"Cats In The Cradle" as written by and Harry F./chapin Chapin....
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"

[Chorus:]
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then"

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok"
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

[Chorus:]

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later. Can I have them please?"

[Chorus:]

I've long since retired and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

[Chorus:]


Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by bailey1143

"Cat's in the Cradle" as written by Harry F./chapin Chapin

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Cats In The Cradle song meanings
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62 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentI think a lot of people are totally missing the point of this song.

    It's about a father who was always too busy to spend time with his son, even though his son always promises to grow up just like him.

    Till one day many years later he sees his son acting the same way he used to, not making time for his family at all, and realizes too late that he really did grow up just like his father...

    It's a cautionary tale about spending time with your kids. It's sad. It's not supposed to be something you're proud of, jeez...
    Bullzeyeon October 11, 2004   Link
  • +5
    General Comment"and the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon"

    basically "the cats in the cradle" is the son and the "silver spoon" is the father in the sense that the son is at home while the father is away making money to feed (silver spoon) and take care of the childs welfare.

    "little boy blue and the man on the moon" explains how far away they are from each other...a little boy on the earth compared to his father who is so far away he might as well be in space.

    and the fact that he says all of this using several nursery rhymes put together...is just ingenious.
    MissI3behavedon December 10, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Commentthis song is amazing its about a dad who was always too busy to spend time with his kid until he was alll grown up and his kid was too busy to spen time with him
    lemonhead64on March 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, children should learn from this song that they will turn out like their parents unless they make a conscious effort to be different. A lot of people know what it's like to be low priority with their Dad, and nowadays with both parents, but it need not be like this in the future. Make time for your kids now, and they will learn to make time for you & for their own kids.
    Leanahton August 25, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with many of the comments above- this song is about the importance of family...

    I think aside from a sociological look at the family, it is actually a metaphor of society as a whole. Why does the father not have time for his son? Perhaps the phenomena of mass consumption has something to do with it. The father probably did not have time for his son because he valued work and money more then he did their relationship.

    This is not something new. Our society is so pre-occupied with material gain, money and work, we have forgotten the importance of family unity. Much like the father in this song has...
    MaveY_BabeYon February 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell maybe just because I'm an optimist I never saw this like everyone else. I saw it as even though the father was never there as often as he wanted to be for his son that he still obviously had an impact on his life because his son wanted to be like him.

    He was saying it from a young age and I can't see a ten year old or any young kid saying to his father that he would be like him in the sense that his father wasn't present enough so he would be like that to his kids too.

    I always looked at it as more of a pride that the son wanted to be like his father, rather than a dissapointment, and to me it was like the father was proud. But that's me.
    britbarton March 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBritbart, nobody denies that. The son isn't dissapointed, he just thinks his dad is the greatest guy in the world and wants to be like him, not really even noticing that his dad is never there for him.

    His dad is always proud of him, but is going to be dissapointed that his son can't take the time to see him. His dad's feelings are bittersweet, he's proud of his son but his son also helped him see his own faults as a father.
    Johnnycrulezon March 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree that it's not supposed to be a good thing that the father thinks his son has turned out just like him. HOWEVER, I don't think the father is correct. His son is busy because of his job (similar), but also because his own kid has the flu. That's not a throwaway line. The son has no time for the father because the son is busy building his *own* family, and he's there for his *own* child even though work is hectic. That's nothing like the way he grew up. At the end, the father completely misses, once again, that it's not all about him.
    sabrecalcon October 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe's wife wrote the chorus about the man in the moon part and Harry wrote the rest. She wrote it as a poem.
    Jenny25on May 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe first time I heard this was when I was 6. I remember loving how it sounded but finding it difficult to listen to in full. As I grew older and was able to understand the words and how powerful they are...

    what a story.

    I still find it difficult, but that's a good thing. Sometimes we need a reminder of how important quality time is.
    keykeyx10000on October 06, 2010   Link

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