Alexander Borodin had many cats. From Rimsky-Korsakov's autobiography:
Many cats that the Borodins lodged marched back and forth on the table, thrusting their noses into the plates or leaping on the backs of the guests. These felines enjoyed the protection of Catherine Sergueïevna. They all had biographies. One was called Fisher because he was successful in catching fish through the holes in the frozen river. Another, known as Lelong, had the habit of bringing home kittens in his teeth which were added to the household. More than once, dining there, I have observed a cat walking along the table. When he reached my plate I drove him away; then Catherine Sergueïevna would defend him and recount his biography. Another installed himself on Borodin’s shoulders and heated him mercilessly.
‘Look here, sir, this is too much!’ cried Borodin, but the cat never moved.
Frédéric Chopin's was composing alone in his music room late one night. While he was sitting on the piano, suddenly a small kitten ran across the keys. Chopin likes the strange melody so much that he created an entire piece called "The Cat Waltz" around it. (George Sand reportedly ate her breakfast from the same bowl as her cat Minou.)
Andrew Lloyd Webber's 6-month-old kitten Otto in 2007 wiped out the score to his sequel to Phantom of the Opera by stepping on the keyboard. "I was trying to write some new music, he got into the grand piano, jumped onto the computer and destroyed the entire score for the new `Phantom' in one fell swoop."
Modest Mussorgsky included a song called The Pirate Cat in his song cycle Five Children's Songs.
Sergei Prokofiev chose the clarinet to represent the Cat in Peter and the Wolf.
Maurice Ravel had several beloved Siamese cats. He penned L'enfant et les sortilges ("The Child and the Enchantments") in collaboration with the French writer Colette. The opera has a bravura cat duet sung by the Tom Cat and the She Cat in an authentic-sounding feline 'language'.
I always thought The Cat Duet was composed by Rossini. Per Wiki:
While the piece is typically attributed to Gioachino Rossini, it was not actually written by him, but is instead a compilation written in 1825 that draws principally on his 1816 opera, Otello. The compiler was likely the English composer Robert Lucas de Pearsall, who for this purpose used the pseudonym "G. Berthold".
Domenico Scarlatti's cat Pulcinella composed a fugue. The cat was fond of prancing about on the harpsichord and wrote Fugue in G Minor, L499; better known as The Cat's Fugue. Per Claus von Bülow: The first three measures present the mechanical promenade of the cat across the keyboard (the theme proper); the following ones exhibit the justificatory touch of the master-hand, thoughtfully arranging the first chaotic ‘product of Nature.’
Igor Stravinsky composed a set of four pieces called Berceuses du Chat "Cat's Lullabies" for female voice and three clarinets.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky included a dance for Puss 'n' Boots and the White Cat in Sleeping Beauty in which the dancers simulate a lively scene between two cats and the orchestra imitates the sounds made by the animals including, of course, a realistic spit.
Johannes Brahms hated cats and used to shoot them in his backyard with a bow and arrow.
Giacomo Meyerbeer also hated cats, but his retribution is undocumented.
for something completely different:
Poor Mozart Cat. Once "in the cold Austrian night," he "sat slumped in a musical blight."
Mozart suffering from "composer's block? Well, once in a while, maybe. Or so he does in this delightful children's book by Jeannine Kadow. Published by Cheval Creative, it is the first in a series of interactive musical books, toys, CDs, DVDs, Internet and high tech apps designed to "educate and empower children by teaching classical music."
The accompanying CD is narrated by conductor James Conlon, who shows a distinct flair for storytelling: "Where is my MUSIC?" Mozart yowled as he prowled, while far off in the forest, a wild wolf howled . . ." Illustrations -- vivid and charming in full color -- are by Olo.
See Mozart Cat in white wig and red coat wandering through a forest full of animals to find notes for a new composition "for music quite light, lilting, uplifting and danceably bright." He gets help from a red-legged thrush, tortoise, rabbit, squirrel, owl, snake, spider, cricket, raven and most of all a fish at the bottom of a creek. And dance they do as Mozart Cat plays on a fiddle carved by a woodpecker.
The lesson learned is "even if you're a kitten, you too can compose."
The 50-page, hard-cover book contains a glossary of words used in the story and activity pages. The three-track CD contains music by Mozart (from his Symphony No. 40 in G Minor and "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik") and an interactive educational track aligned with the activity pages.