ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

Friends writer Betsy Borns has just shattered a little piece of the 90s for us. She revealed that the iconic song Smelly Cat, from the hit T.V. show, wasn't supposed to be about a cat at all! It was originally titled Smelly Dog.

The sixth episode of season two, The One With The Baby On The Bus, starred Chrissie Hynde replacing Phoebe Buffay as a professional singer at the Central Perk cafe. It was already established that Lisa Kudrow co-wrote the tune with Hynde, but now it turns our that Borns wrote the lyrics as an ode to her childhood pet.

The dog, named Gouda - due to its bad cheese odour, inspired the song. Borns told Refinery 29:

And I had a really stinky, smelly dog...But it was determined that ‘cat’ was funnier.

Smelly Cat went on to win Phoebe a lucrative jingle deal with a cat litter company, but how would the story have panned out with a Smelly Dog? Were dog shampoos a big thing in 1995?

Borns was keen to add elements of her life into her writing and other signs of this can be seen in the episode: Chrissie Hynde's character is called Stephanie - Borns' actual sisters name. Also the bar in which Chandler and Joey suggest to take their dates is called Markel's - after her then-boyfriend’s father.

She admits that this all happened in 1995 so her memory could be a little fuzzy, but we trust you Betsy:

But I did have a smelly dog, and that was my episode, so let the chips fall where they may

Luckily the story has a happy ending as Borns currently has a pleasant smelling dog called Bodhi. So to brighten your day, why not sing along with Phoebe Buffay and Taylor Swift from Swift's '1989' tour?

Is Smelly Cat your favourite Phoebe Buffay song? Sound off below.


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