Posts filed under ‘THE CAT AND THE MUTTON’
THE ROLE OF CATS IN NURSERY RHYMES
by Sarah Hartwell
Until less than a century ago, one of the commonest meats fed to cats was mutton. Mutton fat was considered medicinal. Nowadays, mutton is rarely eaten in the west. The following two rhymes illustrate the once-common association between cats and mutton. “Mumbles” means sucks or chews; the cat is evidently tossing the bone around as though it were a mouse.
Who’s that ringing at my door bell?
A little pussy cat that isn’t very well,
Rubs its little nose with a little mutton fat,
That’s the best cure for a little pussy cat.
Hie, hie says Anthony,
Puss is in the pantry,
A mutton, mutton bone;
See how she tumbles it,
See how she mumbles it,
See how she tosses
The mutton, mutton bone.