Over the years, felines have featured prominently in many movies, both live action and animated. From cute and cuddly to ferocious and ill-tempered, cats have been just as integral to many films as their human costars.
In live-action films, several cats have played memorable roles. The classic 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s showcased a male orange tabby cat named Orangey. Named just as “Cat” in the movie, he played a central role, and his story of being tossed away and then found at the movie’s happy conclusion mirrored the love story of the principal characters.
Orangey was trained by the animal handler Frank Inn and enjoyed roles in many movies throughout the 1950s and 60s. He starred in Rhubarb, The Incredible Shrinking Man and The Diary of Anne Frank and was credited under various names, including “Rhubarb” and “Jimmy.” He was the only cat to win two Patsy Awards, the animal world’s equivalent of winning an Oscar. Another classic cat to feature in a live action film was the cat who played Rufus in the 1977 film The Rescuers.
More recent times have seen many other famous cats on the silver screen. Milo the cat was one of the title characters in the touching 1989 film Milo and Otis.
“Mr. Jinx,” a Himalayan cat, had many pivotal and comedic scenes in the Meet The Parents movies of the early 2000s. Treated as a true member of the family, he belongs to Robert DeNiro’s character and is treated as a signal cat.
Anyone he likes is deemed safe, but those he doesn’t favor are viewed as unsavory. Sassie, another Himalayan cat, was the principal cat in the 1993 movie Homeward Bound, about three animals and their journey home.
Crookshanks, a ginger cat, was Hermione’s cat in the Harry Potter movie series and could often be seen prowling the Hogwart’s corridors.
“Talking” cats in live action films have also gained fame and were especially successful in children’s stories.
The 1993 live-action film Hocus Pocus featured a talking black cat named Binx, who guided children to safety on Halloween.
In the end, it turned out he wasn’t a cat at all, but a human who had been placed under a spell to live as a cat for 400 years. With the children’s help, he is transformed back into his human form.
Cats have been the beloved principal characters in many animated movies, particularly those by Disney. The Aristocats follows the friendship and adventures of three cats: a “high-society” cat, an alley cat, and a “jazz” cat. The Cheshire Cat is a main feature of the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland.
From principal stars to lighter roles, live-action to animated, cats have been essential characters in many films across the decades. These talented cats shine on the silver screen and bring joy to all who watch them.