While it is usually the human actors of a movie that become the stars, there are many examples of cats making a big impact on screen. Viewers either love or hate cats as some see them as feral or verminous creatures, while others see them as cute and adorable animals. There are both villainous cats in films and those who are loveable bundles of fur. Some even play the role of the movie’s hero and win over audiences with their brave and heroic endeavors. Cats feature in all genres of movies, from children’s animations to horror movies, and from comedies to drama. There are probably more cats who play a significant role in a movie than you may imagine and here are 20 of the top cats from the movies.
20. Mr. Tinkles- Cats & Dogs
This 2001 family action comedy movie stars many cats as the whole film is about the battle between cats and dogs for supremacy. However, Mr. Tinkles is definitely the star of the show. He is the leader of the cat agents in the movie and has a clear evil streak. However, while he is tough in front of feline agents, this long-haired kitty is hugely pampered by his owner and faces regular humiliation as she treats him like a human baby. Sean Hayes provides the voice of Mr. Tinkles while Tobey Maguire voices Lou, the main dog in the film. Also starring in this move are Jeff Goldblum, Elizabeth Perkins. Alexander Pollock, and Miriam Margoyles. The movie was directed by Lawrence Guterman.
19. Thackery Binx- Hocus Pocus
‘Hocus Pocus’ is the story of a teenage boy who unintentionally resurrects three witches who are sisters. The witches are played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. Thackeray Binx is a cat in this movie.Thackeray Binx was once a teenager from 1693 who is played by Sean Murray. The witches transform the boy into an immortal cat which is voiced by Jason Marsden. This movie was initially a flop but now has a cult following.
18. Jones- Alien and Aliens
There are few cats that can lay claim to having starred in two movies but that is the case for Jones who is Ripley’s cat in both ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’. Jones, also known as Jonesy, serves the purpose of rodent control on board the USCSS Nostromo. Jones joined Ripley while she was in a chamber in a hyper sleep for 57 years and returned with her to Earth. Unfortunately, Ripley later left him behind on Earth. Alien was released in 1979 and directed by Ridley Scott. Aliens, released in 1986, was the sequel to this movie and was both written and directed by James Cameron. Both movies starred Sigourney Weaver as Ripley but the two versions of Jones were played by different cats due to the long-time span between the movies.
17. Cat- Breakfast at Tiffany’s
In ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, the cat is simply known as ‘Cat’. The poor feline in this movie suffers greatly at the hands of Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn. The cat is the racist depiction of Yunioshi by Mickey Rooney and is also a symbol of self-reliance. When Holly finally finds love in the movie, poor ‘Cat’ is squashed between her and her lover as they share an embrace in the rain. This romantic comedy was released in 1961 and is often considered Hepburn’s most outstanding performance. The movie was written by George Axelrod and directed by Blake Edwards. On a budget of $2.5 million, the movie grossed $14 million at the worldwide box office. Originally, the movie received mixed reviews from critics but is now considered a classic.
16. Orion- Men in Black
‘Men in Black’ is a movie inspired by the comic book written by Lowell Cunningham. It is about a non-governmental organization monitoring paranormal and alien activities. The comic book series was first adapted into a film in 1997 and starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. It was directed by Barry Sonnenfield. Men in Black II was released in 2002 followed by Men in Black 3 in 2012. Orion is the cat featured in the Men in Black movies and he is different to cats from other films. Usually, a cat is in the role of a pet or a partner. However, Orion is the defender of an entire galaxy.
15. Tjorven- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
In the novel by Stiegg Larsson, there is a stray cat called Tjorven who is left on the doorstep of Mikael Blomkvist to warn him to end his investigation. When the novel was adapted into fil, director Niels Arden Oplev decided to cut Tjorven from the story. However, in the 2011 version, directed by David Fincher, the cat is very much an important element of the movie. Part of the storyline is the bond that develops between the stray cat and Daniel Craig’s character. It is important to note that this is not necessarily a story for cat lovers, though, as Tjorven ultimately dies when he is left bloody and dismembered.
14. Catzilla- MouseHunt
The main character in ‘MouseHunt’ is obviously a mouse, but the monster cat called Catzilla is a major part of the story. There is one key scene in particular that features the cat when there is a chase between the feline and the mouse. The scene is somewhat similar in style to the antics of Tom & Jerry. This 1997 black comedy movie starred Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Maury Chaykin, and Christopher Walken. It was directed by Gore Verbinski and written by Adam Rifkin.
13. General Sterling Price- True Grit
John Wayne plays the role of Rooster Cogburn and his beloved pet cat in the movie is General Price Sterling. When describing his relationship with the animal, he explains they are simply roommates as cats don’t belong to people. The cat was a key character when this film was released in 1969. Unfortunately, when the movie was remade in 2010 by the Coen brothers, they decided to eliminate General Price Sterling from the movie altogether. This was a decision that displeased both fans of the original movie and cats from around the world.
12. The Black Cat- The Black Cat
There are very few cat characters that can say they have acted in a film that is named after them, but this is certainly the case for The Black Cat who starred in the titular role of the movie by the same name. This 1934 Pre-Code horror movie was the first in a series of eight movies, all of which starred Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. ‘The Black Cat’ screenplay was written by Peter Ruric and based on a story by Ruric and Edgar G. Ulmer who directed the movie. Others who starred in this movie included David Manners, Julie Bishop, Egon Brecher, and Harry Coding. The movie received mixed reviews from critics.
11. Cat- Inside Llewyn Davis
Llewyn Davis is the main character in this 2013 black comedy drama which is set in 1961. One of the main points of the storyline is that Llewyn Davis repeatedly rescues his neighbors cat and takes it with him to a variety of places. Therefore, the cat plays a significant role in this movie. One of the best scenes featuring the cat is of the cat riding the subway. This move was written, produced, directed, and edited by Joel and Ethan Coen and Oscar Isaac plays the role of Llewyn Davis. It was well-received by critics and did reasonably well at the box office grossing $32.9 million on a budget of $11 million.
10. Blofeld’s Cat- James Bond Movies
James Bond is one of the biggest film franchise’s in the world with 26 movies to credit to date. One of the main characters in these movies is Blofeld, a fictional supervillain who appears in eight of the films. These include ‘From Russia with Love’, ‘Thunderball’, ‘You Only Live Twice’, ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, ‘Never Say Never Again’, ‘For Your Eyes Only’, and ‘Spectre’. Blofeld is rarely seen without his beloved cat on his knee.
9. Rufus- Re-Animator
Reanimator is a series of three horror films, all of which are directed by Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon. These films are based on a short story written by H.P. Lovecraft in 1922 called ‘Herbert West-Reanimator’. The first move was released in 1985 and was followed in 1990 by ‘Bride of Re-Animator’ and then ‘Beyond Re-Animator’ in 2003. Rufus is a dead cat belonging to the roommate of the rogue scientist, Herbert West. Rufus is brought back to life by West in the movie and this has consequences that are both hilarious and horrific.
8. Mrs. Norris- Harry Potter Movies
Although there are many cats features in the Harry Potter series of films, Mrs. Norris is the one who appears the most regularly. Mrs. Norris appears in all the movies as the cat of Argus Filch, the caretaker of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Filch has a huge chip on his shoulder because he is a ‘squib’; someone who is born into a wizarding family but lacks magical powers. He uses his cat to spy on the students and catch out their wrongdoings. One of the most famous scenes featuring Mrs. Norris is in ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ when the cat is petrified by the serpent. Initially, Filch believes that Harry Potter is responsible for harming his beloved pet.
7. Crookshanks- Harry Potter Movies
Crookshanks is probably the second most famous cat from the Harry Potter series of films. She is the pet of Hermione Granger, one of Harry Potter’s best friends. In addition to making several appearances at Hermione’s side in all the movies, he also features in many of the storylines, often because of his bad behavior. Hermione Granger is played by Emma Watson in all the Harry Potter movies. Crookshanks was originally purchased by Hermione in the first film from the Magical Menagerie. The witch who sold her the cat said that he had been in the shop for a long time because nobody wanted him due to his bad temper.
6. Tonto- Harry & Tonto
Harry & Tonto tells the tale of an old man called Harry who is kicked out of his apartment with his pet cat, Tonto. Harry tries to make a new life for himself with Tonto by his side all the way. This 1974 road movie was co-written by Josh Greenfield and Paul Mazursky, while Mazursky also directed the movie. Harry was played by Art Carney and he won an Academy Award for his performance. Others who starred in this movie included Herbert Berghof, Philip Bruns, Ellen Burstyn, Larry Hagman, and Geraldine Fitzgerald. This was a low-budget movie and cost only $980,000 to make while it grossed $4.6 million from rentals. An interesting fat about this movie is that when it was filmed, Carney was only 13 years older than the men who played his sons. It was thanks to the work of makeup artist Bob O’Bradovitch that he appears so old in the movie.
5. Vito’s Cat- The Godfather
Despite the cruel and intimidating demeanour of Vito in ‘The Godfather’, he clearly has a fondness for his cat. He is regularly seen throughout the film sat stroking his cat including in many of the movie’s key scenes. ‘The Godfather’ is a 1972 crime film that is based on a novel by Mario Puzo, who also co-wrote the screenplay with the director, Francis Ford Coppola. Vito Corleone was played by Marlon Brando and other members of the cast included Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton. ‘The Godfather’ was a huge success commercially. It had a budget of around $7 million but grossed $245 million at the worldwide box office. This movie was nominated for and won numerous awards. These include Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
4. Buttercup- The Hunger Games
In ‘The Hunger Games’, Katniss and Buttercup are enemies. In the first film, Buttercup appears as a black and white tuxedo cat. However, fans complained so author Suzanne Collins and producer Nina Jacobson insisted the cat was recast and replaced by a ginger puss. ‘The Hunger Games’ are a trilogy of dystopian movies aimed at young adults that are basedon the novels of Suzanne Collins. The first film was released in 2012 and then followed by ‘Catching Fire’ in 2012, ‘Mockingjay Part 1’ in 2014 and ‘Mockingjay Part 2 in 2015. The films starred Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hensworth, and Woody Harrelson.
3. Church- Pet Sematary
Based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, ‘Pet Sematary’ featured a cat called Church. It was adapted into a horror movie and released in 1989. It is about the Creed family moving to a new home that is near a pet cemetery that holds a terrible secret that holds the key to life after death. Unlike many other cats that feature in films, cat is not a sweet and cuddly pet. In fact, he is one of the most scary things in this horror movie. This movie was directed by Mary Lambert and starred Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, and Brad Greenquist. ‘Pet Sematary’ was critically well-received and was also a success at the box office. It had a budget of $11.5 million and grossed $57.5 million. A sequel to this movie was released but this did not achieve the same level of critical and commercial success as reviews were poor and it bombed at the box office.
2. Milo- Milo & Otis
‘Milo & Otis’ is a 1986 Japanese adventure comedy-drama movie that is about an orange tabby cat called Milo and a pug called Otis. The Japanese title for this movie was ‘Koneko Monogatari’ which translates as ‘A Kitten’s Story’. This movie also had several alternate titles, including ‘The Adventures of Chatran’. It was translated for English audiences by Dudley Moore but Shigeru Tsuyuki provided the voiceover for the Japanese audience. The movie was written and directed by Masanori Hata, while Mark Saltzman wrote the English version of the movie. ‘Milo & Otis’ was filmed over three years with many cats playing the role of Milo before the film was edited from 74 hours of footage. The English version is 15 minutes shorter than the original as Columbia pictures decided to remove a section of the film. The translated version was released on August 25, 1989. The movie has since caused some controversy as there were questions raised about the welfare and treatment of the animals during filming.
1. Garfield- Garfield: The Movie
Garfield takes the titular role in this 2004 family comedy movie. Garfield is one of the most famous and best-loved cats of all-time, so a list of cats in movies would not be complete without including this loveable ginger cat. The movie was inspired by the comic strip created by Jim Davis and was directed by Peter Hewitt. The character of Garfield was created using computer animation and voiced by Bill Murray. All other animals that appear in the movie are real, as are the human characters. Others starring in this movie include Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jon Arbuckle, Breckin Meyer, and Stephen Tobolowsky. The screenplay was co-written by Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow. The movie was panned by critics but was a huge success at the box office. Although it only had a $50 million budget, it grossed over $200 million worldwide. The movie is about the adventures of Garfield and how he rescues Odie, the dog who shares Garfield’s owner.