Even cat lovers agree that their favorite animals can get a little spooky sometimes. They’re mysterious, fierce, and probably not the friendliest creatures on the planet. It’s no surprise that cats have been the subjects of many horror and suspense films in the past. Cats can definitely give a good fright as evident from the films listed below. Here are 20 of the scariest cats we’ve ever come across in movies and TV.
Pet Sematary (1989)
There’s no shock here. Stephen King’s novel scared fans all over the world, but the movie adaptation brought the fear to life. Pet Sematary is a misspelling of an actual cemetery in the story’s small town. It’s where children buried their pets after they’ve died. There’s a lot of talk about death in the film, and that alone was traumatizing. What’s worse was the existence of Church, the main characters’ cat. Church was run over and died. He also happened to have been buried at the pet sematary. However, not too long after he was buried, he came back to life but only as a different pet. He was no longer the Church they knew; he had become slightly more violent and dreary. Of course, all of these only foretold what was really going to happen in the story. Church dies again later on, and whether he came back to use the rest of his lives, only Stephen King will know.
The Uncanny (1977)
This movie is proof that cats aren’t always cuddly. The Uncanny is part of a series of anthology films during the 60s and 70s. A few of these films feature cats as the main antagonists, pure evil and revenge in four-legged forms. The film features three stories, all of which involved a cat in disturbing action. In two of these stories, the cat owner was somehow killed and the cat avenges the death. In the third story, a young girl named Lucy and her cat Wellington experiences hardships together after Lucy’s parents’ death. Lucy was evil in her own right, and whether she was acting under the influence of her cat was not clear.
Night of the Demon (1957)
Demons and satanic cults are what are scary in this movie, and of course the tool of the trade happened to be a cat. The cat in question is Dr. Julian Kaswell’s demon cat, which attacks one of the main characters in the movie, Dr. John Holden. The entire movie is basically a rivalry between Holden and Kaswell, and we see all the lives entangled between the rivals. There’s also the supernatural undertone that drives the entire movie. Holden happens to be a supernatural snob, a skeptic of the usual sort, who was determined to prove that Kaswell is a fake. Kaswell happens to be a devil cult leader and invites Holden to stay at his estate for the duration of the paranormal symposium that was happening in London. Let’s just say that Holden accepts the invitation and everything goes downhill from there. Holden believes that Karswell curses him, and Holden then works to reverse the curse.
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
If there’s one cat versus human battle scene you could watch, it should be this one. Cindy, who’s played by Anna Faris, goes through the ultimate catfight as the manor’s black cat attacks her with such unbelievable ferocity, it’s actually kind of scary. The Scary Movie franchise has been profiting by poking fun at many mainstream horror films. The film is meant to be a comedy, obviously, but everyone has to agree that the cat is just a bit freaky. Try watching the clip with your volume turned down, and the effect just intensifies. A chuckle might still slip out eventually, but don’t be surprised if the cat appears in a nightmare one night.
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)
As if the classic story of Hansel and Gretel isn’t already creepy enough, this movie takes it all to the next level. Tales from the Darkside is an anthology film that features a modern-day suburban witch and the young boy she’s about to eat. The boy, Timmy, tells Betty the witch three tales to bide the time before he’s eaten. One of these stories is called Cat from Hell. In the story, a homeowner hires a hitman to solve his cat problem. The homeowner, Drogan, believes that the cat he’s living with now killed the previous three occupants of the house. Drogan also believes that the cat is after some revenge since thousands of other cats were killed at the company he runs. The most epic scene in the film is when the hitman is looking for the cat in the dark house, when the cat jumps to attack him right on his face. Not only does the cat kill the man, the cat goes into the man’s mouth, straight down his throat and into his belly. Scary stuff!
There are a few lessons in life we can all pick up from scary movies. First, never answer the door when a stranger’s knocking. Second, don’t check into that rickety motel because nothing good will ever come out of it. Third, never move in to that old house in the middle of nowhere. Just don’t do it. It never comes out good in the end. That’s exactly what happens in the movie Strays. A family moves into a random house away from everything. Eventually, they realize that they are being terrorized by a bunch of stray cats that are more than just a little obnoxious. These cats are terrifying and seriously troubled.
The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
His wife dies and haunts him in the form of a cat. This story sounds like Edward Allan Poe because it is. The film is based on the story Ligeia as written by Poe. Verden believed from the moment his wife died that there would be trouble afterwards. Ligeia was an atheist and swore against God up until the moment she breathed her last breath. Fast forward the time and we find Verden moved on and remarried, but he still has his dead wife to deal with. The cat that carries the spirit of his dead wife now haunts his new marriage, and it’s quite disturbing. You may believe in spirits or you may not, but the movie can definitely get you thinking about all those moments you’ve ever felt weird around a cat. They are still some of the most mysterious beings around, almost as if they carry spirits of the dead in them. Let’s just hope not for sanity’s sake.
Vampire Circus (1972)
This movie is not particularly a cat film. It’s more a vampire or circus movie than anything, but regardless, it’s a chilling one. The scary feline character in this film actually happens to be a human shape shifter, which makes it just a little bit more mystifying. The story begins with the plague terrorizing a nineteenth century European town. The town gets relief after the circus comes about, but they soon realize it’s no ordinary circus. As they call themselves Circus of Night, the troupe is as weird as they get. In addition, soon after they arrived, mysterious things started happening, including the disappearance of the town children. It turns out that what was happening was a ritual of some sorts, something that involves the resurrection of Count Mitterhaus.
Night of 1000 Cats (1972)
One thing that might come to mind after watching a film like this is, “Who comes up with plots like this?” Yes, this movie is absolutely bizarre, and it’ll make you quite uneasy on your seat. In the movie, Hugo, a millionaire and psychopath, flies around in his chopper all day to find unassuming young and attractive women. He lures them with his apparent charm all the way to his secluded and already creepy castle. If he happens to get a woman to his castle, he keeps the act up further by getting the woman to trust him through food and alcohol. And then after a while and with the help of his castle companion, he goes for the kill, chops the head, and feeds them to his thousand cats. Yikes. That’s all. One cat would’ve been enough, but a thousand is just overkill. It works though; it definitely is pretty disturbing.
The Black Cat (1934)
Everyone knows that black cats are bad news. They’re bad omen; they’re a sign of bad things to come. In short, black cats are just bad. If anybody wanted to come up with a scary movie about cats, it’s only natural that they call it The Black Cat. So it happened in 1934 that someone came out with just the movie. Of course back then everything was in black and white, so it adds a little bit more of mysticism. The movie tells the story of a honeymooning couple, whose bus crashes in the middle of nowhere. They end up having to crash in a home run by an odd man named Poelzig. Poelzig owns a couple of black cats, ritualistic companions in his satanic ways. Let’s just say that Poelzig has something up his sleeves. It’s a sick, sick movie in the most literal sense, and it’s amazing to think that they thought of those things all those years ago.
The Black Cat (1981)
A few decades later and the world come up with another film involving a black cat in particular. This time, we’ve let go of the satanic theme to go psychic instead. The movie is about a man, Robert Miles, with psychic abilities. He can actually communicate with the deceased. Also, he happens to have the ability to control the mind of his black cat. So Miles sends of his cat to perform killing duties, taking away the lives of his enemies. The deaths pile up, and someone starts to notice that all the victims have something in common: scratch marks. Long story short, it turns out that more than one character in the movie can control minds. Eventually, we find out that the psychic control is reciprocal in this case, and the cat itself can control the mind of its owner. And so it does to bid its own killings. Smart cat. Scary cat.
The Cat People (1942)
A young woman believes to have descended from a race that turns into cats. Now that is a unique plot line to begin with. The story of The Cat People is an interesting one. Young Irena has always been attracted to animals and is actually soothed by them. She’s always had an odd effect on animals as evident when she visits a pet store. Eventually, it becomes clear to the viewer that Irena’s suspicions are correct. She does turn into a panther under specific circumstances, and when she finally does, she commits some atrocious things. The movie is a wonderful suspense with some undertones of romance. It doesn’t end well for Irena, let’s just say, because her power turns out to be more of a curse in the end.
Eye of the Cat (1969)
Finally, here’s a movie about the fear of cats—or something to that extent. A couple of people are plotting to rob rich old woman’s house. That’s simple enough; so let’s make it complicated a bit. One of the plotters happens to be extremely afraid of cats. On the other, the old lady with the house happens to have a number of cats accompanying her. That works out well for her and her home and not so much for the other guys, but they’re quite determined so they go for it. The weird thing is that the cats seem to know exactly what’s going on, so they do their best to protect their home and their owner. Of course, a cat lady can’t be all that innocent either, so even if the guys survive the cats, they’ll have to survive the cat lady too.
Cat’s Eye (1985)
Stephen King makes this list a second time around with an anthology film. Cat’s Eye tells three stories of horror, all of which are tied together by a traveling cat. The first story, Quitters, Inc., is about a man who has uses extreme measures in order to quit smoking. The cat plays a minor role in this story and escapes to move on to the next one, The Ledge. This next story moves on from New York to Atlantic City and deals with crime bosses, money, and love. As the story moves from there to the next story, General, the role of the cat becomes a tad more central. This time, the cat is adopted by a little girl and calls him General. The cat in this instance is actually more of a protector than anything, but he is fierce and terrifying nonetheless. The entire film is scary nonetheless.
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
Let’s go sci-fi for a second and travel back to the 50s at the same time. The movie is about a man, regular-sized, named Scott Carey and his wife Louise. They take the boat out on a normal, beautiful day, and encounter misfortune without their immediate knowledge. Scott gets sprayed with an insecticide that has affected him rather oddly. He starts to shrink in the next few days, and he gets so small that he has to stay and live in a dollhouse. Imagine yourself being as small as a doll and trying to live your life. It wouldn’t make sense to keep pets in the house, but the couple surely did. Eventually, the cat breaks into the dollhouse and chases Scott away, who is running for his life. It turns out that the cat’s the least bit of his worries because at some point in the movie, Scott encounters a giant spider also.
The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
House cats, stray cats, and tomcats aren’t the only types of cats there are. Let’s not forget that there are big cats too that churn maybe even more fear. In the movie, The Ghost and the Darkness, we encounter not one but two lions that are terrorizing a small East African village. People have to fight these lions and protect themselves while they work to construct a bridge for the village. It’s easier said than done because the lion experts believe that some type of evil entity possesses these two lions. The lions don’t follow typical hunting patterns, and they also seem to actually enjoy the killings they were doing. The suspense in this movie is unbelievable, but it’s definitely worth it. You might not want to go on a Safari tour anytime soon after watching this film.
The Cat (2011)
This movie is probably the latest one in our list and is heavily focused on cats. The story revolves around the main character So-yeon, who ends up adopting a cat whose owner died. So-yeon works at a pet shop, so she’s around pets all the time. However, she’s also quite introverted having gone through some difficulties in her life. The cat seemed like a good fit at first, but then bodies are dropping left to right after she’s adopted the cat. Even one of her good friends died after adopting a pet. So-yeon then works to figure out what it is about cats that are making people drop dead.
The Uninvited (1988)
Some people say that cats have that sense about people who are good and those who are bad. If you ever find a cat hissing at you, it’s probably because there’s something about you it just doesn’t like. In 1989’s The Uninvited, we see a cat go from normal to mutant and spread terror on a yacht. This cat is a product of a mishap in a genetic engineering lab. The cat somehow slips out of the hands of the proper personnel and ends up on the said yacht. There the cat reveals its true nature and starts creating chaos. With no other place to go to being in the middle of the ocean, the passengers are unwillingly stuck on the boat. The clip above shows the cat going mutant and ripping the skin off of one of the passengers’ ankles. It’s a bloody mess, and you’ll definitely never look at a cat the same again.
The Shadow of the Cat (1961)
Set in England in 1900, a woman named Ella Venable is killed in her own house by her husband Walter, Andrew the butler, and Clara the maid. All three bury Ella within the estate grounds, thinking that they got away with murder too easily. But little do they know that there’s a witness to the murder—Ella’s cat Tabitha. The cat is completely aware of what happened to her owner, and eventually, the three murderers realize what the cat knows. So there ensues the story of a cat and mouse game, where the cat is the cat and the mouse are the humans. It doesn’t end well for all three of the murderers, and it’s daunting to think of what the cat does and how it survives. In the end, Tabitha leads the police to the buried body of her owner, Ella. The house is sold off to a new family.
Crimes of the Black Cat (1972)
Here’s another killer using a cat as a weapon for murder. This movie is about a serial killer who poisons cat claws with curare as a tool to harm and kill fashion models. In the end, it turns out that the killer was someone close to the models, and that the subsequent killings were only committed to cover up the motive of the first killing. It doesn’t make sense at all, but the movie is suspenseful enough to accept such mishap. The very first victim was discovered as having an affair with the killer’s husband. That’s motive, all right.