Meowzic To Their Ears

If you're like me, when the holiday gift giving season approaches, I start worrying about what to get for that very special someone in my life. You know, the one who's always there with a kind caress when I'm down, the one who's always glad that I'm around -- Winston, my cat.Oh sure, I used to be embarrassed about wanting -- no, needing -- to lavish brightly-wrapped gifts on him when he really would be just as happy with a couple of extra catnip treats. But no more.Consider me one of the 79 percent of pet owner's who give their pets holiday or birthday gifts. According to a 1995 survey by the American Animal Hospital Association 62 percent go as far as signing cards from themselves and their pets, and 57 percent would want their pet as their only companion if stranded on a desert island!Companies have not let the pampered pet trend go unnoticed, and they have come up with unimaginable products to lure pet owners in; from kitty toothbrushes to computer mouse pads embossed with a photo of your prefered pet. And all these pet-oriented products are translating in to millions in sales each year. Not ones to ignore a trend (or the profits that go with it) record companies have jumped on the pet marketing bandwagon. After surveying my local record store, I realized that there are a multitude of pet-themed CDs to soothe the savage beasts, or at least keep obsessive pet owners happy. Being a kitty affectionado, and wanting a CD that both my cat and I could enjoy, I purchased all the cat-themed CDs in the store and came up with the Top Cat Oriented Recordings Of All Time.VARIOUS: MEOWZIC (R3 MUSIC)Our number one desert island choice is Meowzic. Meowzic is a collection of songs about, and they claim, inspired by, cats. Produced by a small San Francisco-based independent label, R3 Music, Meowzic features new renditions of songs like "The Alley Cat Song," "Siamese Cat Song" and "What's New Pussycat". There's also a few lost gems like "Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow," the original Polka version of the song made famous by the Meow Mix commercial!Some of the better known artists include Timbuk 3 from Austin, TX ("Facts About Cats"), San Francisco's Voice Farm ("Tom Cat"), the legendary Ian Whitcomb ("Chester the Cat") and two entries by veteran Folk singer, Oscar Brand ("We Love Cats", "The Great Big Little Cat Show").The 16 tracks on this CD create one continuous flow of non-stop feline fun. The only questionable track is a human-cat-dog-singing version of Ravel's "Bolero" entitled "Meowlero" (there had to be at least one I guess) but it's the last track so you can always skip it.Meowzic has limited distribution at this point, so your best bet is to call their toll-free hotline at (888) PET-SONG. VARIOUS: MEOWY CHRISTMAS (JINGLE CATS MUSIC)The grand daddy of all cat albums, Meowy Christmas has already surpassed the 500,000 mark in world wide sales. Released by Mike Spalla in 1993, Meowy Christmas features actual cat meows recorded by Mr. Spalla and then sampled and turned into "voices" that "sing." Despite the huge sales, Meowy Christmas is constantly making it onto "most annoying record" lists.Spalla also has released a dog-singing recording called Jingle Dogs and a second cat record entitled Here comes Santa Claws, a must for any cat collector due to the unbelievably cute graphics.All these recording and a really cool line of poster, t-shirts, stickers and even pogs can be ordered from Jingle Cats Music: 1-800-962-7228OSCAR BRAND: I LOVE CATS (ALCAZAR PRODUCTIONS)I Love Cats is folk singer Oscar Brand's ode to his feline friends. Mr. Brand wrote and recorded 12 songs dedicated to cats. Some are fun and fanciful like the "The Great Big Little Cat Show" which unbelievably rhymes Angora with "Can't ignore a-." Others are slightly silly, especially when Mr. Brands attempts a rap song ("Cat Rap").A contemporary of Pete Seegar and Peter, Paul and Mary, Mr. Brand is a master of the folk song even when bound to the constraints of this subject matter. Some of the songs are about the love of cats while others reflect life from the cats' point of view. The cover features a great painting of Oscar Brand with his three cats.Available at your local record store or through Alcazar Productions, P.O. Box 429 Waterbury, Vermont 05676VARIOUS: CLASSICAL CATS (ZANACORN ENT.)Classical Cats is the companion CD for The Cat Who Went To Paris starring the world-renowned Norton. Winston and I aren't familiar with Norton although he does writes the "fe-liner notes" to a collection of popular, classical music performed by well-known symphonies. The best thing about Classical Cats is the free "Cosmic" catnip gift that comes with the CD version.I'm sure Norton is a great cat and the painting on the cover is cute, but if it's music you're after, this collection of songs was a little schmaltzy for our taste.For more information call 1-800-60-KITTY.

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