Later Variations

Many later variations of the Dame Trot narrative resemble the original story in their rhyming verses and the cat’s unusual behavior, but pick up new actions and story patterns. Dame Trot may still leave to run some errands, but she might also give the cat some lessons or take care of domestic chores.

In one adaptation of the narrative, Dame Trot’s dog takes on a significant role, but instead of dueling or smoking with the cat as in earlier versions, the pair dances together and quarrels by turns. In this version of the story, the cat is usually quite helpful around the house, but she loves pretty clothes and her vanity is her downfall when she tumbles from the dog’s back and ruins her best dress.

Versions: 1869A, 1872, 1873A, 1884, 1890, 1891, 1892C, 1894, 1900

In another variation, the cat performs an amusing rendition of “The Bavarian Girl’s Song,” otherwise known as “Buy a Broom!,” which was popularized by the 19th-century English actress and opera singer Madame Vestris. In this version, the cat often also meets–and even dances with–the puppet character Mr. Punch, who was a theatrical sensation in England throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Versions: 1830C, 1833B, 1838B, 1840E, 1850C

Yet another version of the story follows the original plotline and rhyme pattern as Dame Trot leaves to get something for the cat and returns to find her doing something surprising. However, the Dame’s and cat’s actions are different from those of the initial publications. Common activities undertaken by the cat include sewing, beating a drum, and loading a gun. This version of the narrative seems to have been especially popular during the 1860s, and the pseudo-militaristic actions of the cat, from blowing a horn to loading a gun, may be related to the cultural consciousness of Britain’s role in the Crimean War less than a decade earlier.

Versions: 1865B, 1866, 1867A, 1867B