"Cat Scratch Fever" is a rock song by Ted Nugent that appears on the album of the same name. The song is well known for its signature riff, which is a 3-tone minor-key melody harmonized in parallel fourths. In 2009, it was named the 32nd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
The song is about a man chronicling his long history of promiscuous sex, and lamenting (or perhaps, celebrating) his inability to control himself or the women he has sex with, and vice versa. The main reason for his lament is that his active sexual lifestyle results in him getting "Cat Scratch Fever"; however, the narrator does gleefully and explicitly (if somewhat resignedly) describe the pleasure he gets from the sex. The song makes heavy use of cats and their claws scratching things and people as sexual metaphors. The meaning of "Cat Scratch Fever" is more or less left open to the listener's interpretation, but general consensus is that the line refers to the sexually transmitted diseasesyphilis, as "cat scratch fever" was a common street slang term for the disease in the '70s and the song mentions "[going] to the doctor" and that "you know you got it when/you goin' insane/It makes a grown man cry". Nugent has vehemently protested this interpretation, explaining in 2012 "Are you fucking kidding me? I never had syphilis! It's about the disease of boys craving girls". Nugent had occasionally introduced the song onstage as "Can't Scratch Her Beaver". Some of the lyrics may refer to cat-scratch disease (often also called "cat scratch fever") and some of its symptoms.
The tune was covered by Pantera for the Detroit Rock City CD soundtrack. Their version peaked at 40 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Nugent criticized the version claiming, "It was exceedingly white. No soul, no balls, no feel. Caucasian all the way." Nugent later released more positive comments on the group and even mourned the death of Dimebag Darrell saying, "It's a heartbreaker."
The NFL's Carolina Panthers have played the intro to "Cat Scratch Fever" at each of their home games over the public address system, prior to the team's kickoffs, after the Panthers have scored either a touchdown or field goal. The song has also been mixed with the instrumental intro to rap duo Salt-N-Pepa's 1980s smash hit "Push It".