Naughty Kitty Cat is a staple in my classroom. Not only can I use it to teach multiple concepts, I get to employ a puppet, it’s a fun game, and it’s one students ask for repeatedly. Let’s explore some of the ways I use Naughty Kitty Cat in my classroom.

The Song

Tone Set: drmfsl
Rhythm Set: Ta, TiTi, Ta Rest
Rhythmic Form: AABA
Melodic Form: AAA’B

The Game

Chase game. Standing circle, hands joined. One player, the cat, stands in the middle. Another player, the old man or old lady, walks around outside the circle. All sing the song while walking the beat around in a circle, while the cat performs the “mews” on the rests. At the end of the song, all circle players raise joined hands to form arches. The old lady/man chases the cat, in and out of the arches until caught. 

My Favorite Puppet for this Game

I got this Folkmanis puppet just for this game. Snag it here. (Full disclosure: Affiliate link. I get a small kickback and it won’t change your price. No pressure!)

The Concept of Rest

For pre-reading with Kindergarten, it’s still important to talk about rest in music. It is something I teach with Ks. Something I found working with hundreds of preschoolers and younger students is that it’s very common for classroom teachers to tell students to pat the beat with them, sing, and stop at the end of every phrase. *facepalm*

I’m not sure where this has come from but it’s something to address with students in your classroom. Naughty Kitty Cat is perfect for that since there is a rest at the end of 3 of the 4 phrases. Have students pat the beat and point out that there are places where the music rests (is silent) but the beat keeps going. Not only does it help them understand the concept but it preps them for Ta Rest later on.

Extension Activity

Put up 4 colorful cats on the board or on music stands in front of the room. Introduce 4 cats that have been colored in with the word “meow”, and 1 that is black and white without it. Ask students what they notice. The answer you want is that this cat is “silent” right now.

Have students pat the beat and “meow” on each cat that is colored in. Practice with only the colored in cast first. You point to keep the steady beat with the cats.

In front of one of the colored in cats, place a black and white cat image without the word “Meow”. This is a silent beat. Students don’t meow on the cat but they will continue to pat the beat. It is easier to move around the silent cat and leave the 4 colored in cats stationary so there is less to manipulate. Students should keep the beat even while you are moving the black and white cat around. A metronome can help them keep the beat and maintain the tempo while you switch around cat posters.

Keep the activity going while you switch around the silent cat

Ta Rest

Take it one step further in 1st grade and use this song when really working on Ta Rest. This is a great presentation song!


Naught Kitty Cat has a great repeated S-S-S-L-S pattern that is perfect for working with La later on in 1st grade. By the time you’ve used this song twice to work on the idea of silent beats and ta rest, you’ve been really prepping La with your students in this song. This isn’t a great song to present La since it’s got other notes with that nice descending scale pattern, but it’s great to isolate for prep or practice.


Check out this free download for teaching Ta Rest.

Grab this free download (no strings!) for the cats in color and black and white for the extension activity.

I hope this gives you some great ideas for Naughty Kitty Cat!

Melissa Stouffer-1

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