Some of the most beloved figures in literature are the famous cartoon cats.
These characters epitomize extremes of the lovable orneriness that we cherish in our feline pets.
The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland beguiles us with his smile, while the other cartoon cats antagonize innocent mice and overeat.
Garfield is one of the most popular of the cartoon cats. This lazy feline steals his master's food, beats up on the dog, and sleeps a lot. He has a wry wit that expresses the way some aloof cats seem to feel. Like some real pampered pets, this yellow tabby cat is quite overweight. Garfield, who loves pizza and lasagna, is the creation of cartoonist Jim Davis.
Heathcliff, the cartoon cat created by Geo Gately, is similar to Heathcliff in boldness and mischief-making. This tabby enjoys raiding garbage cans and caterwauling in the middle of the night. Heathcliff has a real thing for fish, too.
Tom and Jerry
Tom, of Tom and Jerry, is always on the hunt for Jerry the mouse, but has incredibly bad luck. Tom is a large gray tomcat with a white lower face and white paws. His antics usually result in a large mess in the house. In some cartoons, Tom has to contend with a large bulldog who invariably sticks up for Jerry. Tom was one of the early cartoon cats, coming into being in the late 1930's.
Felix the Cat
Even earlier among the famous cartoon cats was Felix the cat, who was created in 1928. Felix played an important role in the development of television, being in many ways the first TV star. The first Felix was a 13-inch tall paper mache cat used in photographing early TV transmissions. Being black with large round whites of the eye made him perfect as a subject for photography.
Sylvester was Warner Brothers answer to the other cartoon cats of the 1940's, being created in 1945. This black and white tom cat spends his time trying to catch the innocent little bird, Tweety. Sylvester is funny partly because of his terrible lisp, often crying out "Sufferin' succotash!" in frustration. The talented Mel Blanc was the voice behind this hapless feline.
The Aristocats was a cute Disney movie released in 1970. This movie features a pampered Mama cat named Duchess, and her three kittens Marie, Toulouse, and Berlioz. When the butler, Edgar, overhears the grand madam of the home naming the cats as her heirs, he embarks on a foul plan to get rid of the pets. Much slapstick humor, jazz music, and touching romance follows. Duchess is a beautiful white cat with impeccable manners, who meets up with a good natured alley cat who saves the day.
Tigger, of Winnie the Pooh fame, is one of the big cats. This bouncing tiger with the springy tail is ever optimistic and cheerful. While Rabbit is habitually grumbling, he can never discourage Tigger.
While often depicted as ruthless hunters and spoiled rulers of the house, these animated characters work their way into hearts. Our own feline friends sometimes exhibit the same traits as the cartoon cats.