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Best Cats in Movies & TV, From Salem to Snowball

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Surely, you’ve heard the expression “like trying to herd cats” when talking about a virtually impossible task. Well, Shirley – and whoever else may be reading this – what if there was another comparable that made herding cats look no harder than breathing? What if the expression was, instead, “like trying to film cats”? Just think of movies or TV shows that have cats in major roles, like Keanu, Pet Semataryor even Shrek 2. Cats don’t listen. Or, rather, they listen just fine and don’t care. They change the hierarchy of the production team: the director isn’t in charge, the cat is. So kudos to those that not only got these cats on camera, but got them to cooperate. Your levels of sorcery know no bounds.


RELATED: From Lassie to Sarii: Best Performances by Dogs in Movies & TV

Garfield in Garfield: The Movie (2004)

From print to suction-cupped stuffy in car windows, the lasagna-loving feline finally made his film debut in Garfield: The Movie. Pretty standard family fare, with Garfield (Bill Murray) out to rescue Odie after inadvertently creating a series of events leading to Odie being kidnapped. Dognapped. Unless Odie was a young goat, then kidnapped is correct. What if a young goat took Odie? Would that be kid dognapped? The possibilities are endless… actually no, that’s pretty much it. Murray is excellent, as always, and once you hear him as Garfield it’s hard to think of anyone else in the role. He’s definitely had fun with it too, poking fun at his involvement in the franchise in both zombieland movies.

Mr. Bigglesworth in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

It’s 1967, and the nefarious Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) and his beloved – and furry – cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, escapes the clutches of super spy Austin Powers (Mike Myers) in a rocket, where he cryogenically freezes himself. Fast-forward to 1997, and Dr. Evil thaws out to reclaim his evil empire, and by his side is Mr. Bigglesworth. Without hair. It’s a riotous dig at the old Bond films, where arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld (first appearance by an uncredited Anthony Dawson in From Russia With Love) is often shown petting his fluffy white kitty Solomon. The hairless Mr. Bigglesworth fits in perfectly with Myers’ bumbling Blofeld wannabe aesthetic, a super-villain that falls consistently short when compared to the great Bond villains across time.

Church in Pet Sematary (1989)

What does a father do when his daughter’s kitty Church loses a head-to-head match against an oncoming truck? Bury Church in the Pet Sematary, of course, and kitty will be good as new come morning. Only not really all that playful. Or pleasant smelling. And alarmingly violent, killing all manner of critters and leaving their bodies around the house. On the plus side, though, he’s really bonded with Gage (Miko Hughes). Look at them working together to kill Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). So sweet. Take your pick – 1989 Church or 2019 Church. They’re both creepy as all hell.

Keanu in Keanu (2016)

Things start looking up for downhearted Rell (Jordan Peele) after he finds a cute kitten at his door, which he names Keanu. Unfortunately, Keanu is catnapped (oh, please don’t start the whole napped convo again), leading Rell and his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) on a mission to find the kitty. What would have been helpful to know is that Keanu used to belong to a deceased gangster kingpin, and is now in the possession of another gangster, Cheddar (Method Man). Kittens. The gateway to a life of drugs, gang violence, and mistaken identities.

Jones in Alien (1979)

After a deadly encounter with a xenomorph aboard the USCSS Nostromo, only two individuals survived: Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Jones, the ship’s cat and Ripley’s pet. In fairness, the alien had little to no interest in Jones, suggesting the xenomorphs are dog-people. Or, and this is entirely plausible, xenomorphs only attack beings with souls, so with Jones being a ginger cat… connect the dots, dear readers!

Salem in Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003)

Salem Saberhagen (Nick Bakay) is a familiar familiar to those who watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Salem is a 500-year-old witch who had plans on taking over the world. This didn’t sit well with the Witches Council, who sentenced him to live as a cat for 100 years as punishment. At least he’s good at helping Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart). When he’s not causing his grievance.

Goose in Captain Marvel (2019)

Quick- Samuel L.Jackson versus cat. Who wins? That’s right. It’s the cat. Or, more correctly, a Flerken, creatures that look like Earth cats but can eat anything, aided by tentacles they can produce out of their mouth to help swallow large objects, or Kree soldiers. Goose is the reason Jackson’s Nick Fury wears an eye-patch, accidentally scratching his eye. He should be thankful that Goose didn’t swipe at his Agents of SHIELD.

Mr. Jinx in Meet the Parents (2000)

Mr. Jinx is Jack Byrne’s (Robert De Niro) beloved pet Himalayan cat, which the former CIA operative has trained to come when called, wave, and how to use the toilet, thus earning the envy of every other cat owner alive. Did Mr. Jinx purposely make poor Greg Focker’s (Ben Stiller) first encounter with his future in-laws a living hell? Short answer? Yes.

Puss in Boots in Shrek 2 (2004)

King Harold (John Cleese) is tasked by the Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) with taking Shrek (Mike Myers) out, so he hires an assassin. Pray for mercy from Puss… in Boots! From his first appearance, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) was a hit, his suave charm betrayed only by hairballs and catnip. Darn nice boots, to boot.

Lucky in ALF (1986-1990)

Planet Melmac had its peculiarities: two moons, yogurt mines, bouillabaseball (baseball, but with fish parts instead of a ball), and, oddly enough, the planet was made of melmac. Additionally, instead of cows they had cats. Yes – burgers made of calicoes and tabbies. So when Gordon Shumway, aka ALF (Paul Fusco), crash-landed in the Tanner’s garage on Earth, the family cat, Lucky, had good reason to fear. Thankfully, as ALF was welcomed into the family, he grew to see Lucky as more than lunch. He became the lowest of Melmacians, in fact: a cat-lover.

Toonces in Saturday Night Live (1989-1993)

Between 1989 and 1993, one of the most popular recurring sketches involved Toonces, the Cat Who Could Drive a Car. Toonces is the family pet of Lyle (Steve Martin) and Brenda (victoria jackson) Clark, which to their immense delight could drive the family car. Just not very well. Each skit would end with a “Toonces, look out!” and stock footage of the car going over a cliff and hitting bottom, or exploding.

Snowball I II III IV V in The Simpsons (1989-Present)

For the record, the Simpsons’ pet greyhound Santa’s Little Helper has been around since the very first episode, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”. Snowball, the pet cat?

  • Snowball I: Snowball I was already dead by the time the first episode came out, hit by a Chrysler driven by Mayor Quimby’s drunk brother, Clovis.
  • Snowball II: Lisa (Yeardley Smith) gets Snowball II in the first episode, and she lasts up until Season 15, when Dr. Hibbert (Harry Shearer) runs her over with his Hummer.
  • Snowball III: The first of three (!) cats in the Season 15 episode “I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot”, Snowball III arrives in the Simpsons home, Lisa leaves the room to get him some food, and… drowned kitty, mistaking the aquarium for an all-you-can-eat fish buffet.
  • Snowball IV: Dubbed “Coltrane” at the shelter, Lisa brings him home, plays some jazz music, and kitty leaps out the window to his death to avoid listening to it. Critics, amIright?
  • Snowball V: The current iteration of Snowball – not dead yet – was given to Lisa by Crazy Cat Lady (Tress MacNeille). Number five looks like number two, so while she’s Snowball V in the line-up, Lisa names her Snowball II. You can only buy so many food dishes with Roman numerals.