August 8 is International Cat Day, and you don’t need to have (or even love) cats to celebrate!
Cats have made for some of our favorite characters in movies, usually providing the rational voice of reason or sassy sayings (if they can even talk). What better way to pay tribute to our feline friends than by remembering some of the most iconic cat appearances on the big screen and watching the classic films they come from?
Here are a few of the many memorable cat appearances in the world of film, including both animated and live-action kitties.
Vito’s Cat, The Godfather (1972)
Although in desperate need of more screentime, this furry feline definitely added an interesting element to the opening scene of The Godfather. What else could a mafia action drama need more than an appearance from a playful little kitty? The fact that it was said to have just been a stray wandering around the Paramount studio lot just makes it even more endearing.
Based on Mario Puzo’s groundbreaking novel of the same title, follow along with the story of the hard-edged Italian American Corleone family. Pushed into the family business, youngest son Michael Corleone is fully dropped into the life of violence and crime.
Puss in Boots, Shrek 2 (2004)
For a charismatic cat with a bit more contribution to the plot, we have Puss in Boots. There are many renditions of this adventurous feline character, though the image of Puss in Boots that we have come to know and love today made his first appearance in a just as unforgettable animated series: Shrek 2. The character of Puss in Boots was so popular that it spawned his own spinoff movies with the third installment even coming out in December of this year.
After the happily ever after of their first movie, Fiona and Shrek return to their beloved swamp and are greeted with an invitation from Fiona’s parents to return to their palace. In the kingdom of Far Far Away, Fiona’s parents are shocked to see two ogres in the place of their beloved beautiful daughter and her prince charming.
Angus, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)
This cat is so iconic he even made it on the title and on the t-shirt of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character! What better way to snag a guy than by bonding over your shared love of cats and pretending that yours is missing? Angus is strong enough to pull away from his leash and chase a standard-sized poodle, but still gets put in the freezer by Georgia’s younger sister Libby.
Georgia Nicholson is 14 years old and pining for Robbie, a new student at her school (one part of a dreamy fraternal twin duo). Finding out what maturity actually means, worrying about the state of her parent’s marriage, and her nose – Georgia Nicholson learns that being a teen is a whole complicated mess.
Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Who can ever forget that uh, let’s say… beautiful… smile? Part creepy, part cute, the Cheshire Cat seems to be one of the all-knowing characters in Alice in Wonderland, but his mischievous nature prevents him from giving straight-to-the-point advice. This only adds to the excitement of the plot as Alice tries to decode his many riddles and clues.
This 1951 film is based on Lewis Caroll’s 1865 novel of the same name and was later followed by early to mid-2010s Disney remakes starring Mia Wasikowska in the titular role. The appearance of the Cheshire Cat in the story of Alice has been attributed as the muse for other creators such as Hayao Miyazaki and Neil Gaiman in including cat guides in their own stories.
Cat, Coraline (2009)
Speaking of Neil Gaiman, his classic novel turned classic movie may be viewed as a darker retelling of Alice in Wonderland. In this retelling we have the helpful and informative Cat, initially referred to by Coraline as a “Wuss Puss”. But this Wuss Puss soon became the best support she could have as she navigated and fought her way through the world of the Other Mother.
Enter the world of the Other Mother through a small eerie door in the new home of Coraline Jones. To Coraline, everything in this world is perfect. The food is amazing, her clothes are fabulous, and her neighbors are a joy. Coraline eagerly awaits her nightly visits until one day the Other Mother doesn’t let her leave.
Moon/Muta, Whisper of the Heart (1995)
This vagabond cat that knows how to commute could be considered the cupid of this story. Moon, also known as Muta, leads curious Shizuku Tsukishima on a quick journey around town and brings her to a magical antique shop. Moon may seem unbothered, but he is always there in the important moments.
Unsure about her future, Shizuku Tsukishima plans to read 20 books before the summer is over. In the books she borrows from the library, she notices one name that keeps popping up: Seiji Amasawa. More than just books bringing them together, faith (and a cat) also seem to intervene. Discovering more about one another and their dreams for the future, this Studio Ghibli film is yet another one for the books.
Cat, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Not to be confused with Cat from Coraline this “poor slob without a name” appeared alongside the timeless Audrey Hepburn. Deserving its spot on the list, this cat goes through a lot in the film. It does some slight acrobatics jumping on furniture and people, it’s (briefly) abandoned in the rain, serves as a makeshift alarm clock, and is even smushed against Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard as they deliver the groundbreaking film ending kiss.
Based on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name, this film follows the story of Paul Varjak, an aspiring writer, as he moves into the apartment building of the enigmatic Holly Golightly. They begin to peel back the layers of each other’s mysterious lives and find a connection in their loneliness along the way.
Orion, Men in Black (1997)
Another orange feline, this cat holds the secrets of the galaxy, quite literally. While we aren’t sure what happens to Orion at the end of the film, we do know that Orion is a fiercely loyal cat, even protecting his owner’s body at the morgue.
The Men in Black are a top-secret organization that deals with all things extraterrestrial. Rookie Agent J is recruited by veteran Agent K and shows him the ropes. With the Earth always in constant danger due to intergalactic criminals, can Agent J keep up with the demands and secrecy of his new job?
Sassy, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
As her name suggests, Sassy’s comments and comebacks are quite witty. Being the only feline is this two-dog trio, it isn’t easy being the sole voice of reason. You would think that cats and dogs are mortal enemies, though as much as the dogs and Sassy bicker with one another, they are always loyal to one another at the end of the day.
Chance, Shadow, and Sassy are dropped off by their owners at their friend’s ranch before they go on vacation. The beloved pets begin to worry that they might have been abandoned completely in this strange new place. The pets run away from the ranch and begin a long and arduous journey back to their home. Warning: may induce tears.
The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Finishing this list strong, it would be a crime not to include Mike Meyer’s iconic take on one of Dr. Seuss beloved characters: The Cat in the Hat. A mischievous and magical character, The Cat in the Hat just wants to have some fun – and maybe even teach a lesson or two while he does it.
Rule abiding Sally and rule breaking Conrad, are stuck bored at home. A mysterious thump sends them upstairs and what do they see but a human sized cat that talks! Suddenly the family’s pet fish starts talking and shows his disapproval of the cat and his methods. Though, this doesn’t stop all of them from going on a crazy ride and entering the Mother of All Messes.
Bonus: Kyo Sohma, Fruits Basket (2019-2021)
As a little treat for International Cat Day, here is another famous kitty, this time from an anime series. Based on the manga of the same name, this show originally aired in 2001, but was later remade in 2019 with the finale coming out only last year. Kyo Sohma may look like your average angsty teen until a member of the opposite sex gives him a hug or he gets sick. Possessed by the cat spirit, he must fight for redemption while also learning to accept himself just the way he is.
Tohru Honda is a warm-hearted person. When one of her classmates discovers that she is living alone in the mountains, he offers to let her stay with him. Tohru soon discovers that her new housemates aren’t just ordinary people. While the Sohma family may seem prestigious on the outside, on the inside they are afflicted with a generations old curse: some members are possessed by the spirits of the zodiac signs. The curse has created years of tension in the Sohma family, hierarchies have been created around it. Tohru Honda takes it upon herself to help this turbulent family and break the curse that has plagued them for many generations.
Celebrate International Cat Day by binging on all the cat movies and shows. Have a happy International Cat Day!
Which are your favorite famous felines?
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