Joaquín Sabina and His Cats
Besides sharing his apartment with quite a few cats, this famous singer from Úbeda, Spain, has dedicated his poems, drawings, and whole choruses in his songs towards Felis Catus. That’s why, today in My Animals, we’re going to take a totally unnecessary look at Joaquín Sabina and his beautiful relationship with cats.
The singer and his felines
“If you leave, I’ll take to the rooftops/like a stray cat,” he sings (in Spanish) in one of his most beloved songs: Y sin embargo (and however). He’s also given a home to his fair share of felines. Plus, he lives or has lived with more than half a dozen cats in his Madrid apartment. Here are some:
- Judas Tadeo
Although in his music he usually talks about the shameless, bohemian side of cats, he comfortable shares with them under the same roof in the Spanish capital.
Another line that many cat lovers like says: “I’m like a cat/walking the city/looking for a lady in heat/at that awful hour/when the bars are about to close/when my soul needs/a body to hold.” Now that’s true songwriting.
Artists, and especially writers, have a long history with Felis catus. Today we’re only focusing on the wonderful bond between Joaquín Sabina and cats, by looking at his songs, poems, and illustrations.
An artist who understands the world of cats
“It’s hard to imagine a cat gnawing at a bone a thousand times and coming up to you with their slobbery mouth. Cats just do whatever they want, they’re free and domesticated. (…) The way they live, somehow you end up becoming their servant and begging for a little bit of their love. They’re completely superior,” Sabina once said.
“I hope a cat pisses on any colonel that kills,” he wrote in a poem called Dolor de Arabia (Arabia’s Pain), which he was inspired by the Iraq war. It was a powerful poem, and it’s no surprise he brought cats into it.
In another poem (Gatos–“Cats”), he shows how much in harmony he is with their world. Here’s how he describes them: “Cats/don’t obey their master/but they know/Gods are but angels/who have fallen.”
Joaquín Sabina and cats, beyond the rhyme
Joaquín Sabina’s relationship with cats also doesn’t end with poems and songs. Anyone familiar with the work of this universal Andalucian artist (that’s how his friend Luis Eduardo Aute once described him), knows that he also loves to draw.
This is one example of his cat drawings. He also made an entire book, Garagatos, with a collection of 66 of these illustrations, along with a handwritten text by Sabina himself. Of course, as the title suggests, cats never go missing.
The book came out in 2016. It’s a limited edition with only 4,998 copies, and they’re all numbered and signed by the artist himself. Other illustrations include ships, fishes, and of course, women. A lot of women!
A poetic conclusion
If the person of your dreams asked you to “leave open the balcony to your catlike eyes,” how would you react? It’s quite a line, from Y nos dieron las diez. At least to us, because we love cats as much as he does. But wait, there’s more.
“Before you can love me the way someone loves a cat/I’ll walk out on anyone who looks like you,” he sings in Camas vacías. We’re not 100% sure of what he meant by this, but one thing is certain: his cat friends probably won’t care a thing for those lines. He’s well aware of that.
Here on My Animals, we get the feeling that a lot of people would like to be loved the way Joaquín Sabina loves his cats. He also says he’ll never let go of any of them. “I’ll end up like an old lady/only ever talking to my cats,” he says in Lágrimas de mármol, a song from his latest album. No doubt he’s the only one who knows what he’s talking about.