"Phenomenal Cat" as written by and Raymond Douglas Davies....
A long, long time ago,
In the land of idiot boys,
There live a cat, a phenomenal cat,
Who loved to wallow all day.

No one bothered him
As he sat, content in his tree.
He just lived to eat 'cause it kept him fat,
And that's how he wanted to stay.

Though he was big and fat,
All the world was good to him,
And he pointed out on the map
All the places he had been.
[Cowes, Cathage,Karthom,Cannes?], [India,Sardinia?], Kathmandu,
The Scilley Isles and Sahara, too

Fum, fum, diddle-um di
La la la la, la-la la la
La la la la, la-la la la la
La la la la-la la la

Once when he was thin
He had flown to old Hong Kong,
And had learned the secret of life,
And the sea and the sky beyond.
So he gave up his diet and sat in a tree,
And ate himself through eternity.

Fum, fum, diddle-um di
La la la la la-la la la
La la la la, la-la la la la
La la la la-la la la
Fum, fum, diddle-um di
Fum, fum, diddle-um di


Lyrics submitted by Half Blind

"Phenomenal Cat" as written by Raymond Douglas Davies

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Phenomenal Cat song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about a cat!
    CamLwalkon October 13, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti have absolutely no idea what this song is about, but i really, really love it.
    ms. mary annon January 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSinger Ray Davies: "Phenomenal Cat went to Singapore and Hong Kong and decided it was just was well to get fat. I didn't, he did. It was completely his own decision. And he came back and at himself to eternity" (kinks.it.rit.edu/misc/articles/…). Not sure if that clarifies anything. Maybe it's about deciding to be lazy and fat to be happy, but it seems to portray hedonism negatively, too.
    miesterseanon July 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is brilliant as it mentions the Scilly Isles. The most beautiful place in the world.
    Dead Bang!on October 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about a cat!
    CamLwalkon October 13, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHas to be referring to a rich inner city 'Fat cat' who once thought life was all about money and profits, but something triggered a change-In this instance a trip of somekind- which made him give up his diet of money and live a life of calm.
    JohnnyDenimon January 19, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always assumed the places he went to were meant to be puns ... Sardin-ia and Kat-hmandu are obvious, and maybe Cowes for milk, but what about the Scilly Isles and Sahara?
    calebyon February 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Davies is being cynical about the Buddah. The Buddah lived a long long time ago and Davies contempt for his teachings is evident when he says "in the land of idiot boys" as though his followers were immature idiots. "Cat" is not literally a cat, but a cat in the sense of a "cool cat" or hip person who had something to say that others bought into at the time, like those who followed the Buddah. He is a phenomenal cat because the Buddah became a phenomenon. "No one bothered him as he sat content in his tree..." He is just observing life like the Buddah. The Buddah was fat also and Davies attributes this not to some romanticised ideal of great prosperity due to an enlightened state, but simply because he loved to eat and "that's how he wanted to stay". This is actually a clever dig at the tenent of Buddism that adopts a complacent accepting "live and let live" attitude. By gorging himself because he wanted to, he was practicing Buddism. The lyric that points me to this interpretation most is that "he had flown to old Hong Kong and learned the meaning of life and the sea and the sky beyond". This is what Siddhartha (the actual name of the Buddah) did. As he traveled through life, he obtained enlightenment, a state of all knowing, or Nirvana. Davies is cynical of all so called leaders, like John Lennon was of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi(Sexy Sadie). So what did this "phenomenal cat" do with his newfound enlightenment? He ate himself through eternity. This is another reference to Buddism...the attainment of eternal life. Davie's message? The Buddah traveled and became enlightened so he could eat through the eternity of never ending life! Lesson here...there is no right path....Buddism, Taoism, christianity...they are all created by humans and therefore tied to human wants and needs, like food in this case. For a nice comparison, read Davies lyric to "Big Sky". Here he clearly explains that the big sky is just that.. a big sky, and there is no heaven, so he is comforted when he thinks that his problems are insignificant to a universe that is ambivalent.
    heritageboyon April 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is simply about being an unpretentious observer, and about plain cuteness X3
    Raveonon January 07, 2013   Link

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