Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Bongo Belly



Black Cat and Oscar - their bodies are actually touching as they nap on the sofa.

Black Cat and Oscar.

I want to tell you about how music has become a very important element in my life these days, but I hesitate to share with you why that is.

It’s weird.

It has to do with spanking the cat.

While music has, of course, always had a role in my life, I am not like other people in that I don’t have a library of tunes, I don’t have a playlist. I don’t even have a player. I couldn’t name the top 10 to save my life.

It has always been thus. When I was a teen, I was terrified of concerts. I don’t know which was worse – the raging multitude in the audience, the blinding and disorienting strobe lights, or the eardrum-puncturing volume.

Over the years, I bought a few tapes and CD’s. Because that’s what you do, if you are a member of law-abiding society. I played them in the car while commuting. But for the last ten years or so, the player has been silent. Even the radio.

I used to sing. When I was a girl, I sang in the church choir. As an adult and when I was living with The Performer, I used to sing in his choir. That was a ton of fun. I particularly miss the after-rehearsal impromptu gatherings around the piano when we’d belt out barbershop quartets.

Somewhere along the way, though, I lost my wind. That is, I could no longer hold my breath and sing like before. Sure, I could hum, I could mumble and murmur and mimic a familiar tune, but sing it out loud and lustily?

Not on your Aunt Fanny’s fanny.

However, on the cat’s fanny? Well, that’s a different tune, altogether.

Late last autumn, Black Cat was in the bathroom with me while I brushed my teeth. He was rubbing up against my legs as cats are inclined to do when they want attention.

Fine. I bent down and began to rub his back, to scratch him under the chin, to pat him on his butt. He enjoyed that. He wanted more.

OK, why not?

I assumed a squat on the rug, and began to play bongo on his belly. I started to sing “Bongo Belly”. You know, “Bongo-bongo-bongo Bongo-Bell-EE. Bongo-Bell-EE! My hands beating out the rhythm on his hind end.

He loved it! He purred and rolled over and when I suggested it was time to call it quits, he protested and demanded an encore.

I obliged. I sang Christmas carols but instead of the usual lyrics, I sang “Bum-bum-bum, Bum-bum-bum, Bum-Bum all the way!” Again, gently, but firmly, I bongo’d on his butt.

The next night, we repeated the earlier performance. But instead of the squat, (oh, my aching knees!) I sat on a small three-legged stool. I sang Darling Clementine, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, and a particular favourite of his, The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Instantly,  this became a nightly ritual. The moment he heard the electric toothbrush, Black Cat raced to the bathroom and presented his belly at my feet.

It is interesting to note, that no matter what song I sang, nothing got quite the same intense reaction as Bongo Belly.

Oscar, meanwhile, began to take notice.

As did Reiner.

To make a long story short, day or night, today, both cats will run to the bathroom, or any other room where there is carpet, assume “the position” – that is, hind end up, and purring like crazy – and they will demand and receive, Bongo Belly’s. From either one of us. Sometimes, two cats at once. In stereo, if you will.

Both Reiner and I are singing our hearts out these days – ad libbing all the way. It’s so cool to have music in the house. Even though I could never, EVER tell anyone about spanking the cats.

Categories: Daily Post


48 replies

  1. What a delightful story!! Tho I must admit to some head-scratching at your opening (Is “spanking the cat” a euphemism for something?? and if so, for WHAT!!?”).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The picture you have drawn! I shall giggle every time I think of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LOL! That is a wonderful story! This evening, I shall try a lil kitty-bum spankin and see if I can elicit the purrs. What a way to bring the music back to your home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The cat as your “muse”…perfect. 💚 💙 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My kitty also LOVED to be “spanked” rhythmically on her butt. I didn’t sing to her while doing it, in fact, I felt a little weird doing it since I would have thought it would hurt. Maybe she was into meowsocism.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You’re absolutely bonkers. We need more people like you in the world

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Maggie, I’m not really sure how to even comment on this, but if you all enjoy it, then who am I to judge 😉
    Your cats are so sweet by the way, I love seeing pictures of them. Is Black Cat missing an ear tip or is it just folded over in the picture?


  8. Only you, Maggie! Laughing so hard. I cannot wait to brush my teeth tonight to see if Parker, by chance, happens by in need of a song!


  9. Ha. I must know if this is true!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. …is covering all her kitties’ ears posthumously. No way, Jose!…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. omg Maggie – this has to be just about one of your best 😀 I had to go look up “spanking the cat” and the video I watched was hilarious! Cats really are soooo entertaining 🙂

    I’m not surprised that Black Cat associated the sound of the toothbrush with something he liked. I will have to give it a try with Theo (sans la chanson). He’s always acting like he NEVER gets enough attention 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Cats are weird. Great story, very bongo-y. And oddly enough the second post I’ve read this morning about cats and bathrooms. Go figure.


  13. I love how silly gestures can be turned into must-perform-rituals with cats and dogs. Additional evidence that we are the pets being trained in these relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cats are very adept at training their humans.

    Mariko (one of my blacks…) will sit on the ledge for the stairs at night when I’m in the bathroom doing night things (brush hair, teeth, wash face, etc…) and just bobble her head up and down. She’ll squeek at me once I’m done there, then impatiently wait for me to climb into bed.

    Once the covers are up – she makes a mad jump off the ledge, across the bedroom floor, and up onto the bed to paw at the covers.

    she’s waiting for me to move my hand under the covers so she can attack it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve described your Mariko so well – I can almost feel her claws digging into my hands! 😉

      Nothing like a cat’s imagination at work – or at play, I suppose I should call it. It makes me giggle to see how intensely involved they get. I love the sound of my boys chasing their toys across the room. It’s such great joyful energy.


      • I think it’s kinda cool that your boys are orange and black…the two boys we have are also orange & black.

        And, yea…they love their toys. to the point of consuming them. I know if I bring in a cat toy with feathers, they won’t remain plumed for long 😀


        • Interesting coincidence!
          Temple Grandin wrote a book on animal intelligence – in it, she writes that black cats are stable, calm, just great dispositions – the best bet if you are making a pick of the litter. Whereas the gingers? High strung, scaredy cats. Fits our two to a T.

          Yeah, feathers are first to go, here too. We’ve just recently stumbled onto a new toy that they are crazy about – Reiner took the hair left in the brush and compacted it into a, um, hairball, for lack of a better work – about the size of a golf ball. They go nuts over it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mariko eats fibers – hair is an especial favorite. All brush cleanings have to go in a covered trash can over here for her safety.

            Our orange & black are opposites. Spook (the black) is high-strung, very toothy and not very human-friendly (he’s a perpetual rebellious-teen). Henry (the ginger) is as laid back a cat as they come. The kids call him ‘The Stoner Cat…’ – that’s how mellow he is 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  15. I LOVE it!! Haha, I will have to try it! Although my Pear Blossom is the cat that really seems to love music and Sloopy Anne especially likes my daughter’s lovely voice, the other cats have not particularly paid attention to music. Before Sloopy Anne, before Kana, when Mac was still alive, I had 2 males and 2 females. On the way to get their nails trimmed, they would show me the choir: one soprano, one alto, one tenor, and one bass. Thanks for sharing this adorable story.


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