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Orchestra accompanies Nora the cat playing piano in professionally composed 'CATcerto'

Nora recently crossed the rainbow bridge, but her musical legacy lives on.

cat sitting at a piano

Ever seen a cat play the piano with an orchestra?

We've seen a lot of musical cat content here at Upworthy, from The Kiffness blowing us all away with his cat howling duets to a boys choir singing a 19th century opera about a cat fight composed entirely of meows. But somehow we missed one of the greatest cat collaborations ever—Nora the piano-playing cat being accompanied by an entire professional chamber orchestra.

In a video resurfaced from 2009, we see Lithuanian composer and conductor Mindaugas Piecaitis leading the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra in an original piece composed by him…and Nora the Piano Cat. A large screen hanging behind the orchestra shows Nora at the piano, waiting through the orchestral introduction with her paws on the keys before finally beginning to play her part of the CATcerto.

Of course, we can see that the piece has been composed around Nora's notes and not the other way around, but the effect is extraordinary. Nora is making music, and Piecaitis has embellished and illuminated it with his expert artistic ear.


The piece is a musical journey, from a slow haunt to an upbeat romp and several layers in between. If you close your eyes, you might not even realize the piano is being played by a cat. Even the dissonant chords sound good with Piecaitis arrangement, and it's an impressive feat both for the cat and the composer. (Piecaitis even got to go meet with Nora in person a few years after their collaborative performance. And of course, in typical cat fashion, she only played a couple of notes for him. Nobody can make a cat do anything, including play the piano, which makes Nora's videos all the more delightful.)

Watch and enjoy:

Sadly, Nora crossed the rainbow bridge in February of 2024, after a good, long 19 years with her humans, Betsy and Burnell. As the couple tells it, Nora had been a rescue cat, and one day they heard some repeated notes coming from the piano. The piano playing became a regular hobby for the gray tabby, and after one of Betsy's piano students suggested she share Nora's special talents on YouTube, she became one of the earliest viral video stars.

The "CATcerto" is but one of many Nora the Piano Cat creations, which span from books to artwork, and she's even the main character in an upcoming animated children's show.

"She may be an animated character now and she will live on, but she was real," Betsy told ABC 6 News in Philadelphia. "I just think she wanted to send a message about the importance of music and creativity in the world and I think she will inspire a whole generation of young musicians and artists."

Who wouldn't be inspired by a sweet kitty plunking away on the piano with her paws? Watch Nora's humans describe what she meant to them and the series that's currently in the works:


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