The Cat Came Back
"The Cat Came Back" was written by Harry S. Miller in 1893. Nowadays, people sing a version like the one just below. The original version by Harry S. Miller is lower down on the page.
The Cat Came Back
Old Mr. Johnson had troubles of his own
He had a yellow cat which wouldn't leave his home;
He tried and he tried to give the cat away,
He gave it to a man goin' far, far away.
But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, they thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; he just couldn't stay away.
He gave it to a man going up in a balloon,
Told him to give it to the man in the moon;
Balloon cam down about ninety miles away,
But where the man is today I cannot say.
He gave it to a man going way out West,
Told him to give it to the one he loved best,
The train hit a curve, then it jumped the rail,
Not a soul's alive to tell that gruesome tail.
The man around the corner swore he'd shoot that cat on sight,
He loaded up his shotgun with nails and dynamite;
He waited and he waited for the cat to come around,
Ninety seven pieces of the man is all they found.
He gave it to a little boy with a dollar note,
Told him for to take it up the river in a boat;
Tied a rope around its neck, must have weighed a pound
Now they drag the river for a little boy that's drowned.
The cat was a possessor of a family of its own,
With seven little kittens till there came a cyclone;
Blew the houses all apart and tossed the cat around,
The air was full of kittens, but not a one was ever found.
Here's the original version (the chorus is meant to be sung in between each verse):
1. Dar was ole Mister Johnson, he had troubles ob his own;
He had an ole yaller cat that wouldn't leave its home.
He tried eb'ry thing he knew to keep de cat away;
Eben sent it to de preacher, an' he tole it for to stay.
But de cat came back, couldn't stay no longer,
Yes de cat came back de very next day;
De cat came back - thought she were a goner,
But de cat came back for it wouldn't stay away.
2. De cat did hab some company one night out in de yard.
Some one frowed a bootjack, an' dey frowed it mighty hard,
Caught de cat behind de ear, she thought it rather slight,
When along dar comes a brickbat an' it knocked it out ob sight.
3. Away acrowss de ocean dey send de cat at last,
Vessel only out a day and making water fast;
People all begin to pray, de boat begin to toss,
When a nodder vessel came along and took de people off.
4. On a telegraph wire sparrows sitting in a bunch;
Cat a feeling hungry, thought she'd like 'em for a lunch,
Climbing softly up de pole, an' when she reached de top
Put her foot upon de 'lectric wire, which tied her in a knot.
5. One time did gib de cat away to a man in a balloon
An' tole him her to gib it to de man in de moon;
But de b'loon it busted, sho, an' eb'rybody sed
It wer seben miles away or more dey picked de man up dead.
6. De cat it were a possessor ob a fam'ly ob its own
Wid seben little kittens till dar comes a cyclone,
Blowed de houses all apart and tossed de cat around;
While de air was full ob kittens not a one was eber found.
7. De cat it were a terror and dey said it wer de best
To gib it to a n*g*#@ who was going out West.
De train going 'round de curve struck a broken rail,
Not a blessed soul aboard de train wer left to tell de tale.
8. A man down on de corner swore to kill de cat at sight,
Loaded up a musket full ob nails and dynamite,
Waited in de garden for de cat to come around;
Half a dozen little pieces ob de man was all dey found.
9. Little boy took de cat away, he got a dollar note,
Took it down de ribber in a little open boat,
Tied a brick around its neck an' stone about a pound;
Now dey're grappling in de ribber for a little boy that's drowned.
10. While de cat lay a-sleeping an' a-resting one day,
'Round came an organ grinder an' he began to play;
De cat look'd around awhile an' kinder raised her head
When he played Ta-rah-dahboom-da-rah, an' de cat dropped dead.
But its ghost came back to tell you all about it;
Yes its ghost came back, between you and I.
Its ghost came back, may be you will doubt it,
But its ghost came back just to bid 'em all goodbye.