Folks, get your minds out of the gutter. This is an innocent children's game!
Back when I was a little one, my loony British mum taught my siblings and me
this game. To play properly you need at least three people, though larger groups
are better. One player is chosen to be the Poor Pussy. The rest of the players sit
in a circle.
The Poor Pussy will crawl around on all fours, visiting in turn each person
in the circle. He or she must make mewling, kitten sounds and in general
act as silly as possible. When the Poor Pussy visits you in his or her journey
around the circle, you are to pat them on the head and say:
If the person laughs, they must become the Poor Pussy. The game continues until
all players have been eliminated. The last person remaining who does not laugh may
be given a prize.
Alternately, and perhaps more commonly, players are not eliminated. The game simply continues until the participants wish to stop. If a person laughs at the Poor Pussy, s/he and the Poor Pussy will exchange places.
This game apparently had its roots in the 19th century, when it was played in Victorian parlors.