'Cats' Musical Wiki

The Pekes and the Pollicles are characters from the musical number "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles" - they are two warring dog tribes whose fight is broken up by the Rumpus Cat.

Pekes (Pugs, Poms)[]

Pekes (Pekingese), Pugs and Poms (Pomeranian), are all breeds of lap dogs, typically kept as pets rather than being working dogs. Pekes and Pugs are both breeds that originated in China, while Pomeranians originate from central Europe.

Pollicle Dogs[]

Pollicle Dogs are the canine counterpart to Jellicle Cats. Both terms were first published in T S Eliot's 1933 poem "Lines to a Yorkshire Terrier" (see the Jellicle Cats article for more on their origins). Eliot continued to write about Pollicle Dogs in his later poems, such as "The Marching Song of the Pollicle Dogs" (1939).

Pollicle Dogs are said to be Yorkshire Terriers ("Yorkshire tyke") in Eliot's poem "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles", which was published in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939). Literary scholars believe this to be a nod to Eliot's first wife's dog - a Yorkshire Terrier named Polly. The same poem also makes a reference to the Pollicle's "braw Scottish cousins" a.k.a Scottish Terriers.[1] In a letter dated 25 June 1945 to fellow poet Anne Ridler, Eliot points out that Dinah - the first Yorkshire Terrier he ever had - was the "original Pollicle".[2]

Excerpt from "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles":

For your Pollicle Dog is a dour Yorkshire tyke,
And his braw Scottish cousins are snappers and biters,
And every dog-jack of them notable fighters;
And so they stepped out, with their pipers in order,
Playing When the Blue Bonnets Came Over the Border.

There are dogs out of every nation,
The Irish, the Welsh and the Dane;
The Russian, the Dutch, and Dalmatian,
And even from China and Spain;
The Poodle, the Pom, the Alsatian
And the Mastiff who walks on a chain.
And to those that are frisky and frollical
Let my meaning be perfectly plain:
That my name it is Little Tom Pollicle -
And you'd better not do it again.


The ensemble Cats dress in bits and pieces of junk in order to represent the different dog breeds, with the female performers as the Pekes, Pugs and Poms, while the male performers are the Pollicles. Shoe boxes, yogurt pots, old cushions and slippers all go towards making a variety of recognisable dogs.


As Munkustrap narrates, the ensemble quickly dress in bits and pieces that appeared to be part of the set. A solo Peke and a solo Pollicle meet initially, they are often played by Rumpleteazer and Carbucketty, but their identity changes between productions.



  1. T. S. Eliot's Autobiographical Cats, Henry Hart. Pages 380-381. 2012.
  2. The Poems of T. S. Eliot Volume I: Collected and Uncollected Poems. Faber & Faber, 17 November 2015. Page 844.