Nation Crazy for Philly's Piano-Playing Puss

Not to be catty, but we don't get it

By Teresa Masterson
|  Thursday, Aug 13, 2009  |  Updated 4:21 AM CDT
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Nation Crazy for Philly's Piano-Playing Puss

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This is not Nora the Cat.

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A Philadelphia cat has gained national acclaim for being able to “play” the piano. We don't understand why.

Featured in USA Today, and racking up millions of pageviews on YouTube, we here at NBC Philadelphia were ecstatic to see this homegrown talent for ourselves. 

Alas, we only saw a cat. Hitting a piano key (sometimes two) over and over.

There was no Beethoven, no Copeland, not even “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” It’s just a cat. Hitting a key.

“Nora’s for real,” feline expert Beth Adelman told USA Today. “I think she’s brilliant. She’s a showman.”

While we have no idea what makes one a “feline expert,” we’re going to have to disagree with said expert. It all seems to be much ado about nothing. But maybe we’re missing something. Judge for yourself:

In the first video below, Nora the cat, owned by Philadelphians Betsy Alexander, a piano teacher, and Burnell Yow, a sculptor, takes a nap, scratches herself, hits the same piano key repetitively, and then takes another nap. All the while Betsy is playing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Pretty sure Betsy’s doing all the work.

In the second video, “CATcerto,” Nora hits more than one note, but the only thing that makes it sound like an actual tune is the ORCHESTRA playing in the background.

If you go to catcerto.com, another site dedicated to Nora, you’ll see that a composer actually wrote that piece to play along with the cat.

Personal composers, Web sites, national coverage, dozens of YouTube videos and an audience of millions? All for a cat—with a toy. Nora can’t even claim to be as smart as a 2-year-old, like her canine counterparts.

This seems like the biggest case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” we’ve seen in a while.
 

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