“Senor Don Gato Was a Cat” Lyrics

In my last blog entry, I posted the original Spanish lyrics to Senor Don Gato with an English translation. Here’s a different version of Senor Don Gato that’s popular in English…

Senor Don Gato

O Senor Don Gato was a cat.
On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
He was there to read a letter,
Meow, meow, meow!
Where the reading light was better,
Meow, meow, meow!
‘Twas a love-note for Don Gato!

“I adore you,” wrote the lady cat,
Who was fluffy white, and nice and fat.
There was not a sweeter kitty,
Meow, meow, meow!
In the country or the city
Meow, meow, meow!
And she said she’d wed Don Gato!

O Senor Don Gato jumped with glee!
He fell off the roof and broke his knee,
Broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
Meow, meow, meow!
And his little solar plexus
Meow, meow, meow!
“Ay Caramba! ” cried Don Gato.

All the doctors they came on the run,
Just to see if something could be done.
And they held a consultation,
Meow, meow, meow!
About how to save their patient,
Meow, meow, meow!
How to save Senor Don Gato.

But in spite of everything they tried,
Poor Senor Don Gato up and died.
No, it wasn’t very merry,
Meow, meow, meow!
Going to the cemetery,
Meow, meow, meow!
For the ending of Don Gato.

But as the funeral passed the market square,
Such a smell of fish was in the air,
Though the burial was slated,
Meow, meow, meow!
He became reanimated,
Meow, meow, meow!
He came back to life, Don Gato!

Come visit the Mama Lisa’s World USA page for more Children’s Songs in English.

This article was posted on Sunday, June 11th, 2006 at 2:25 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, El señor don Gato, El señor don Gato, English, Folk Songs, Languages, Senor Don Gato, Spain, Spanish, Spanish Folk Songs, Spanish Kids Songs, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

71 Responses to ““Senor Don Gato Was a Cat” Lyrics”

  1. Mary Says:

    I’m in 5th grade this year. It’s quite new to me. Though, I do rember singing the wonderful song about how the poor cat passed away and his new life came as he smelled the awful fish passing threw the market place. So, as you can see I loved singing this nonsnse song; Moreover, I’d love to sing it once more!

  2. Lili Macklin Says:

    I am thrilled to discover the lyrics to this delightful and memorable song, first learned when I was a third grader in the 1960s! I remembered just enough of the song to enchant my own children now, and steadfastly determined to find the lyrics. And here they are, on this terrific Web site! Thank you.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for writing! If you’d ever like to sing it with your kids for Mama Lisa’s World, I’d be very happy to post a recording!


  4. Mary Lynn Says:

    I remember learning this song as a fourth grader in 1969. It is absolutely one of my favorites but I couldn’t remember any words past the 1st line of the second verse. I so wanted to sing this for my son and now for my nieces and nephews. Now I can! You have made my day, week, year! Thank you, thank you, thank you! :o)

  5. Tracy Says:

    Hey saw this song and it took me back 25 years to 1st grade. I’d totally forgotten it but when i saw the title i knew right away it was my favorite childhood song!

  6. Peggy Says:

    I have been looking for the lyrics to this song FOREVER (why I never checked the internet, I have no idea!!) I learned this song in glee club in the 70’s and want to teach it to my children – It’s a silly fun song!

    Now, where can I find the words to Tingolayo??

    Does anyone remember the book Riki Tiki Tembo? Am looking for those words too!

    Thank YOU so much!!!

  7. Lisa Says:

    Here are links to what you’re looking for…

    Lyrics to Tingalayo


    Riki Tiki Tembo’s full name, which kids recite as a rhyme, is…

    Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo

    It means, “The most wonderful thing in the whole wide world”.

    Riki Tiki Tembo is an old Chinese folk tale.

    Here’s a Link for buying the Riki Tiki Tembo book on Amazon.

  8. Lisa Says:

    I missed out on hearing Senor don Gato as a kid – maybe because I was in grade school in the 70’s – and it seems to have been popular in the 60’s. I’d love to hear it though. So if anyone would like to sing it (perhaps with their kids?) for Mama Lisa’s World, that would be groovy! People have been asking me about this song for a long time.


  9. Chris Says:

    I also recalled singing this song in elementary school in the early to mid 70’s in New York. It was in one of or music class song books and was a favorite of all! I was so pleased to find the lyrics on your web site. I recall the melody and can now sign it with my own kids.

  10. julie Says:

    I learned this song in gradeschool in Chicago in the 70’s. I could never remember the words to the last two verses but my kids loved for me to sing the song nonetheless. Thank you so much for providing me with the long lost words of my childhood!!!!

  11. Kate Says:

    We sang this song in my elementary school in the early 90s! I got it stuck in my head yesterday and didn’t even know I knew what it was.

  12. Theresa Says:

    Oh my gosh! I love this song! I learned it when I was in the 3rd grade in ’93. It was in our music book. We sang it almost every week. It pops into my head from time to time, but I can never remember past the first verse. I’m so excited that I was able to find the lyrics. I had no idea how old this song was or how many people were out there missing the words to their favorite children’s tune just like me.

  13. Sarah Pezoa Says:

    I’d be happy to sing the Don Gato song for you if you haven’t already got someone who has done it for you!
    Sarah Pezoa

  14. Lisa Says:

    That’d be great! Could you send me an mp3 of a recording, and then I could post it?


  15. Lisa H. Says:

    Thank you so much for posting the words to this song! I’ve been driving myself nuts trying to remember the words now that I have kids of my own. I learned the song “Senor Don Gato” while I was in third grade 1977-78, I went to a Catholic school in MN and it was in our music book. We all loved singing this song in music class because the music teacher would have us play with the pitch going from fast and happy to slow and sad and then a loud and happy finish. Now I can finally teach this song to my daughter who just started Kindergarten this year. Thank you again!

  16. Barbara Z Says:

    I am another child of the 60s who remembers singing this song in music class in 2nd grade (about 1969). How delightful to come upon these lyrics!!

  17. Chris Says:

    I remember this from first grade in Houston, would have been about 1978 I guess. Great to remember. My sister and I sing it from time to time when we see each other, but have never remembered past the 2nd verse until now!

  18. Lisa Says:

    If you’d like to sing it, I’d be happy to post a recording!

  19. Cindy Says:

    I sang this song in 1960’s music classes in Tulsa, OK. However, I only remembered the first 3 verses which I am known to sing in the shower and for my kids on occasion. Imagine my joy when just the other day, my third grader came home from school singing this same song which he is learning in music class in Northern VA! Thank you for supplying the final verses for both of us!

  20. Cindy Says:

    One more thing….does anyone remember a song called “Michey Banjo”?

  21. Lisa Says:

    Is this what you’re looking for? This is the French version of a Patois song from Louisiana called Michié Bainjo:

    Miché Bainjo

    Voyez ce mulet la, Miché Bainjo,
    Comme il est insolent!
    Chapeau sur la côté, Miché Bainjo,
    La canne al la main, Miché Bainjo,
    Bottes qui fait crin, crin, Miché Bainjo
    Voyez ce mulet la, Miché Bainjo,
    Comme il est insolent!

    Look at that jerk there, Mr. Banjo,
    Isn’t he flippant!
    Hat cocked on the side, Mister Banjo,
    Cane in his hand, Mister Banjo,
    Boots that go “squeak, squeak”, Mister Banjo,
    Look at that jerk there, Mr. Banjo,
    Isn’t he flippant!

    You can hear a midi tune of this song at…


  22. Robin Says:

    I was just singing the 1st 3 lines of this song the other day and my husband looked at me like I was from Mars – he had never heard it so it lead me on the search for the lyrics to prove to him I wasn’t a loon. So thanks for the lyrics and I would LOVE if you posted a recording so I can hear it again (without my bad singing).


  23. Terese Says:

    Thank you for the Senor Don Gato lyrics! I was born in 1960 and learned this song in public school in Minnesota, sometime between 1966 and 1972. My entire family loved to hear me sing it (I was the youngest child of four!) Now, I am a music teacher in San Juan Capistrano, California, at a small Catholic School, and I cannot wait to introduce this song to my kids! Does anyone know the name or publisher of the music book that published the sheet music? Or is there a publisher out there that can direct me to it? Thanks so much!
    Terese Henriks

  24. unknown Says:

    I learned it in 06 and 07

  25. Kim in Tennessee Says:

    Thank you so much for posting the words! I loved this song when I was in gradeschool in the 1970’s. Parts of it were stuck in my head and I just couldn’t stand it anymore! I was so thrilled to find your site. Thank you for helping to “firm up” a memory for me!

  26. Robin Says:

    I learned this song in Catholic school in Iowa in 3rd grade in the early ’70’s, and I have been dying to find the lyrics, as I could only remember bits and pieces. Thanks!

  27. Susan Napolillo Caudill Says:

    Thank goodness for your website! I am so excited that I have finally found the lyrics to the last verse of this song. It was a favorite of mine in grade school. I went to a Catholic school in Maryland. And now I’m 46 and started singing it to my friends’ children, but was frustrated because I didn’t remember the ending. So thankfully I can sing and play the whole thing on the piano. Thank you, thank you thank you!!!

  28. Lisa Says:

    Of course if you’d like to record yourself singing it and playing it, we’d love to hear this song!



  29. Rob Says:

    I was also a fan of this song in music class in the 60’s! I am now the Coordinator of the Nature Exchange at the Tulsa Zoo and I work with kids quite a lot. We are hosting a Spring Break Camp this week and I volunteered to play guitar and sing animal songs every day at lunch with 23 kids. Guess what song I planned on singing today? Of course it’s Senor Don Gato! I have been for the last 20 years a professional actor/singer and I would LOVE to send you an mp3 or video of me doing this classic song. I had actually thought about doing it and posting it on Youtube but I could share it with your site too. Let me know if you would rather just link to it there or if you would like to host the file yurself as well.

  30. Lisa Says:

    I’d be happy to host the file or embed it on my site. I look forward to seeing it!


  31. Lisa Says:

    First…thank you for such a cute site….I have thought about this song for quite some time now…it would have been 1972 when I learned it….loved it….never knew all the words so I never taught it to my own kids…now I will teach it to my granddaughter who calls me “mama Lisa”….too cute!
    Lisa :o)

  32. Sherrie Says:

    Thanks so much for the lyrics to this song. I remember this song from the 70’s when I was in grade school. I remember singing it in class behind one of my classmates. She would get really bothered by my singing and the meow, meow, meows. I loved the song. She and I have been best friends for over 30 years and it’s all because of Don Gato.

  33. Lee Says:

    I seem to remember it with slight variations… mainly that he ‘jumped so happily’… but it is great to know that these tunes are remembered!

    And on a tangent,
    Does anyone remember another one from 3rd-5th grade that I believe was known as ‘Hungarian Folk Song’… It was in 7/8 time, minor, and the refrain was something like:
    ‘Let there be gladness- no time for sadness… On this their wedding day let all hearts be light and gay’
    Nearly all the rest of the words are gone to me, but I can still remember the melody and the accompaniment (sp?) for it…
    Been trying to find it for YEARS and even stopped at my grade school in hopes of finding an old music book… the music teacher looked at me as if I were from Mars or something…

  34. David Says:

    I remember learning this song in 1984 and singing it in 4th/5th grades. It was my favorite (and whole lot of other kids at the time!) Thanks for posting it, because I just remembered it the other day and wanted to find the lyrics again.

  35. Len Says:

    I just got a kitten in June and remember my sister and I singing this song in the late 70’s early 80’s. I just love this song and now sing it to my Gato. I am not so sure he likes it. I know he thinks I am weird but he is such a great Gato! I wish I could find the tune that I sang as a child on the english version. So far nothing I’ve found sound like the tune I sung. Thanks for your website.

    Len & ShowLow (the Gato)

  36. Heimtime Says:

    I loved to sing the song in the 3rd-8th? grade.

  37. Heimtime Says:

    I’m amazed at how many people are familiar with this song. My superficial internet searches have uncovered little or nothing about the origins/author of this enjoyable piece. I’d love to know more about this song!!

  38. Sunday Says:

    I LOVE THIS SONG!!! I have been searching for this song, or someone who knows it for years! I learned this song in 3rd grade (early 90’s). Most of my friends think I’m crazy when I try to tell them about the song, but now I finally can show them! You have made my month! Thank you for your wonderful site!!!

  39. Courtney Says:

    Yea!!! I am sooo excited to find the lyrics to this song! I learned it in the early 80’s in Georgia and remembered all but the second to the last verse! Thank you so much for posting it! My nephew adores this song!

  40. Mae Says:

    Whooo, I thought I was the only one who’s got Senor Don Gato in my head. I learned this song and many others like Shoo Fly don’t bother me and When the Cock crows Coo, Coo, Coo when I was 7 yrs old back in the Philippines in 1975. Anyone knows what album this complilation of songs came from? Cause I really want to get a hold of one or maybe two. : )

  41. pattie Says:

    Wow I sang this song in I believe 2nd grade in 1972 in Lincoln Elementary in Pompton Lakes! Does anyone else remember this song from Pompton Lakes?

  42. Annie Roberts Says:

    Like so many people before me I learned this song in elementary school (late 60’s) and have thought of the joy it brought me many times since, unfortunately I could only remember the words “Don Gato” and “solar plexus”. Needless to say, that’s the only thing I typed into Google and this wonderful website came up! YEA!!!! Does anyone out there know the tune? That’s the only part that’s missing for me now. It’s so wonderful seeing so many people love this song as much as I do. Thank you!

  43. Sierra Says:

    I learned this song when i was in either 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade (2003-2005) If you would like the tune you can follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COGomoYT5h8&feature=related

  44. Monique Says:

    What I find funny is that the English version of Don Gato is sung to the tune to another Spanish song “Ahora que vamos despacio” (Vamos a contar mentiras) that you’ll find here Ahora que vamos despacio

  45. Gato fan Says:

    -late 1970s for me, in CT

    -also, like an earlier post, our class would play around with the tempo. But especially fun and eagerly anticipated by us students was when we would sing “the smell of fissssssshhh, was in the air.” We would giggle at the extra flourish we would add!

  46. nowIknow Says:

    Ah! I was 5 in 1969, and this song used to make me insane. I would scream and cry and beg everyone to stop singing it. It was because I thought it was about a cat that fell off a roof and died a horrible death. Now I see from the lyrics that it has a happy ending. But I would never let anyone get that far when I was a kid! I needn’t have feared the song all those years ago!

  47. Diane Gigliotta Says:

    Can’t believe I have found the words to this adorable song! Our music class in 5th grade (1976) performed this song in a program.
    It has stuck with me forever. Thank you

  48. Geoff Says:

    I learned this song in 2nd grade (1969) in Sydney Australia and could only remember the first 2 lines which I have sung (to myself) over the years so thanks for the lyrics. I am looking for the music book that had this song and others including “Mr Banjo”, “Mango Walk” and “The Marvellous Toy” if anyone knows the title.

    Thanks again.

  49. Amanda Says:

    I learned the song with some different lyrics. Odd, lol.

    Once there was a cat named Don Gato.
    He wore a special sombrero.
    One fine day he got a love note
    Meow Meow Meow
    From a Persian with a white coat
    Meow Meow Meow
    It said she loved Don Gato.

    They met one fateful rainy day.
    On a street somewhere in Monterey.
    It was love at first sight
    Meow Meow Meow
    Until they had their first fight
    Mew mew mew
    Now she says “I miss you”

    The rest of the lyrics went something along the lines of he was supposed to get married, but took a siesta, woke up just before the wedding and decided to remain a bachelor.

  50. patty Says:

    i have thought about this song for years too..i learned it music way back in like 3rd grade,i didnt even think anyone would have remembered it,thank you

  51. Silverstar of SunClan Says:

    I just learned it a few days ago at school and I really liked it! Do you know where you can get thew piano sheets for it?

  52. Traci Duckworth Says:

    Hello! Would you know of a song called “Fender Bender”? It was in my 7th or 8th grade music book. It was used in Evansville, IN in the late 1970’s or very early in 1980.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  53. Skip Brown Says:

    I am looking for the music education series that contained “Don Gato” from the 1970’s. There was another traditional song about an old witch that put a curse on someone until they knew her name. After they said the name the imbittered woman went through the woods or the marsh, trying to find out who told her name (I suppose to curse them as well). It was in the same series of books that taught the basics of music (along with a record) with story songs or children’s songs from throughout the world. Don Gato Rules! :)

  54. sonya Says:

    I am 50 yrs young. WOW I was sit’n on my bed one night and all of a sudden this song came to me. My husband ask what are you singing.
    I said “it is a child hood song from my elementary days.” He hit the floor laughing. He Said, ” and you remember all the words.” ai strated laughing and said “yes”

    It is amazing that this was one of my fav songs in school.. i just wanted to share this

  55. John Horton Says:

    I am from England. At |Infant school we sang a different version which was broadcast on the radio to schools. But I cant find it anywhere. It was done by the BBC British Broadcasting corporation, and it an easier version.

    Some of the words were:- Once a noble cat Dongarto, from his noble sweet a note , merry merry meow meow meow, overcome with joy he tumbled

    Im 50 now and wish i could find it on the internet

  56. Roisin Says:

    I’d love the words too.
    These are some I (think) I remember

    Once the noble cat Don Gato
    To his sweetheart sent a note
    Merry merry meow meow meow
    Marry me oh mistress pussy

    On the rooftop high he waited
    from his noble sweet a note
    merry merry meow meow meow
    overcome with joy he tumbled

    then the smell of …fishes
    reached don Gato’s … nose
    merry merry meow meow meow
    Up he jumped his ills forgotten

    ….. mistress pussy
    Isn’t she a lovely bride
    Merry merry meow meow meow
    Seven lovely kits were bridesmaid

  57. Becky Says:

    I remember this song from elementary school (late ’70s, early ’80s). I love this song and when the class could pick songs I would ALWAYS pick this one. My classmates would hate it when I got picked because they knew which one it would be. Thanks for the trip down “amnesia lane.” (thank you Dead Poets Sociey for this phrase!)

  58. Cecily Says:

    I sang Don Gato in the 3rd grade in Florida in 1972! Loved it then and sing it to my children now.

    I am looking for another song from the same songbook but I can only remember the line:

    Girls and Boys like bread and butter, la la la la..
    Girls and Boys like bread and butter, la la la la..

    Does anyone know this song? And/or the song book?


  59. Brenda Winget Says:

    Awesome! My boss and I were reminiscing about singing this song as kids- we both sang it at our grade schools! I remembered the first two verses, and we remembered that senor el gato died, then we were stumped. How fun to have all the words again!

  60. Laurel Frank Says:

    I learned this song when I was just a kid in the 60’s. Tried to remember all the verses a few years back but couldn’t, but I never forgot the name of the song. Would love to have someone singing this on here as my grandkids don’t like my singing & I know my granddaughter would love this.

  61. Maggie Says:

    Like so many of the people who wrote comments here, I was thrilled to find these lyrics because I only recalled part of them, (about Don Gato’s injuries) and it took me right back to 1969, when I was about 9 years old and in public elementary school in San Mateo, CA, at Beresford Park School. Mr. Tchakalian was our music teacher and he taught us silly fun songs like this as well as exposing us to serious classical music and opera. He even inspired me to dress up as “Carmen” for Halloween one year, complete with black lace mantilla! I can vividly remember walking across the school grounds with some of my classmates, giggling as we sang “Don Gato”. What a great memory, thanks so much for filling in the blank spots for me!

  62. Brenda Stinson Thomas Says:

    This was one of my favorite songs that I learned from an elementary music book in the mid 60’s, probably 2nd or 3rd grade. I always remembered it, and a few years ago I actually named my black cat Senor Don Gato. We sing this song to him, but he doesn’t seem to care. ;) Perhaps if I started putting out his favorite salmon flavored cat food as I sing it, he would come to appreciate it more.

  63. Lisa Says:

    Ha ha ha!

  64. Randy G. Says:

    I remember Senor Don Gato Was a Cat!” Good memories! – This is for Traci Duckworth’s question about the song “Fender Bender.” That was also one of my favorites in music class! I’m thinking it was around 1977, but I believe the song to be from at least the early 70’s. The only words I remember are: “Fender Bender, yeah yeah yeah (2 times). Play, play, play, yeah yeah yeah. Play that rhythm, yeah yeah yeah.” – I really wish I could find this little song that is still stuck in my head, all these years later.

  65. Stephenie Surgeon Says:

    I remember singing this in grade school. This is the only song I remember from grade school. I still love this song even now. I did not go to the same school as my husband of 19 years. But he also remembers this song. It is so fun having this memory with him. This song brings back so many good memory’s for me. I love how he was brought back to life in the end. I sometimes just think of this song and it always brings a smile to my face.

  66. Patricia Says:

    Haha – the two songs I remember from elementary school are “Senor Don Gato” and “Fender Bender” I think our music book had a guitar on the front of it, for Fender Bender. The words I recall to Fender Bender went something like this:

    Fender Bender, yeah, yeah, yeah!
    Play, play, play,yeah, yeah, yeah!
    Play that rhythm, yeah, yeah, yeah!
    All the way, yeah, yeah, yeah!

    Bend that beat around.
    Syncopate the sound.
    All the way, yeah, yeah, yeah!
    Yeah, yeah, yeah!

  67. Eden Says:

    I have been trying to find the lyrics to this song all day, but I learned an entirely different version:

    Once there was a cat named El Gato
    Who wore a special sombrero
    One fine day he got a love note mew mew mew
    From a Persian with a white coat mew mew mew
    And she saaaaid she loooved him dearly

    And that is all I remember!! Can’t find this version of lyrics anywhere.

    This was taught in my elementary school 25 years or so ago. Fun times!

  68. Kitty kat Says:

    Eden- whatever song you think you heard as a version- it isn’t. Wipe it out of your memory.
    ‘‘‘Tis an insult to Don Gato”

  69. ACS Says:

    I learned this song at Junior School in the UK … in the 60s. We sang a rather different version!

    Don Gato
    There was once a cat of sooty black
    He was called Senor Don Gato
    On the rooftops he was basking
    Mira Mieow
    On the rooftops he was basking
    Mira Mieow
    When a letter came to ask him

    Do you wish to take to be your wife
    My little niece a cat of shining white
    She is young and very pretty
    Mira Mieow
    She is young and very pretty
    Mira Mieow
    Quite the loveliest in the city

    Overcome with joy, Don Gato
    From the rooftops fell and broke his tail
    Seven ribs and all his toes
    Mira Mieow
    Seven ribs and all his toes
    Mira Mieow
    And his whiskers and his nose

    All the doctors came to see him
    Shook their heads and thought he must be dead
    To the churchyard then they bore him
    Mira Mieow
    To the churchyard then they bore him
    Mira Mieow
    And they rang the churchbells for him

    But the funeral passed the market place
    Where sardines were lying in the sun
    Then the smell came gently wafting
    Mira Mieow
    Then the smell came gently wafting
    Mira Mieow
    And Don Gato left his coffin!

  70. Annette Finch Says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I used to sing this song with friends we lost contact with 40+ years ago and I could only remember the first verse and a few other lines… I’ve been wondering about this song since and I’m so glad
    I found it!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for keeping our childhood alive.

  71. Beth Cartwright Says:

    I remember every word of this song! I often sing it to my own gatos. I learned it as a 4th grader in 1985.

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