With the trailer for the upcoming film CATS, based off the original Broadway musical, taking the internet by storm, it is fair to say audiences have always loved and been fascinated by felines. Ancient Egypt held cats in the highest esteem, having strict penalties for harming one, and worshipped a cat goddess. Hilary Clinton once admitted in an interview during the 2016 election that she watches a lot of cat videos to cope with stress. But outside of YouTube and real life, cats have had an incredible history in film. Here are the top 10 cats in cinema, in no particular order. Fair warning, I am only including characters who are or look like a domesticated house cat.
Jonesy from the Alien franchise
Jonesy is the famous cat aboard the USCSS Nostromo who also happens to be Ellen Ripley’s pet. Jonesy spends his days on the ship chasing down pesky pets who somehow smuggled aboard including but not limited to mice and Xenomorphs. Jonesy can be found in the original sci-fi horror classic Alien and its also fantastic sequel, Aliens.
Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The Cheshire Cat is not only one of the most well-known cats in cinema, he is also one of the most well-known cats in literature. Debuting in the Disney classic Alice in Wonderland, based off Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Chesire Cat mostly speaks in riddles but in his very round-about way he does end up helping Alice escape Wonderland. The Chesire Cat has also been in both of the live-action Alice in Wonderland remakes, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, as well as the video game series Kingdom Hearts.
Thackery Binx from Hocus Pocus (1993)
Thackery Binx is one of the protagonists in Hocus Pocus. He is also one of the few cats on this list that has a starring role, as opposed to a supporting on. Thackery was transformed into an immortal black cat at the beginning of the film by the three Sanders sisters and once they were hanged he was unable to turn back. Now he guards the house every Halloween night in order to prevent the sisters from returning but unfortunately was not able to stop Max Dennison from lighting the black flame candle. Thackery Binx not only has appeared in the Hocus Pocus movie but his voice-over is featured in the Not So Scary Halloween Party’s Hocus Pocus Spelltacular that takes place in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
Cat from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Cat is the famed ginger cat owned by Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn). In the movie, Holly famously does not name the cat, instead calling him Cat, because he was a “poor slob without a name.” At the climax of the film, Golightly releases Cat into the pouring rain in the midst of her mental breakdown, lamenting that they belong to no one and he is now free.
However, she immediately realizes the error of her way, finds Cat and recognizes they belong to each other, just as she belongs to Fred. Cat is played by Orangey Minerva, who was a well-known animal actor for his time. Orangey was the only cat to every win two PATSY (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year, an animal actor’s version of an Oscar) Awards, one which he received for his portrayal of Cat.
Marie from The Aristocats (1970)
Marie from Disney’s The Aristocats is a spunky cat with a whole lot of attitude. She prides herself on being a lady even as she travels through the streets and alleys with her brothers, Berlioz, and Toulouse, and mother, Dutchess, to get back to their home after being kidnapped by a butler who hoped to gain his mistress’s fortune by keeping the cats for ransom.
Marie is most famously known for her quote, “Ladies do not start fights, but they can finish them!” Additionally, Marie is the only cat from the Aristocats who frequently meets in Disney Parks, having a daily meeting spot in multiple locations.
Church from Pet Sematary (1989 and 2019)
Church, short for Winston Churchill, is tragically killed in the first act of both versions Pet Sematary. However, when Louis brings him back to life the cat’s sunken, deadly appearance and menacing demeanor show just how much the dirt at the Pet Sematary changes what is brought back. While not the only cat to appear in a horror movie on this list, Church is the only cat with truly evil intentions.
Goose from Captain Marvel
Goose was the breakout star from the now billion-dollar franchise, Captain Marvel. Goose might look like a house cat but don’t let this Flerkin fool you. Goose is a deadly space alien who successfully took out multiple Kree soldiers and hit the Tesseract on earth. Goose is based off Captain Marvel‘s cat Chewie in the comics.
JiJi from Kiki’s Delivery Service
JiJi is Kiki’s partner and friend in the classic Studio Ghibli movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. At the start of the movie Jiji can talk and communicate with Kiki but as Kiki loses faith in herself Jiji loses his ability to communicate. Throughout the movie we see Jiji fall in love with a white cat and later on start a family. Jiji is one of the most well-known cats in anime.
Mrs. Norris from the Harry Potter franchise
Mrs. Norris from the Harry Potter series is a straight-up tattle-tale. She works with her owner, Mr. Filch, to track down and find students who are out of bed past curfew or in places where they shouldn’t be. Mrs. Norris was also one of the victims that were petrified by the basilisk in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Outside of film, Mrs. Norris is also in the Harry Potter books and various video games.
Mr. Bigglesworth from the Austin Powers franchise
Mr. Bigglesworth is Dr. Evil’s pet cat. Originally, Mr. Bigglesworth was a long-haired white Persian cat but lost his hair after escaping into a cryogenic capsule. Mr. Bigglesworth is played by a Sphynx cat named SGC Belfry Ted Nude-Gent. His role as Mr. Bigglesworth was downright revolutionary because it required necessary training more often given to dogs and often deemed impossible for cats. However, scientifically speaking, Sphinxes is one of the easiest breeds of cat to train and are also one of the most sociable. While filming, there would often be delays because of Ted could be found napping in Mike Myers lap.
There are a lot of cats in cinema and even more featured in books, comics, video games, and other forms of media. What are some of your favorite cats? Also, do you agree with this list and did I miss your favorite feline? Let us know in the comments below.