On my way home today, I remembered the song Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from The Aristocats, and as I started to whistle it, it struck a chord with me. You see I work in an office with a cat. While I am sending out hundreds of emails, the cat is sleeping. While I am getting yelled at by my boss, the cat warily opens its eyes to stare at us, then goes back to sleep. When I leave my desk, I come back to find the cat with its whole head submerged in my glass of water — if it decided to stop sleeping that is. While I don’t get angry, I do sometimes get jealous. Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from The Aristocats perfectly summarized why I feel this way. Cats don’t work hard. They lounge around, being cool with humans at their beck and call. If they want some excitement in their day they just have to try to catch a laser pointer or taunt the neighbor’s dog. A lot of cats are living a life of complete indulgence and luxury. The Aristocats are smart enough to recognize this, so they know that everyone else is jealous and that everybody wants to be cat.
Asides from the envy I feel towards felines in the work place, I also like Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from the Aristocats because it is one of the best Disney songs I know of. It has some of the cutest cartoon singing and dancing I have ever seen — check out the kitten brothers falling into the basket and the sister kitten singing the “rikki-tikki-tikki” part if you don’t believe me. I love how it starts off smooth and jazzy, but then ends up as a crazy and raucous song with psychedelic lighting. Another thing I think is awesome are all of the incredible instrumental bits. For example, the pounding drum solo at 2:25, or the kitten who absolutely shreds the piano at 4:47. Speaking of the piano solo, you can completely tell that this song predates Disney getting politically correct by the ostensibly Chinese cat that sings “Shanghai Hong Kong Egg Fu Young/ Fortune cookie always wrong.” That bit definitely would no be OK in a G-rated movie today.
The part where Duchess starts playing the harp always annoyed me a bit when I watched Everybody Wants to be a Cat from The Aristocats as a child, and to be honest it still does now. My siblings and I were all in agreement that the alley cats were the cool ones — not those ritzy house cats. Who is she to come into their cool and hip pad with her lavish harp, trying to serenade them while they are singing a swinging song? However, the alley cats seem to become enamored by it though, so I probably shouldn’t judge. Anyway, the swinger cats regain control for the end of the song, and they certainly go out with a very big bang.
Growing up, my little sister and I would often get told off by my mother as the song was coming to an end. We both found it almost impossible to watch the entire ensemble of philharmonic felines pile drive through abandoned tenement without jumping and stomping around in the living room. Even after they arrive at the bottom of the floor, they keep going, taking their self-congratulatory cause to the streets. And why wouldn’t they? Like I said earlier, being a cat seems like an amazing life. You just lounge around getting petted, you have retractable claws and can sleep whenever you want. I’m sure life is a little rougher for the alley cats, but they just take advantage of these hardships by channeling them into their music. Even if I hadn’t already been jealous of cats, I would after watching Everybody Wants to be a Cat from the Aristocats.