Simon’s Song

by Michael
(London, UK)



Simon, Able Seacat, as many know, was a very courageous black and white ships cat during the Yangtze incident in 1949.

There are a couple of articles on PoC where I refer to this cat:

In memory of this wonderful cat, Ruth (Monty's mom) has composed, produced and performed Simon's Song. Credit too must go to Ruth's young friend, Emily, who sang along and who also helped with creative input. Monty has been very interested in the song too. Ruth says this about Monty's involvement:

I was recording the piano part he was standing on the computer keyboard in the other room. I heard it because he kept steping on the volume control for the computer, so I had to stop playing and retrieve him, or who knows what he might step on. I picked him up and praised him for helping and he purred like crazy. He seemed to really think he was helping. Then I locked him in the basement and finished my recording!

Simon is the only cat to receive the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the famous Victoria Cross, (the highest award for gallantry for people).

Simon's Song is a first on the internet as far as I am aware. I know of no other song specially written and performed about a single cat for publication on the internet. If you have heard of other cat songs that have been written for distribution on the internet I would love to hear from you.

One comes to mind that was written for a film: Siamese cat song written for the Walt Disney animated feature (cartoon film), "The Lady and the Tramp" and co-authored by Peggy Lee.

Here are the lyrics to Simon's Song (one line may have been left out of the final version but I'll wait for Ruth to confirm that):

Simon, Able Seacat

In a dark and hidden place somewhere in Hong Kong,
back in 1947 a tiny cat was born.

To a Hong Kong dock yard came that little cat;
frightened, starving, sickly; lived his life like that.

Seaman George was just seventeen and he dearly missed his home.
Saw that little scrawny cat, knew that it would be his own.

Hands reached down around the stray cat, quickly picked him up.
Struggling cat heard friendly voice say, "You will bring good luck!"

Stealthily George brought that cat aboard the Amethyst.
The captain found the tiny cat, the frightened kitten hissed!
"I've named him Simon. Sir, you know I meant no disrespect.
And if you let me keep him he will keep the rats in check!"
"Young George, I fear your kitty may not even live a day,
but if you can make him healthy then this cat may surely stay."

Simon, sickly Simon, he grew healthier each day,
as he kept the seaman's promise; keeping ugly rats away.
Able seacat, Simon seacat, loved by all the men,
he was more than just a mouser for he was their furry friend.

Loyal Simon, little Simon, sleeping on the captain's lap.
Even as he calmly slept there, enemies had laid a trap.

Danger waits for Simon seacat, touching brav'ry he will show.
Ship bombarded, fifty times hit, no place for a cat to go.
Amethyst on Yangtze River, fired upon by Chinese guns,
Ship was damaged, men were killed as terrified a small cat runs.
Bravely Simon, hit by shrapnel, sought his friends, he did not hide.
Sought the high decks, friends would help him, had he hid, he would have died.
Simon, wounded Simon, thought he'd never hunt again,
but his crewmates dearly loved him for he was their little friend.
Tirelessly they tried to save him, burns and wounds to mend.
But he was badly hurt; they feared they'd lose him in the end.

Simon soon returned to duty, cheering up the men
who had lost much in the battle, but still had their loyal friend.
Children heard the story of this cat so true and brave,
and they also loved small Simon, but his injuries were grave.

Time ran out for precious Simon, while he sat in quarantine.
Waiting there to enter England, problems from his wounds were seen.
Precious Simon, darling Simon, we'll not see your like again.
Born a lowly, sickly stray cat, died a hero and a friend.

Here is the link to the song. It is in MP3 format. When you click on the link it should be played automatically by Windows Media Player, on a PC, and by Quick Time Player on a Mac:

Simon's Song - opens in a new tab or window.

Bye for now..Please leave some feedback in a comment - thanks

Michael Avatar

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Simon's Song

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Feb 19, 2011
Thank, anonymous!
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

Thanks so much for your compliments! There is another song of mine posted under a different article called Brave Cat. That article was the impetus finally for the Simon song to be written, since it started a discussion about brave animals and then Michael brought Simon's story to my attention.

My other song is about a little dog who was the mascot of the West Allis, WI Police Department in the 1960's-70's. It's called "Herman the Police Dog." You will cry at that song too, because Herman dies (but just of old age). I recently performed both songs at a talent show at my church. A friend commented that the two songs show that it is better to be a dog at the police station than a cat aboard a Navy vessel! Herman had a pretty good life, but he did his part, just like Simon, to keep morale up among men doing difficult and sometimes dangerous work.

My cat Monty does the same for me, since I work in health care and it can sometimes be very stressful and sad. He's asking to go outside, so I'd better take him out-- but thanks so much for listening to my song!

Feb 19, 2011
by: Anonymous

As I sit here crying at the beauty of this song, I can't help but think about how the cats that live in my house ( all 14 of them) and the tranquility this song will bring them. All I can say is thank you and Godspeed on future endeavors,

Feb 19, 2011
by: Anonymous

As I sit here crying at the beauty of this song, I can't help but think about how the cats that live in my house ( all 14 of them) and the tranquility this song will bring them. All I can say is thank you and Godspeed on future endeavors,

Jan 10, 2011
by: Michael

I found the song very respectful and gentle - just as a cat would want it to be!

Thank you so much, Ruth, for creating this unique song in praise of a unique cat.

Michael Avatar

Jan 10, 2011
To Ruth
by: Ruth

Just having a giggle at your comment about Monty growling at people if they stay too long.
It's a lovely way to start the day before reading about awful things done to animals.
Monty sounds as if he well rules your roost !
I really did love yours and Emily's singing and playing.

Jan 09, 2011
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

Thanks to Michael for sharing this on PoC, and to Ruth for her kind comments. Emily would like that you think we sound like sisters!
The lines removed were toward the end, "Simon, wounded Simon thought he'd never hunt again..." Emily felt that there was nothing new in these lines that the listener did not already know, and she thought that a piano interlude would be good there to give the listener time to process what went before. It also adds to the suspense, as Simon's fate is not revealed right away. I agreed with her, so we left that part as a piano solo.
Monty actually helped for real as I was trying to re-record the piano part on Thursday. I realized I had made some mistakes toward the beginning and decided to just restart it. I went into the other room to stop the recording and put it back to the beginning, but this was already done for me-- by Monty. He actually saved me a few seconds work! I put him in his room then. I felt bad to do it, but he jumped up to the top of his scratching post and didn't seem to mind too much when I let him out later. He didn't even growl at Emily even though we worked late into the night on the recording. Usually Monty will growl at company if he feels they've stayed too long. He stayed close by us, but didn't jump up on the computer desk anymore, thank goodness!

Jan 09, 2011
by: Ruth

That is so lovely.
Ruth and Emily have beautiful voices, they remind me of 2 sisters who long ago used to sing 'Peace like a river' but I can't remember now what they were called.
THANK YOU for sharing this touching tribute to Simon.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Simon’s Song — 6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Cat History | Pictures of Cats

  2. You little stinker, Michael. To so sweetly put this up again. Love your site, and all of our beloved cats… 🙂

  3. Monty’s Mom, you are so loved by all. Thank you for relating to all of us who feel like you do. You verbalised it better than any of us ever could, without ego. You’re a blessing, just like your Monty! 🙂

    • sorry–i respond too quickly? Your Monty has become so much a part of us all…and you Are the Cat’s Prrr…and Meow! (affectionately, I still want to see more jpegs on this site) 🙂

  4. Well. My apologies for prior run-on comments, if they show.
    The melody and harmony are lovely, but I think that if it were not for hearing Monty’s Mom’s lovely mezzo-soprano(?) voice, I would not have listened fully. You are awesome, Ruth. <3 🙂

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