With this week’s theatrical release of Puss N’ Boots, I take a look at some of our favourite felines. Cats are everything a human wants to be: they sleep a minimum of 20 hours each day, are fed, cleaned up after, can self-groom and get away with virtually every misdeed they commit.
They don’t need our love, but we shower them with adoration anyway, just like in this article…
Sylvester – Looney Tunes
As previously mentioned in an earlier post, I’m a huge fan of Sylvester the Cat. Sure, he’s not the smartest animal on the block, but he gets an ‘A’ for effort, every time out. If he ever caught that infernal Tweety Bird, the world would rejoice in a congregate more massive than the Occupy Wall Street protests. Sylvester’s son and wife also appear in some animated shorts, with his son often declaring “Mother, get the bandages,” after his father gets roughed up by any number of adversaries.
Garfield – Garfield & Friends, etc.
What’s great about Garfield is that he just doesn’t care. He only has room for a few loves in his world and that void is quickly filled by lasagne and other food, his blankie and stuffed bear. Sure, he’s occasionally nice to John and Odie, but that’s only for holiday specials like Christmas and Halloween. For this cat, it’s all about the luxuries in life. Interesting tidbit on Garfield: he was voiced by Lorenzo Music in the cartoon specials, who also voiced Peter Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. Venkman, of course, was played by Bill Murray in the movie version of Ghostbusters and Murray later voiced Garfield in his own movie and sequel.
Snowball I-V – The Simpsons
While most pet screen time is dedicated to the family dog, Santa’s Little Helper, the long line of Snowball cats have played their role in the success of the show, often being picked on and not necessarily as loved as the dog. The most famous of the five, would have to be Snowball II, who lasted the longest. After Snowball II’s death, two other cats quickly came and went, before Snowball V survived long enough to be renamed Snowball II, in order for the family to save money and not have to buy a new food dish.
Bucky Katt – Get Fuzzy
Bucky isn’t as well known as some of the other felines on this list, but he’s above and beyond, one of the funniest. Bucky is a terror to his owner Rob and roommate Satchel (a Sharpie-Labrador cross). A lot of the humour in Get Fuzzy comes from the pets’ misunderstanding of human words and actions and Bucky is a master of the misinterpretation. He’s also constantly scheming for money, food or domination over the apartment, which often results in his being grounded in his closet.
Puss N’ Boots – Shrek
The little kitty is clever and cunning. He lures his foes in with his deep, dark, sad eyes and once they are mesmerized, out comes the sword and the fight is on. Puss is a furry version of Zorro and not coincidentally is voiced by Antonio Banderas, who played the iconic swordsman in recent times. As mentioned above, Puss is now branching out into his own movie, where he will no doubt carry on the Dreamworks record of success. The merchandising opportunities alone with this venture are mind boggling and will likely make everyone involved a very rich person.
Toonces the Driving Cat – Saturday Night Live
Can you imagine a cat driving a car? How would it even hold onto the steering wheel, given kitties lack opposable thumbs? Well, this cat could drive… just not very well. Every sketch he was in, Toonces drives his family off the road and over a cliff, sometimes ending in a horrific explosion. Still, the little guy managed to get his own SNL 30-minute special and that’s saying something!
Stimpy – Ren & Stimpy
Stimpson J. Cat is the least intelligent cat on this list, by leaps and bounds, not that this would bother him that much. Stimpy and roommate Ren (an abusive, always angry Chihuahua) wreaked havoc on TV screens for five seasons. Ren & Stimpy, with the gross out humour and gratuitous violence, opened the door for cartoons to be edgier and have more adult themes, ushering shows such as Beavis and Butthead, South Park, and basically every show in The Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming. Their song “Don’t Wizz on the Electric Fence” is a favourite of mine to this day!
Tom – Tom & Jerry
Poor, poor Tom. No matter how hard he tries, Jerry always manages to elude him and Tom usually winds up with a boo-boo. Therefore, I always liked it best when Tom and Jerry teamed up. After all, the two have been around since the 1940’s, which is a long time to be continually chasing one another. The duo’s long standing rivalry has had an influence on other media, including on The Simpsons (see Scratchy below) and even Jackass star Johnny Knoxville credits the tandem for inspiring some of the stunts the troupe attempt.
Cheshire Cat – Alice in Wonderland
Nothing beats a hallucinogenic cat, who doesn’t really solve any problems when it appears… just creates more confusion. Still, it’s easy to find a soft place in your heart for the purple-and-pink-striped fur ball (as depicted in Disney’s animated take on the Lewis Carroll classic). While the Disney adaptation is likely the most recognized of all the Cheshire Cats, the feline has been depicted or referenced in numerous other works. There is some debate as to whether the Cheshire Cat is good or bad. In my world, all cats are great.
Scratchy – The Simpsons
The constant enemy of Itchy the Mouse, Scratchy is often abused and tormented by Itchy. Apparently, though, one rare episode exists where Scratchy gets the best of Itchy, kind of like if Wile E. Coyote ever got his hands on that stupid Roadrunner. The two don’t team up very often, but when dispatching of Poochy – the hip skateboarding dog, voiced by Homer Simpson, which joined there cast for a total of two whole episodes (one to debut and one to exit) – they became quick allies.
Cats that didn’t do much, but still made us laugh:
Zazzles – Big Bang Theory
Mr. Bigglesworth – Austin Powers
Lucky – Alf
Tiddles – Are You Being Served?
Mr. Kitty – South Park