Who are the 10 most famous cats or cat characters of all time from cartoons, movies, and TV?
by Mary H
Our feline friends may think that they’re God’s gift to mankind, but there’s many more famous cats out there than the one that graces your lap in the evenings. From heroic lions to comedic tabbies, cats have graced all forms of storytelling from the dawn of time. Read on to meet some familiar (and some not so familiar) cats from our favorite tales!
As many a 90s kid can attest, Simba from the Lion King has one of the greatest claims to cat fame. Launching into stardom from the Disney animated nest, Simba starts his story as an innocent lion cub in the arid Pride Lands of Africa. He’s at first a brave, proud, arrogant cub, but then becomes humbled when his father, Mufasa, is killed at the hands of the villainous Scar. Simba then grows into a reserved but regal adult lion, who regains his pride and bravery after defeating Scar and regaining his rightful throne at Pride Rock. Simba makes the list because of his character arc, which watches him grow from an impetuous youth to a responsible ruler.
Although not technically a cat, Cat Woman from the DC Batman comics makes the cut for the simple fact that her feline powers pay excellent homage to cats everywhere. Depicted simply as a woman in a black catsuit, Cat Woman uses her agility and murky motivations to serve herself, often landing on either side of the villain/hero line. She’s been described as an antiheroine, often doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, and has a long, complicated love/hate relationship with Batman. Her self-serving habits could perhaps identify her more with cats than the suit itself, which helps her to make this list.
This sarcastic, grumpy, lasagna-loving orange tabby may be one of the most famous cats on this list. Known for his droning voice in the television series (or his snide comments in the comic strip), Jim Davis’s Garfield is a testament to lazy kitties everywhere. He perfectly personifies the attitude of a fat, content, indoor cat, and his antics have made children and adults laugh for decades.
One of the classic cats in literature is T.S. Eliot’s Macavity the Mystery Cat. In his poem, Eliot describes Macavity as a sneaky, skinny, gravity-defying orange tabby cat that commits an array of crimes, all while never being caught. The depiction of Macavity displays the common attitude towards cats as a criminal species, always on the lookout for trouble and mischief.
Once just a regular pet cat, Grumpy Cat quickly became a viral meme when her frowning face popped up on the internet. She’s known for being a sort of Grouch character, wishing for stereotypically cute or happy things to go down in flames and celebrating the depressing or macabre. She is the offspring of a calico domestic shorthair and a grey tabby and has brought much joy to nihilistic memers around the world.
One of the oldest stories of a cat is that of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of cats. Cats were so revered in Egypt that they were often worshiped; Egypt is also the home of the first named cat, known as Nedjem or “Sweetie.” Bastet herself had the body of a human and the head of a sleek black cat. She was known as both the protector goddess and goddess of war.
Once the stuffed animal of Christopher Robin, A.A. Milne’s character Tigger is now well-loved by many generations of children. Known from the Winnie the Pooh stories, Tigger is a loveable tiger that prioritizes fun above all else. He can bounce to great heights in the film versions and bucks the stereotype of the mischievous, moody cat character of other tales.
Sanrio’s Hello Kitty originated in Japan and spread like wildfire. Her cute, be-bowed head is instantly recognizable around the world, depicted on everything from vinyl purses to candy wrappers. She’s not actually a cat but is rather an anthropomorphized third grader based in London, according to her creators. She’s designed in the kawaii Japanese style, fashioned to look as cute as possible.
Recognized as the Guinness World Record Holder for oldest cat, Crème Puff lived to the old age of 38 years and three days. She subsisted on a diet of heavy cream, bacon, and asparagus (among other things). A mostly white calico domestic shorthair, Crème Puff exemplified the ideal kitty life, spending her time eating delicious food, enjoying lap time with her owner, Perry, and napping under the table.
The black and white tuxedo cat, Unsinkable Sam, may be the original cat with nine lives. Sam survived not one, not two, but three shipwrecks, the first occurring in 1941 when the Bismarck (a German Battleship) was downed by the British. After the next two shipwrecks (and being saved from the water multiple times by the British in the process), Sam finally managed to live out the rest of his life safely on land in the UK.
Did you recognize your own cat among this bunch? Cat stereotypes in the media are there for a reason, so you may find that Simba, Macavity, or any other famous cat may resemble your own quite well.
Leave us a comment to describe your own famous cat, or to tell us which of your favorites we might have missed!
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Looking for more famous cats? There are 15 more here.