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Ode to Joy

The gang discovers that Sunspot and Cody were performing in a pet choir with the stray cats, howling "Ode to Joy".

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