Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat (1934) movie scene.

Cats in Entertainment

Charming though they are, cats have not achieved superstardom in the entertainment world in the same way as dogs, being far less cooperative than their canine counterparts.

Nevertheless, their personalities and foibles have made cats a source of inspiration for cartoon caricatures, and their visual appeal has not been lost on the creators of marketing campaigns. The rise of a new generation of “internet cats” is the feline success story of the 21st century.

Felines on film

It is not in feline nature to act to order, and what cats do best is simply being themselves. Filmmakers have not missed opportunities to use this talent, and many actors have shared the screen with a cat that steals the scene just by putting in an appearance. A classic example is the memorable ginger tom befriended by good-time girl Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961).

More recently, another ginger—fluffy, snub-nosed Crookshanks—scored a big hit for his minor role in the Harry Potter series of films, first appearing in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Crookshanks was, in fact, played by two cats; most feline actors share their roles, sometimes with as many as four or five look-alike cats. One well-worn film cliché is to combine cats and villains.

A staple character of several James Bond films, including You Only Live Twice (1967) and Diamonds are Forever (1971), is the sadistic, murdering Ernst Blofeld, who cuddles his beautiful white Persian cat while masterminding global domination.

The cat-and-baddie theme is parodied in the Austin Powers spoof spy films (1997, 1999, and 2002), with the hairless Sphynx cat Mr. Bigglesworth (who must never be upset) as the pet of the megalomaniac, and equally bald, Dr. Evil.