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"Cats in the Catacombs" - A Halloween Cat Song

Updated on September 3, 2013

Spooked to Poofs of Nerves and Fur

Teachers looking for a fun Halloween project can use this cat song to inspire their students to look up interesting vocabulary words.

Inspiration can come anywhere to a musician. One night as I was going to a Halloween party dressed as a cat and with a painted face and poof hair, I went into the spare bedroom to say goodnight to my black cat, Molly. The kitty was sleeping on the top bunk and awoke to her mistress's voice and with a stretch and purr.

But when I got closer, and Molly saw a strange creature approaching, her eyes grew wide and she backed rapidly away with her cat fur on end and her tail all bottle-brushy. Molly bumped into the wall and disappeared down the space between top mattress and wall, dropped onto the lower bunk, then hissed and dashed out of the room. Then it came to me; Molly was "spooked to poofs of nerves and fur."

When I started thinking about words that began with "cat" for my next Halloween Carols song, "catacombs" immediately came to mind. . . and the memory of that night resurfaced when I found pictures of bones stacked in layers (like bunk beds) in the catacombs. Research on the Paris Catacombs came up with more "cat" words that fit nicely into the verses.

The bones in the catacombs reminded me of a cartoon of skeletons being played like a xylophone. Fun phrases like "ratty-tatty" came to mind to go along with the free-spirited, bouncy tune that played through my mind. Of course my cat, Molly, needed to be the featured vocalist.... and voila! - a new song was born. The YouTube video shows pictures from some of the recording sessions to sample Molly's caterwauling. Check out Molly's tail to see if she was happy.

This song could inspire a teacher's fun Halloween vocabulary project: to have students find words that begin with "cat" and write a poem verse or two. Happy hunting!

Researching The Paris Catacombs

An important part of my Halloween Carols is the historical research. I don't want to just write a song about a topic; I base the lyrics on history, traditions, and background as I compose the music. When I saw the catacombs pictures with layers of bones stacked up like bunk beds and empty eye-sockets staring from craniums, I knew that it would be spooky for a cat to wander through the labyrinth, searching for a meal of rats or mice.

Here is some interesting information I learned about the catacombs located below the streets of Paris. Someday I would like to take a tour.

The catacombs are a network of tunnels and rooms created from Roman-era limestone quarries to house bones and skulls. Although commonly known as "the catacombs," the official title is "les carrires de Paris" or "the quarries of Paris."

After centuries of supplying limestone for the buildings in Paris, the underground quarries were converted into a mass tomb near the end of the 18th century. Paris was suffering from disease and contamination from improper burials and mass graves in churchyard graveyards. It was decided in 1786 to remove the bones and place them in the abandoned subterranean quarries. Over time the bones of an estimated 6 million people were shifted into the underground corridors, with the practice finally stopping in about 1860.

The portion of the catacombs open to the public is only a small part of an extensive network of underground tunnels which spans more than 186 miles in length. The Ossuary, or bone storage area of the catacombs, is a labyrinth of vaulted corridors and rooms rather like a huge wine cellar - except that instead of wine, the niches at the side of the corridors are filled with human bones.

Unauthorized entry is illegal but this doesn't stop a large number of enthusiastic "cataphiles" from conducting illicit visits. Today there is a fine if one gets caught by the "cataflics" - the special police who patrol the catacombs.

Paris is not the only city with catacombs; a famous one is found in Rome, Italy, where anciently, Christians hid from authorities, conducted services, buried their loved ones and painted religious artwork on the walls. Catacombs are also found in Egypt, Malta, Spain, Peru, Austria, Ireland, Scotland, England, as well as other locations.

Information and photos of the catacombs from Wikipedia Creative Commons Media

Cats In The Catacombs - A Vocabulary Lesson

The pile of skeleton heads creates a spooky picture to portend a cat's cataplexy when a catafalque is viewed in the catacombs. Did you understand what I said? No?

To learn more about the meaning of the "cat" words used in Kristen Lawrence's song, "Cats In The Catacombs," read on. Then, for more fun, find more "cat" words in your dictionary.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Vocabulary List - Some "Cat" Words Used In "Cats In The Catacombs"

catacombs - catacomb [kat-uh-kohm] noun

1. An underground cemetery consisting of chambers or tunnels with recesses for graves. Often used in the plural.

2. An underground, often labyrinthine passageway.

catafalques - [kat-uh-fawks, -fawlks, -falks] noun

1. a decorated bier on which a coffin rests in state during a funeral

catalyst - catalyst (kat-uh-list) noun.

1. Chemistry. A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.

2. One that precipitates a process or event, especially without being involved in or changed by the consequences: "A free press... has remained... a vital catalyst to an informed and responsible electorate" (Robert O'Neal).

cataplexy - cataplexy [kat-uh-plek-see] noun.

1. A sudden loss of muscle tone and strength, usually caused by an extreme emotional stimulus.

categorize - cat-e-go-rize [kat-uh-go-rise] verb

2. to arrange in categories or classes; classify.

3. to describe by labeling or giving a name to; characterize.

caterwaul - cat-er-waul [kat-er-wal] verb

1. To cry or screech like a cat in heat.

2. To make a shrill, discordant sound.

Cats In The Catacombs - by Kristen Lawrence

Composed, performed, sung, and produced by Kristen Lawrence.

The part of "Cat" with growls and hisses is performed by Molly Macabre, the Halloween Cat.

1 - Cats in the catacombs have scratchy, catchy claws. They tousle a mouse or a ratty-tatty rat, then pause, For something in the darkness creaks, and curious t

Lyrics by Kristen Lawrence (me)

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

2 - Cats hiss like catalysts for mighty frighty nights. They cater with caterwauls down the labyrinthy halls, Then patter, scatter as a knocking echoes down the

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

3 - Cats' eyes can categorize images so dim Like bunk beds of bones holding grins and gory eyes awake. A cataplexy like a hex will seize the bristly beast . . .

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

4 - Cats brush by catafalques which, slipped in crypts beneath, Can portend a mortal end to the lives-of-nine-inclined. Well, pity kitties on their eighth, who

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Amazon Music - Singles - "Cats in the Catacombs" Music

Cats In The Catacombs
Cats In The Catacombs

Format: MP3 single

Vocal -

 

More Halloween Carols - Music by Kristen Lawrence

If Christmas can have it's carols, so can Halloween. Enjoy them all season long.

For the real Halloween Freaks and Haunters, enjoy them all year.

A Broom With a View
A Broom With a View

Format: Audio CD Album -

Thirteen delightful Halloween songs

"Mostly Ghostly" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"A Broom With A View" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"Cats In The Catecombs" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"Vampire Empire" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"Souling Songs" - All Hallows and Samhain Versions

"Sleeping Dust - Death Lullaby" - Vocal

"Dark Glass" - Vocal

 
A Broom With A View - From The Halloween Carols
A Broom With A View - From The Halloween Carols

Format: Digital MP3 Download -

Thirteen delightful Halloween songs"

Mostly Ghostly" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"A Broom With A View" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"Cats In The Catecombs" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"Vampire Empire" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"Souling Songs" - All Hallows and Samhain Versions

"Sleeping Dust - Death Lullaby" - Vocal

"Dark Glass" - Vocal

 
Edgar Allan Poe's the Raven
Edgar Allan Poe's the Raven

Format: Audio CD Album -

A musical setting of Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem, "The Raven," and the American folk tune, "Ghost of John."

"The Raven" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"The Ghost of John - Bare Bones Version" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"The Ghost of John - Dead Composers Version - Instrumental Version

 
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

Format: Digital MP3 Download -

A musical setting of Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem, "The Raven," and the American folk tune, "Ghost of John."

"The Raven" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"The Ghost of John - Bare Bones Version" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"The Ghost of John - Dead Composers Version - Instrumental Version

 
Arachnitect - From the Halloween Carols
Arachnitect - From the Halloween Carols

Format: Digital MP3 Download --

"Arachnitect" - Vocal

"Blood Waltz" - Vocal and Instrumental Versions

"The Ghost of John - Bare Bones Version" - Vocal

"The Ghost of John - Dead Composers Version" - Vocal

 

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Comments and Contributions

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    • HalloweenCarols profile image
      Author

      Kristen Lawrence 4 years ago from Orange County, California, USA

      @Stuwaha: Thank you. ~ Kristen

    • Stuwaha profile image

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      This is too adorable. Love it :)