James Warburg and Kay Swift, 1918 (courtesy of The Kay Swift Memorial Trust)

This is definitely the most conventional of Kay Swift’s 1920 nursery songs which she wrote with her husband at the time, James Warburg. Swift does switch up the piano accompaniment from one verse to the next, though the melody remains fairly unchanged. For the sheet music below, I transposed it into the key of C and simplified the chords where it seemed appropriate. I also took out the 1/16th notes and replaced them with 1/8th notes, only to find that the lyrics fit perfectly that way, which makes me think that they were originally written for that melody and not the more complex one in Kay Swift’s manuscript.


Thanks again to Katharine Weber and The Kay Swift Memorial Trust for making these original manuscripts available so these songs can be heard again all these years later.

Download fake-book style sheet music to “Kitty” here: Kitty

Here is Kay Swift’s original arrangement for piano:

And here is “Kitty” arranged for jazz trio:


Lyrics to “Kitty” by James Warburg:

I have a little kitty. I think she’s very pretty,
And she has a very lovely whitey tail.
And often when she’s sleepy, her tail goes creepy creepy.
And when she dreams it thrashes like a flail.

I love my kitty dearly, tho’ she scratched my shoulder nearly,
and I feed her every night a bowl of milk.
She’s very soft and furry, and when she’s sleeping purry.
And her head is just as smooth as china silk.


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