Meow Mix: The 100 Most Iconic Cats in Movies

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75. King Leonidas, Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

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As part of her quest to find a Nazi-stopping spell, fledgling witch Miss Price (Angela Lansbury) and crew end up on the mythical Island of Naboombu. The king of the animals-only island, a short-tempered lion named Leonidas, has an amulet with an incantation she needs, so Mr. Brown (David Tomlinson) agrees to referee a soccer game to make the King happy. All goes well until King Leonidas notices his necklace is missing and chases down the humans. Luckily, Miss Price knows a handy spell for turning anyone (temporarily) into a rabbit. Back home, she has her own feline familiar, a black cat named Cosmic Creepers, who enjoys chasing whomever happens to be a rabbit at the moment.


74. Philip Marlowe’s cat, The Long Goodbye (1973)

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Robert Altman’s version of the Raymond Chandler classic is a bit of a shaggy dog story, but it all begins with Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould)’s orange kitty, who awakens the P.I. at 3 a.m. to be fed. But Marlowe is out of cat food and the mishmash he makes is rightly rejected by the “cockamamie cat,” despite his telling it, “Think of all the tigers in India they’re killing because they don’t get enough to eat.” He goes out to get some real cat food, but buys the wrong brand and is unable to convince the finicky feline to eat it.


73. Dandelo,The Fly (1958)

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At the beginning of this sci-fi classic as François Delambre (Vincent Price) tries to solve the mystery of his brother Andre’s death, he insists that Andre would never experiment on animals, saying, “Helene and Andre believed in the sacredness of life.They wouldn’t harm anything. Not even a fly.” But we later learn that’s not true. Before trying his new teleporter himself, he tries it out with the family’s fluffy white cat. And that’s the last we ever see of poor Dandelo, although we continue to hear his mysterious mewing from beyond.


72. Jasmine, Secondhand Lions (2003)

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Eccentric brothers Hub (Robert Duvall) and Garth (Michael Caine) spend their mysterious fortune on such outlandish things as a man-eating lion so they can hold their own safari in rural Texas. Except when the lion arrives, it’s an elderly lioness who won’t even get out of her crate. “You bought a lion? A used lion?” great-nephew Walter (Haley Joel Osment) marvels. Once it’s agreed that it “wouldn’t be sporting” to shoot the lion in a cage, Walter volunteers to look after her since his itinerant mother never let him have a pet before. He names the lion Jasmine and once she chases off his great-uncles’ annoying relatives, she’s welcomed into the family. She ends up hanging out in the cornfield, which is the closest thing to a jungle she’s seen in years.


71. Ruh, The Beastmaster (1982)

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The “black tiger” of Dar (Marc Singer) in this fantasy film was an ordinary tiger dyed black. A persistent rumor that the tiger died because the paint was toxic appears to be unsubstantiated. However, the dying process required the tiger to be sedated, and one of the tigers used reportedly died under anesthesia. On Straight Dope, a reader shared this email from Boone’s Animal’s for Hollywood: “The dye we used was very similar to food dye and had no effect on them. Very similar to the rumor that the girl in Goldfinger died from the gold paint. Nope!” Director Don Coscarelli wanted to use black leopards, but the animal trainers told him that they were too skittish to work with.


70. Black Cat, Tales From the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

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In “The Cat From Hell” segment (based on a story by Stephen King and written for the screen by George Romero), a black cat gets revenge on an elderly man (William Hickey) whose pharmaceutical company has killed thousands of cats in lab experiments. After his sister, her friend, and the butler are killed by the cat, the old man brings in a hit man (David Johansen) to take it out. But the cat has the last laugh in a gruesome ode to Alien.


69. The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther (1963)

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The “pink panther” of the title is really a rare pink diamond, but in this clever animated title sequence, we zoom inside the diamond to see an elegant cartoon panther with a cigarette holder and a monocle. He’s pursued by a cartoon inspector, naturally leaving pink paw prints as he goes, all set to Henry Mancini’s inimitable theme song. The film led to several sequels and the Pink Panther—who never speaks—got his own cartoon series.


68. Karloff’s cat, The Black Cat (1934)

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Although the titular black cat isn’t in this striking horror classic long, it serves as a metaphor for undying evil—and made for some very striking publicity photos and posters. Two honeymooners in Hungary find themselves caught between the bitter rivalry between Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff) and Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Bela Lugosi). Poelzig is strangely understanding when Werdegast panics upon seeing his pet cat and kills it. As Poelzig explains to his guests, “You must be indulgent with Dr. Werdegast’s weakness… He has an intense and all-consuming horror of cats.” Although Poelzig goes on to remind his enemy: “The Black Cat does not die…[it is] deathless as Evil.”


67. Tigers, Gladiator (2000)

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Yes, those are real tigers that Maximus (Russell Crowe) fights, but the actor was never close enough to them to do any real damage. But just in case, there was a vet with tranquilizer darts standing by on set. Those near-misses as the cats claw at Maximus are thanks to the tigers being digitally composited into the scene. The original script had Maximus fighting rhinos, not tigers, but you can’t train rhinos, as it turns out, and the CGI ones looked terrible.


66. Clawhauser, Zootopia (2016)

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This donut-loving cheetah (voiced by Nate Torrence) is the Zootopia Police Department’s extremely cheerful receptionist and the first to meet rookie cop Judy Hops. His friendliness to Judy cools after she uncovers an epidemic of predators reverting to their prey-killing natures and all the predators are demoted. (And let’s not forget Zootopia Mayor Lionheart, who is, of course, a lion.)


65. Tiger, The Hangover (2009)

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Waking up with a terrible hangover to discover you’ve lost a tooth or that there’s someone else’s baby in your hotel suite is one thing, but opening the bathroom door to find a pissed-off tiger is an entirely different level of “Oh shit!” Especially when our heroes discover it belongs to none other than Iron Mike Tyson. The surveillance video of their drunkenly abducting the tiger the night before doesn’t really help matters much.


64. Black cat, The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)

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In the final Roger Corman/Vincent Price film based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe, the spirit of a man’s late wife haunts his gloomy mansion in the form of a black cat. The cat first appears on Ligeia’s tomb as the local clergyman tells Verden Fell (Price) he cannot bury his non-Christian wife on sacred ground. When a new woman appears in his life, the cat scratches her face before she can kiss him. The two marry, but Ligeia isn’t about to let her husband go.


63. White cat, The Legacy (1978)

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Interior designers Maggie (Katharine Ross) and boyfriend Pete (Sam Elliott) receive a lucrative job offer in England. Before they can report to work, a road accident strands them at the mysterious estate of the very wealthy Jason Mountolive. When fellow guests start dying (including Roger Daltrey), they realize something sinister is afoot—and we realize that the white-capped Nurse Adams (Margaret Tyzack) and the white cat of the household are never in the same room at the same time.


62. Blanche, Hausu (1977)

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In what is surely one of the most dementedly odd horror films of all time, a white Persian seems to be on the scene every time a young schoolgirl dies. Or is it the quaint old farmhouse itself that’s killing them all off, one by one? You can’t forget the scene where the cat’s portrait turns into the demonic cartoon cat of the film’s iconic poster and begins spurting blood. Bad kitty!


61. Mrs. Norris, Harry Potter films

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The mean-spirited cat of Argus Filch, Hogwarts’ equally unpleasant caretaker, was no favorite of the students. In the books, she’s described as having bulging yellow, lamp-like eyes, a scrawny, skeletal body and dust-colored fur, but in the film looks like an ordinary enough long-haired tabby. Other cats in the Potterverse include Crookshanks, Hermione Granger’s cat, who is half-Kneazle (a highly intelligent magical cat), as well as Hermione herself, who once turned herself into a kitty with a spell gone wrong. And last but not least, Professor Minerva McGonagall is an animagus who can turn herself into a silver tabby.


60. Bob, A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)

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The real Bob plays himself in this uplifting biopic about a drug addict and busker whose encounter with a stray ginger cat helps turn his life around. Bob, clad in his usual red scarf, also attended the film’s London premiere. He couldn’t be bothered to act impressed when he meet Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, however.


59. Koumal and Sangha, Two Brothers (2004)

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Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear) directed this story about two orphaned tigers who are separated as cubs. The good news is that neither dies, although one ends up in a circus with a cruel trainer. When they’re finally reunited a year later, they’re sicced on each other as entertainment for the crowds—until they recognize each other and begin playing like cubs again. They are finally returned to the jungle in a long overdue happy ending.


58. Killer lions, The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

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Based on the real story of two man-eating lions in Kenya in 1898, who reportedly ate as many as 130 people. Remarkably, there is only one scene involving an animatronic lion in the film. “The Ghost” and “The Darkness” were played by real lions named Bongo and Caesar, who also appeared in George of the Jungle.


57. Cat, Coraline (2009)

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This scraggly looking black cat with torn ears is more overtly supernatural in Neil Gaiman’s book, but he still possesses some unusual abilities in the animated film, including being able to speak in The Other World. However, he is not, as he tells Coraline, a different version of himself there, “No. I’m not the Other anything. I’m me,” he tells her. (He’s voiced by Keith David.) He helps Coraline escape from the evil Other Mother, who, incidentally, hates cats.


56. Black cat, Kuroneko (1968)

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In Kaneto Shindo’s beautifully stylized horror film, a woman and her daughter-in-law are raped and murdered by a group of samurais. They return from the dead as ghosts bent on drinking the blood of all samurai. The younger woman waits at night for traveling samurai, then lures them back to her house where they are plied with saké before she tears out their throat. The black cat that mourned them in death, seems to have been the spirit who granted them life after death and now they have a cat’s grace and menace as they prey on their sworn enemy.


55. Alex, Madagascar (2005)

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Alex (Ben Stiller) is the main attraction at the Central Park Zoo, where he’s BFFs with Marty the zebra (Chris Rock). Much like fellow cartoon character Snagglepuss, he’s happiest when in captivity and being hand-fed steak. So he has a hard time adjusting to life in the wilds of Madagascar and almost (gasp!) eats Marty in a moment of desperation!


54. Catbus, My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

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If the Cheshire Cat were a bus, it would look just like the fanciful Catbus, who has glowing eyes for headlights and twelve legs. He’s also got rats with pink eyes as tail lights and a rotating destination banner like any other bus. Once you’re on board, the seats are just as furry and breathe along with him. As it turns out, he can fly, jog daintily over telephone wires and—like any cat—jump from a great height and land gracefully on his feet. Since he’s a part of the same magical woodland as Totoro, the trees part as he runs through them. Like the Cheshire Cat, he likes to perch in a tree or on the roof, grinning. And when he bids goodbye, he disappears just like the cat from Alice in Wonderland.


53. Binx, Hocus Pocus (1993)

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Binx the talking cat (voiced by James Marsden) helps defeat the wicked Sanderson sisters in this Disney favorite. He began life as a regular boy back in the 17th century, but was turned into a black cat by Winifred (Bette Midler). Since then, he guards against the three witches’ return every Halloween. When they’re accidentally brought back, he makes it his mission to send them packing, even if it means the end of his own immortality.


52. Snowbell, Stuart Little (1999)

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The Littles’ Persian Snowbell (peevishly voiced by Nathan Lane) is understandably less than pleased when the family adopts Stuart (Michael J. Fox). When the word gets out among his cat chums that he’s got a mouse for a brother, he’s a laughingstock. He asks tough tomcat Smokey (Chazz Palminteri) to get Stuart out of the picture for good. But, realizing how much Stuart means to the Littles, Snowbell comes through in the end, turning on his friends and helping Stuart get back home.


51. Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, The Cat Returns (2002)

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After a girl saves a cat from being run over, she’s inundated with gifts from the cat’s family. It seems he’s a prince and now his father, the Cat King wants her to marry his son! There are many colorful cat characters in this anime spin on The Wizard of Oz, but the most memorable is the dashing Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, who sports a top hat and suit and is voiced by Princess Bride star Cary Elwes in the U.S. version. Baron first appeared in another Studio Ghibli film, 1995’s Whisper of the Heart.

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