Making a list of great dog movies is easy because there are so many to choose from. Great cat movies, especially non-animated ones, are a lot more scarce. Maybe it’s because felines are harder to train than their canine counterparts, or perhaps some people think they’re spooky.
Whatever the case, cat staring roles are few and far between, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great cats in movies. For every That Darned Cat, there are a hundred cats like the one that sat on Vito Corleone’s lap in The Godfather, setting tones for films. It’s time the greatest movie cats received recognition for their efforts.
10/10 Goose Is An Avenging Feline
Goose in Captain Marvel isn’t technically a cat or a migratory bird, as the name would indicate. Instead, Goose is a member of an alien race called The Flerken, who possess human-like intelligence and look like Earth’s cats. They also have mouth tentacles and can swallow big objects, storing them in pocket dimensions in their bellies.
Goose did a great job defeating Kree soldiers and protecting the Tesseract by swallowing it. On the downside, she scratched out Nick Fury’s eye, but his eye patch is his trademark, so she gave him his identity. Most of all, Goose showed that a cat could hang with the Avengers, or at the very least, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9/10 In Space, No One Can Hear You Meow
As an efficient predator, Jonsey the cat was brought aboard the Nostromo for rodent control in the movie Alien. When a more fearsome predator, an alien xenomorph, infiltrated the ship, Jonesy’s role shifted to increasing the fear with deviously timed jump scares.
At one point, the alien had Jonesy trapped in a cage, but let the cat go, perhaps out of professional courtesy. In fact, it seemed almost as if Jonesy was working with the alien. The cat was always running off, luring crew members into the alien’s clutches. In the end, Jonesy proved to be clever, as he and Ripley were the only two living things to survive.
8/10 Mr. Jinx Has Greg’s Number
Mr. Jinx is the beloved Himalayan cat of Jack Barnes in Meet the Parents, who can come on command, wave, and use a human toilet. The cat also specializes in torture, just like his ex-CIA operative owner, who used to interrogate spies. Mr. Jinx, however, used his skills on Jack’s daughter’s boyfriend.
Driving much of the plot in which Jack is critical and suspicious of the boyfriend, Mr. Jinx specializes in making Greg look like a clumsy, lying fool. Mr. Jinx had such screen presence that Jack’s portrayer, Robert DeNiro insisted the cat be given a more prominent role in the film. That resulted in one of the most memorable cat performances ever.
7/10 Cat Has Breakfast At Tiffany’s
Orangey, the cat, played “the poor slob with no name,” aka Audrey Hepburn’s devoted feline in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but he was so much more than that one small role. The marmalade tabby played the family’s pet, Butch, in The Incredible Shrinking Man, and Mouschi, in The Diary of Anne Frank, who almost revealed her location to the Nazis.
With ten films and a handful of TV roles to his credit, Orangey was referred to as the hardest-working cat in show business. His final role was appropriately alongside Eartha Kitt as Catwoman’s sidekick in the 60s TV series Batman. Orangey will be remembered as the first true feline superstar.
6/10 Buttercup Wasn’t In Orange Is The New Black
In The Hunger Games book, Primrose Everdeen’s cat, Buttercup, is a scruffy yellow tabby, but in the film, much to the fans’ outrage, he is played by a black and white tuxedo cat. This glaring oversight was corrected for the remainder of the films with proper cat casting, though they didn’t find one with a mashed-in nose and half an ear missing.
Coincidentally, Katniss Everdeen didn’t get along very well with her sister’s cat, Buttercup. All of that changed in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire when the ice thawed between the two over their mutual homesickness. By The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, the bond between Katniss and Buttercup was complete as they mourn the death of Prim.
5/10 Pyewacket Enchants In Bell, Book, And Candle
Pyewacket is the name of a familiar spirit, described as an imp, that witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins discovered in the employ of a witch in 1664 England. In the 1958 film Bell, Book, and Candle, Pyewacket is a brown seal point Siamese cat who is the familiar of modern witch Gillian Holroyd.
Decidedly less evil than a demon, the film Pyewacket was quite the matchmaker. The cat’s enchanting charm was essential in bringing Gillian together were her true love, Shep. With an eerie but lovable stare, Pyewacket mesmerized audiences in a truly iconic cat role.
4/10 There’s Something About Keanu
Though not a magical cat, Keanu may be the most enchanted feline in movie history, with the power to melt the hearts of even the most hardened criminal. The brown tabby kitten is so appealing that a Mexican cartel went to war with the “Blips” street gang, and a couple of average suburban guys risked their lives trying to get him back.
All kittens are cute, but Keanu is next-level gorgeous, with intangible desirability. Men are willing to kidnap, kill, and torture to get that special kitty in their lives. As if Keanu wasn’t already adorable enough, it’s revealed he has a particular disease that will keep him a kitten forever. Even “gansta’d up,” he’s still a sweetheart.
3/10 The Tiger Might Have Been A Little Hung Over Too
The only thing more dangerous than stealing a tiger is taking one from boxing legend Mike Tyson. In The Hangover, Phil, Stu, Doug, and Alan, made off with the former heavyweight champ’s tiger in a stolen police car, and brought it back to their Vegas strip villa. The real peril happened when Tyson tracked down the guys and made them return his big cat.
In a story where each event is more outrageous than the last, the addition of the tiger made this movie one of the most over-the-top comedies ever. They say good comedy is based on reality and what helped this film nail it was the fact that Mike Tyson was known for owning 3 Bengal tigers. It wasn’t one of his tigers in the movie; he had to get rid of them after one tried to eat his neighbor’s dog.
2/10 Church Foreshadows Doom In Pet Cemetery
Sometimes dead is better, and nothing proves that more than Church, the undead cat from Pet Cemetery. Going against some solid advice, Louis buried Church in the sour ground of the pet “Semetery” in hopes of sparing his daughter the pain of losing a pet. But, unfortunately, what returned was a vile, evil version of Church that wasn’t entirely feline anymore.
The lessons of the Church fiasco went unlearned by Louis as he then buried his deceased son Gage in the pet cemetery, returning him as a homicidal toddler. Louis was incapable of recognizing patterns, so he buried his wife Rachel in the ancient Miꞌkmaq burial ground, and she came back to stab him. Not only is Church the most iconic horror cat, but he is also the ultimate harbinger of impending doom.
1/10 Mr. Bigglesworth Is The Best Movie Cat By A Hair
There is no more memorable movie cat than Dr. Evil’s pet, Mr. Bigglesworth, from the Austin Powers film franchise. The champion purebred hairless Sphynx doesn’t factor into any of the stories other than to get gnawed on by Mini Me, but he is no less important. Mr. Bigglesworth’s purpose is to accentuate the sheer absurdity of Dr. Evil’s character.
In a nod to Blofeld’s cat in From Russia With Love, Mr. Bigglesworth started out as a fluffy white Persian, but after being cryogenically frozen for decades, emerged completely hairless. Like his owner Dr. Evil, Mr. Bigglesworth is bald and a bit devious. “When Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people die,” and so do audiences from laughter at this farcical feline companion.
NEXT: 10 Movies Where The Cat Steals The Show