I’m cat-sitting at the moment, and feel as if I’ve been thrust into a strange new world.
My clothes are covered in hair, I’m beholden to feline feeding schedules, and there’s cute fluffy things that come up and headbutt my legs at random times.
I haven’t had a cat of my own for a long time, but they are one of my favourite animals. They’re so fluffy and cute! And although affectionate, they’re independent enough that they’re not a stress.
Playing with the moggies got me thinking about pets on TVs, specifically those of the kitty variety, so here are the cream of the cat crop:
Miss Kitty Fantastico (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Tara and Willow’s decision to get a pet was a sign of the seriousness of their relationship, and her ridiculous name was, I guess, a sign that love really does make you do the wacky. Not only was Miss Fantastico a cutie in general, she got to be a bona fide badass in the dream episode ‘Restless’- stalking around like a lion.
Her demise was sad- if only alluded to rather than shown- but it does give you yet another reason to feel vindicated in your dislike of Dawn, if you’re that way inclined. (And I most certainly am.)
Snowball II (The Simpsons)
The original Snowball II was named after the Simpson family’s first cat, who was called Snowball due to her white fur. After Snowball II was hit by a car and killed they went through a few more replacements, and Snowball V (who looked identical to numero dos) was the one that stuck around- and was consequently renamed Snowball II by Lisa, because apparently that would be less confusing. Although this parade of pussies haven’t been super-important to the plot (and don’t have an origins tale as sweet and interesting as Santa’s Little Helper, the family dog) they’re part of the Simpsons world- which is packed with recurring minor characters.
Plus there’s always room for a cat or two in the Hallowe’en special ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episodes.
insane cat in the basement (Community)
It’s nigh on impossible to screencap a picture of the screeching super-fast cat that Jeff, Troy and Abed found in the basement in the zombified Hallowe’en episode ‘Epidemiology’; it was flailing around so fast that Troy was moved to ask if somebody was throwing it. The feral distraction lampooned the cat scare trope often seen in horror movies- where the tension is ramped up unbearably and then released when it turns out that it was only the cat– plus it gave them an excuse to hide in the basement and pretend to be working on something important.
At least until the infected “zombies” came to them…
Mrs Slocombe’s pussy (Are You Being Served?)
Although Betty Slocombe’s cat- named Tiddles- was rarely seen on screen that didn’t stop it being a very memorable character. (And not only because the apparent tomcat gave birth to a litter of kittens at one point).
Are You Being Served? is memorable for its use of (awesome/ly awful) double entendres and sexual innuendo- exemplified by basically anything Mrs Slocombe said about her pussy. Ever.
Tabby (The Worst Witch)
As in the books that the TV series was based on, Mildred Hubble received a tabby cat (which she inventively named Tabby) instead of a black familiar like the other girls at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Tabby seemed like a sign that Mildred wasn’t supposed to be at the school; that she wasn’t a real witch. Her clumsiness, impulsiveness and the fact that she didn’t come from a magical family (she was dealing with discrimination against Muggle-borns before J. K. Rowling had even invented the term!) made her the worst student in the school, at least initially.
However her creativity and tenacity helped her to become an accomplished witch, and Tabby- who she grew to love- became more of a positive symbol of uniqueness than a sign of Mildred’s uselessness.
Salem (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch)
Salem, a megalomaniacal warlock, was sentenced to spend 100 years as a cat without his powers as punishment for his attempt to take over the world. Although frustrated by this (and often trying to find ways to regain his powers) and somewhat embarrassed (he didn’t really want to see his daughter in his furry state, for example) he had a pretty cushy life living with the Spellman family. He clearly got on with them, especially Sabrina to whom he became a sort of mentor- albeit one who gave some awful advice sometimes.
He was also clearly the show’s best character- with his one-liners, ridiculous puns and general provision of comic relief.
Tom (Tom and Jerry)
I always felt bad for poor Tom. He was just being a cat, trying to protect his household from skanky rodents, but was constantly thwarted. And to add injury to insult, he not only wasn’t able to catch the mouse he was chasing, he was usually hurt a lot in the process! Itchy & Scratchy– the cartoon within a cartoon that the characters of The Simpsons often watch which parodied Tom and Jerry– depicted the mouse character as incredibly aggressive, with good reason.
Similarly, Looney Tunes‘ Sylvester clearly deserves people’s sympathies- that Tweety bird was annoying.
Lord Tubbington (Glee)
Brittany’s gossipmongering overweight cat was seen co-hosting Fondue for Two, her internet talk show. Brittany herself is clearly one of Glee‘s most entertaining characters, and when a pet whom she’s pissed at because he’s apparently started smoking again got added to the mix, clearly things could only get better.
The show needs more annoyed looking animals spreading rumours, and less attempted drama about Rachel’s love life. Yawn.
The Halliwell sisters- a gaggle of good witches- picked up their very own familiar, a cat named Kit. She helped to protect and guide them when they first learnt about witchcraft, and was once used as a handy spell-carrying messenger to free those trapped in a painting. She was rewarded for her service to the Charmed Ones by becoming a human, one called…Katrina.
Oh, I see what you did there show, very witty!
the cat that got the scream (Supernatural)
This cat might not have technically been an important character, or have really added much of significance to the plot, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love it. The usually courageous Dean Winchester, while infected with Ghost Sickness which made him increasingly fearful, screaming like a little girl at an innocent bystander of a cat will never not be funny. FACT.
So who are your favourite fictional felines?