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"If cats looked like frogs, we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are."

Cats get a bad rap.

While cat and dog owners can cite a truckload of quirks on both ends of the spectrum, when both species are featured in fiction, you are far more likely to find an outright cruel, nasty, and otherwise vicious cat character. Both sets of animals will have vices, but a dog is more likely to do them unintentionally. A cat enjoys causing trouble. Parts of this have to do with traditional traits that even cat lovers admire - independence and pride for some equals lack of love for the owners and aloofness for others. As a result, many writers who like cats, such as Terry Pratchett and Paul Gallico, play into the trope by presenting their pet as something of a Magnificent Bastard, expertly manipulating humans.

It certainly doesn't help considering highly marketable, small creatures are typically the kind of things cats see as prey. Dogs aren't exempt from this behavior in real life, but you'll rarely see them trying to actively catch anything on their own terms if they're not a hunting dog working for their master. Since mice (and birds) are often depicted as being intelligent, the express desire to eat them becomes a type of cannibalism and is therefore evil. Protagonist cats rarely eat mice (rats, maybe). Notably, the real threat that mice present, their ability to overpopulate, consume stores, and carry dangerous parasites, and the original reason we bred cats in the first place, is seldom mentioned in fiction. Nor is the fact that a whole category of dogs, terriers, also kill small, cute rodents.

Domestic dogs are rarely portrayed as evil unless the setting specifically only features dogs and antagonists are needed. A negative portrayal of dogs is usually light, treating them as simply dumb and servile (and fiercely territorial); the occasional evil tear-'em-to-pieces junkyard dog or Hell Hound is an exception. When they are genuinely annoying, this characteristic is given to stereotypical small yappy breeds that reflect their owners. In real life, it says more about a dog's training.

Much of this no doubt descends from Medieval European folklore associating cats with witches and other forces of evil. (At the same pyres witches were burned, cats were burned too.) At the same time, there is a grain of truth to this. "A deadly game of cat and mouse" is often a very real situation; cats not taught to hunt properly by their mothers often appear to clumsily toy with their prey before killing it, and even veteran mousers will play with their quarry before killing and consuming them, in order to avoid being bitten, since the saying is correct that "even a cornered mouse will snap at a cat" (but only when the mouse is aware of the cat; meanwhile, a cat that ambushes a mouse by surprise will kill it instantly, which is why cats are experts at hunting by stealth and secrecy). Cats are also among the few predators known to hunt and kill for fun, even when they're not going to eat the prey (though given that among the other animals known to do this are humans, we don't really have much room to give them grief).

It should also be noted that the overwhelming predominance of this trope in Western Animation is largely due to one simple fact that proves how astonishing the man's influence really was: Walt Disney was a dog person.

That said, it should come as no surprise that the Right-Hand-Cat is the Diabolical Mastermind's most popular pet of choice. Could also be the reason that All Witches Have Cats; an evil witch should have an mean Familiar.

Contrast Cute Kitten (though it can go hand-in-hand with this when Cute Is Evil), but, generally, Cuteness Equals Goodness, so this trope is mostly Played for Laughs with the evil being barely above Poke The Poodle level.

Compare Dogs Are Dumb and Killer Rabbit. Overlaps with Cats Are Superior, especially when Dumb Is Good. May also, in some cases, lead to Cats Are Snarkers. Not to be confused with CATS.


Played-straight or exaggerated examples: Edit

Advertising Edit


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Kamineko, that cat who keeps attacking Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh. In the cat's defense, Sakaki seems to have an aura that makes cats hate her, with one exception; Mayaa is the antithesis of this trope: a wild-born Iriomote cat who not only is the first cat to permit Sakaki to pet it, but, at first meeting, actively seeks her affection, proving utterly devoted to Sakaki. To drive home this point, Mayaa later drives off Kamineko and a small horde of cats in her defense.
    • The fact that Kamineko gathered up the cats just to attack Sakaki and Chiyo-Chan seems to point to the conclusion that it was just a jerk.
      • Furthermore, in the last episode, when Sakaki apologizes to it for trying to pet it all the time without taking its feelings into account, it walks up to Sakaki, allows her to move her hand toward its head as though to let her pet it...then bites her without any warning.
  • IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix features a cat with whom one of the human characters has a technologically available mental link. Though the cat is opinionated and realistically cat-like (okay, he does have an attitude), he is neither a villain nor a hero in most instances.
  • Totsuzen! Neko No Kuni Banipal Witt (aka Catnapped!) takes place in a world populated by anthropomorphic cats. Two children are brought there by the cats to save them from the boy's kidnapped dog, Papadoll. Exposure to the cat world's sun has turned the dog into a rampaging monster being used as a weapon by Princess Buburina to take over the entire cat realm.
    • But really only Buburina and Doh-doh (sort of) are bad.
  • Puchi Puri Yuuchi (aka Petite Princess Yucie) has an episode where Glennda, princess of the Demon Realm, has to fight Cait Sith, an evil cat attacking her realm and turning everyone there into cats.
    • Then again, if this Cait Sith is the same one as the one in the Final Fantasy series, it's actually a Japanese interpretation of a Celtic mythological character.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Tailmon was originally introduced as the Big Bad's Right-Hand-Cat, beating the shit out of all seven of the protagonists' Digimon with little effort in their first encounter and mercilessly hunting down the eighth Chosen. Of course, she then turned out to have a Freudian Excuse, did a Heel Face Turn, became the partner of Hikari Yagami (whom she found she simply couldn't kill when they first met), and became decidedly...not mean.
  • Even Pokémon is in on this. Meowth is famous for being the third member of the Team Rocket Trio, Giovanni is regularly seen with a Persian by his side, and a recent episode showed a member of Team Galactic in possession of an especially mean Purugly.
    • Meowth's backstory has him trying to impress a female Meowth he was in love with by, over a period of months, painstakingly learning how to walk on two legs and speak a human language. She rejects him, calling him a freak and saying that he still has no money. Even later, when he fought a Persian for her (and won!), she still thought he was a freak and chose the Persian over him.
      • Said Persian may or may not count. While he did try to force Meowth to rejoin his gang, he took the female Meowth in when her owner abandoned her and, prior to all this, gave Meowth a fish when he was so hungry he thought baseballs were food.
    • Mewtwo was rather nasty for a while during Pokémon the First Movie. He tried to cause The End of the World as We Know It. Mewtwo was more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, though. He simply felt clones were being oppressed and wanted to start war against the natural-born Pokémon. Likewise, Mew (Yes, Mew) was just as bad since (in the Japanese version) it believed that Mewtwo was inferior and shouldn't be allowed to live just because he was a clone. Neither are evil, though, just very stubborn in their beliefs. The dub alters the two to represent a more Black and White Morality, with Mewtwo being more knowingly malicious and Mew's motives being more benevolent.
  • Shampoo's transformation shape in Ranma One Half is a cat, and she uses that to her advantage several times.
    • Others have also used Shampoo's transformation to their advantage - namely, as an easy way to torment Ranma. Genma uses her to frighten Ranma so he can't beat the old bastard up in the first Nekoken story. Akane uses Shampoo's transformation to force Ranma into agreeing to throw his second official duel with Mousse in the manga...and in an anime-exclusive OAV, she splashes Shampoo so that Ranma will run headfirst into a wall with her because Shampoo mockingly pointed out that Akane didn't have the skills to face the OAV's Villain of the Week.
  • Due to her past experience of being toyed around by a cat and having watched too many 'dog' detective TV series (whereas a cat is often the villain), in the words of Shinkuu, "Cats are enemies of all Rozen Maiden!"
  • Arthur from Code Geass creates a running joke by always making trouble for Suzaku, usually by biting him and nobody else. Interestingly, though, Arthur actually seems to like Suzaku; the official website for the second season says that he bites out of love, Arthur once attacked an enemy combatant whose gun was pointed at Suzaku, and in the final episode, we get a brief scene of Arthur patiently watching over Suzaku's grave. Aww.
    • Arthur also makes trouble for Lelouch by unwittingly making off with his Zero mask.
      • Neko-Zero takes offense to the implication that he would ever do anything unwittingly!
  • Used in Outlaw Star: The Pirate girl with two cats tries to kill the crew after unknowingly befriending their young second-in-command.
  • Stray Cat, a stray cat from Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Part 4. It was treated rather fairly, though, since Stray Cat never attacked anybody who wasn't already trying to hurt it, and even gets a happy ending when it's adopted by one of the heroes. Did I mention that it's a cat who died, then became a plant-cat hybrid due to its Stand powers?
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Gokudera's animal box weapon, a wild cat named Uri, is shown to have a horrible temper, constantly scratching and biting him.
  • Sailor Moon has an episode where Luna, a talking cat, is menaced by a horde of non-talking cats. A big fat cat saves her and develops a crush on her, but from there, things get complicated; the other non-talking cats are clearly jerkoffs, though.
    • Shingo, Usagi's young brother, was bitten by a cat when he was just a baby, giving him a phobia of them until Luna comes along. Even after he gets over his fear, they're still far from his favorite animal.
    • Then there is Tin Nyanko, who, despite being a member of an evil organization, seems to really relish in being bad. It's kind of funny, since she is half healed and has a split personality.
  • Almost EVERY SINGLE CAT in Nyan Koi is like this.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler's Tama and Shiranui play this well and are particularly antagonistic towards the main character. Though they do show occasional benevolent sides, they like to be played for their mean side.
    • Tama gets a bit of a pass as he's a white tiger.
      • But Nagi calls him a kitten, even arguing with Hayate about it.
    • Shiranui seems to take over the Cats Are Mean role (when not used for Cuteness Proximity), while Tama plays more to the Funny Animal aspect.
    • And Isumi's great grandmother uses cats in her first appearance when she's a villain after Hayate. Afterwords, she becomes an ally and doesn't seem to use cats anymore.
  • New Voices In The Dark - Souichi's sister adopts a wandering young cat, which unfortunately catches Souichi's interests. When Souichi gets blamed for harassing the cat, he vows revenge by placing a curse on Colin (as the cat was named). In the beginning a sweet, playful kitty cat, Colin became steadily more violent and ugly until...
  • One of the better filler arcs in Inuyasha has Panther demons as antagonists to the group of heroes. What makes it funny is that the leader of their tribes butted heads with Inuyasha and Seshomaru's father, who is a dog demon. So it's literally cats vs dogs.
  • Hamtaro - "Watch out for those cats, you know they're smarter than you think/But when we work together, we can make their plans sink!"
  • In GoLion/Voltron, Jaga The Blue Cat is an able and wicked familiar for Honerva/Haggar, likely blinding Shirogane/Sven before he was killed/disabled. Add to that, the Space Mice are definitely justified in fearing being devoured by this monster, who came from a world where it was bathed in Human blood. On the minus side, any sighting of the Blue Cat told the force that something was up, so its ability to spy (ala Laserbeak) was later limited.
  • In Apocalypse Meow, the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army are portrayed as cats, while the American soldiers are portrayed as rabbits.
  • In Kodomo no Jikan, Kuro is often drawn with cat ears or as an humanoid black cat. Kuro is a Yandere Schoolgirl Lesbian who has kicked her 23 year old teacher in the nuts at least 30 times because her crush (Rin, her best friend) has a thing for him.
  • Go Go Itsutsugo Land! features a grumpy cat who often indirectly causes trouble for the characters.


Comic Books Edit

  • The definitive example might well be Art Spiegelman's comic Maus, a narrative of the author's father's struggle to survive the Holocaust wherein the Nazis are drawn as cats and Jews as mice.
    • But that's Justified Trope in the other cat stereotype is that they hunt mice, and it makes a good analogy for the Holocaust.
    • More than that, there is an artistic point. Nazi propaganda films drew analogies between Jews and rats. Spiegelman depicts the Jews as mice - who are typically portrayed as cute and sympathetic in fiction - rather than rats - typically villainous and revolting. By doing so, he is able to show how weak and manipulative the propaganda was.
  • Averted in Blacksad by the eponymous main character. He can be a bit 'slow to warm' but he's a very nice guy.
  • A Dream of A Thousand Cats from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman certainly belongs on this list. The alternate world involves cats being free to hunt and eat humans whenever the mood takes them.
  • In the Justice League's "International" days, team member Power Girl kept a mangy, ill-tempered tabby that lived seemingly just to make life hell for everyone on the team: tearing up the team's base, sleeping on The Flash's head, trying to eat Blue Jay...
    • Said yellow tabby has returned in the most recent Power Girl series.
  • The Red Lanterns, a version of the Green Lantern Corps powered by anger. They have a blue house cat as their most sadistic and malicious member (Word of God right there). Not an alien cat. A totally normal cat. From Brooklyn. Apparently possessed of an incredible amount of Brooklyn Rage! (But see also below under subversions.)
  • Michael (Jean-Michel in the original french) The Dragon in Dungeon the Early Years. When the readers are introduced to him, he's busy whipping a servant girl in order to force her into having sex with him.
  • In WE 3, the cat character is cold and uninterested in humans, and frequently wants to just run off. The loyal, but intelligent, Dog leader must continually pull rank to force him to stay.
  • Mad Magazine did a kiddie show parody complete with a typical cartoon - eight panels of back-and-forth violence between a cat and mouse on an Itchy And Scratchy level. A kid in the audience expresses the lessons he's learned - that "cats are ugly and bad, and mice are cute and good, and mice always win in the end, and I'm going to bring a bunch of mice into my house, and I'm gonna kill Mom's Siamese cats, and..."
  • Roque Ja (or "Rock Jaw") from Bone may not be TOTALLY evil, but he is definitely not on the side of the protagonists.


Film - Animated Edit

  • For Disney animated movies, see the Western Animation folder below.
  • In the An American Tail movies, all the cats (except Fievel's friend Tiger) are bad guys, looking to exploit and/or eat the heroic, downtrodden mice. The second movie included a good-natured dog, voiced by Jimmy Stewart.
    • This movie runs this into the ground as well. Every antagonist in the film is a cat, from the Cossacks at the beginning to the American gangsters at the end.

  "For there are no cats in America/And the streets are paved with cheese!/There are no cats in America/So set your mind at ease!"

  • Kung Fu Panda: the villain is, of course, a cat (albeit the rare endangered snow leopard instead of, say, the tiger) while the hero is a cuddly panda, trained by a red panda and a seemingly harmless turtle. In addition, while none of the Furious Five are particularly sanguine toward Po at first, the one who is the most cruel, strict, and disapproving is...Tigress.
  • In All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, Satan himself is an evil, anthropomorphic cat named Red.
  • In the Don Bluth film The Secret of NIMH, cats aren't just mean, they're Nightmare Fuel.
    • This is unsurprising, given the purpose of the farm cat is to eat the rodents in the field, who happen to be the protagonists. What is weird, though, is that Dragon (the cat) is the only animal who doesn't ever say anything, and actually comes across as a big, dumb animal. Even the owl gets to speak (and is even more terrifying for it. Nothing like a creature big enough to be a freaking dragon, and wise to boot).
      • What is very interesting about this is that, in the scene where Mrs. Fitzgibbon is hanging out the laundry and Dragon is sleeping near the back step (a scene which takes more of an omniscient camera view than the first-person view of the mice), he doesn't come across nearly so horrifying. Part of this may be due to him being drugged at the time, but it also comes across as him seeming a normal cat here but a monster in all his other scenes because that is how a cat would look and sound to a mouse.
    • Played straight again in the sequel, to an extent, anyway. Troy and Muriel are more anthropomorphic and bumbling than Dragon, what's more, they have been experimented on by the Big Bad into doing his evil deeds. They ironically seem to be the only villains to meet their demise at the end of the film.
  • The only TRULY evil cat in the German-animated film Felidae is Pascal/Claudandus, who is the one behind the murders in the first place. Oh, and he killed a human too...
  • In the show within a show in Bolt, all cats are the servants of Dr. Calico and aren't just mean, they're downright villainous.
    • The cats who play Dr Calico's pets are pretty mean outside set, enjoying taunting Bolt and exploiting his belief that the show is real for their own entertainment.
    • Subverted with Mittens (see below).
  • The Hungarian movie The Cat Trap presents the cats as international gangsters, while the mice run the police and the Secret Service/MI5 organization, complete with their own James Bond.
    • According to IMDb, it was translated as Cat City in English. Cat Trap is the literal translation.
    • The only feline character in the Hungarian movie The Cat Trap who subverts this trope is Cathy, the daughter of one of the villains' henchmen, who's actually friends with a mouse.
    • And then the sequel introduced Moloch, a Dangerously Genre Savvy demonic cat...


Film - Live-Action Edit

  • Cats and Dogs rode this trope into the ground, with evil cats using a mouse army to take over the world, while the dogs are secret agents bent on saving it; this has apparently been the state of affairs for the entirety of human history, bordering on Always Chaotic Evil.
    • Subverted in the sequel, fortunately. It turns out that good cats do exsist in the Cats and Dogs universe. Though the villain is still a cat...
  • Babe likewise features good-hearted dogs (even Rex turns out to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold). Naturally, there is a scheming cat, although the story gives a suspiciously noticeable disclaimer that there are many perfectly nice cats in the world.
    • Babe does contain its share of unpleasant dogs. There's the dog who works for the sheep rustlers and the trio of stray dogs who attack the flock (admittedly, none of these dogs are given any kind of character and are portrayed more as mindless beasts, who are following orders/acting upon instinct). On top of which, even the motherly Fly has her dark side, and treats the sheep pretty coldly throughout the film. What makes Babe so effective as a "sheep pig" is that, unlike the dogs, he is willing to treat the sheep as his equals.
  • Played incredibly straight with the Cat Beast from Nine. Not an actual cat, per se (more of a cybernetic steampunk jaguar-thing), but it's still modelled on a cat and is probably the most ruthless little bastard you'll find on this page.
  • In Scary Movie II, a mean cat goes so far as to attack the heroine with a broken bottle.
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man: when Scott Carey shrinks to six inches and has to live in the dollhouse, guess what animal breaks his dollhouse apart and tries to eat him?
  • The zombified Church in the Stephen King film Pet Sematary is a pretty nasty piece of work.
  • There was a movie called Nightwalkers where this trope was utterly subverted: cats are the only ones who can sense and destroy the evil aliens/monsters and several cats heroically sacrifice themselves to save humans.
    • Ditto Stephen King's Sleepwalkers, assuming it's not the very same film.
  • Unlike in the books, in the live-action film of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the White Witch had white Siberian tigers among her group, presumably to go with her magic's theme.
  • The 2011 Korean horror film, "The Cat" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNBP7pi5WXE, MIGHT be an example of this. A murdered woman's cat, Bi-dan, is the only witness to her death. Of course, when the protagonist So-yeon takes it in her care, weird shit starts happening. She investigates the mystery when she finds her friend, who also recently got a cat, dies as well. Of course considering Asian horror's tendency for Shyamalan style twists, this may be subverted.
  • The cougar from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. For the aversion, see below.


Folkore Edit

  • The Icelandic Jólakötturinn, or Yule Cat, is described as a horrible creature that eats children with no new clothes for Christmas.


Literature Edit

  • JRR Tolkien personally liked cats (case in point: The Adventures of Tom Bombadil), but because of the mythological tropes that he consciously used, the only times they appear in The Lord of the Rings are as minions of evil forces - most notably, as Queen Berúthiel's feline spies. Sauron himself was even originally conceived as a "Prince of Cats", and the Eye of Sauron is described as "cat-like" a few times.
  • Played straight with Greebo, Nanny Ogg's cat in the same setting as Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. He is a nasty, foul-tempered force of nature (though Nanny thinks he's an adorable little kitten). This is a cat who once ate a vampire while it was in bat form.
  • The book Grumpy Old Men: A Manual For The British Malcontent contains a long, particularly surreal, and rambling rant about cats. An extract:

 Here's a clue about cats: tigers. Are tigers bastards? Yes. And what are tigers? Just big cats. Therefore cats are tigers only smaller. Therefore they are bastards. Here's another clue. Lions. What do lions do? Lie around all day and then, when they're bored, jump a giraffe and eat it. Cats don't even do that. Ever see a cat jump a giraffe? No. Why? Because we've cossetted them and welcomed them into our homes and invented cat food, just for the idle bastards.

  • Ethan Frome contains a cat that symbolizes the unrelenting presence of Zeena, the eponymous character's oppressive and extremely unsympathetic hypochondriac wife. The cat instigates the symbolic 'shattering' of his marital stability when it breaks Zeena's treasured pickle dish.
    • And as if that novel wasn't depressing enough as it was.
  • You would expect that the book series Redwall would only obey this trope, since mice are about half the cast. Oddly enough, it doesn't. It is played straight with Gingivere's sister, Tzarmina, that book's Big Bad (she kills their father and frames Gingivere for it), and their uncle, Ungatt Trunn, is the villain in the book Lord Brocktree. It's about an even split.
  • Neil Gaiman plays with this more than once (see also Comic Books).
  • Happens to the family cat after its "resurrection" in Stephen King's novel Pet Sematary. But even before, the main character doesn't want to neuter him, because he likes him "lean and mean", and thinks that cats are "gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law".
  • Pete the Barncat from Hank the Cowdog often teases and takes advantage of Hank and the other characters. Other cats aren't shown to be much better.
  • In George Orwell's Animal Farm, the farm cat is lazy, greedy, and self-serving (she's last seen 'helpfully' volunteering to teach the mice Animalism).
  • Since Watership Down has rabbits as its protagonists, the cats are indeed scary antagonists ("Can you run? I think not!"). Dogs (and foxes), by contrast, are just contemptible and disgusting. (The culture-hero El-ahrairah sets one up for a thorough Humiliation Conga.)
  • In the novel A Clockwork Orange, Alex is attacked by a bunch of furious cats when attempting to rob a woman's house.
    • But then, considering Alex is a Villain Protagonist, the cats could be considered heroic vigilantes.
  • The Paul Jennings short story Picked Bones features a nasty, horrible cat that scratches someone up so badly that they need '35 bandaids' and which tries to smother a grown man.
  • The novel Stuart Little plays this absolutely straight (in contrast to the film), with Snowball the cat attempting to trick the family into thinking Stuart has decided to act like a mouse instead of a human. Later, he convinces an alleycat friend of his to try and kill Stuart's love interest, Margot the sparrow. Book Snowball is actually quite the Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Lady Jane in Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

  KROOK: Hi! show 'em how you scratch. Hi! Tear, my lady!

  • In the Known Space universe, the Kzinti as a whole aren't exactly known as being gently pacifistic, what with starting a bunch of wars with various species - in particular, humanity. On the other hand, individual Kzin can be more heroic, or at least less frightening and outwardly 'evil', such as Speaker To Animals, especially after they get their asses handed to them by humanity and lose the war.
  • Played straight, sort of, in Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci books.
    • In Charmed Life, the main character's fiddle is turned into a very irritable cat (who turns out to be an embodiment of one of the protagonist's nine lives. Oops.)
    • In The Lives Of Chrisopher Chant, Christopher steals and later befriends the embodiment of this trope, an ill tempered cat named Throgmorten who delights in frightening and tearing up just about everyone but Christopher.
  • This essay even touches on the problem of their corrupting kittens.
  • A glass cat is a Brown Note Cosmic Horror in Cat In Glass by Nancy Etchemendy.
  • Mogget in the Old Kingdom series takes this to epic Deadpan Snarker heights. And that's with his collar on; without it, you should probably start running. Fast. Of course, Mogget only looks like a cat, but there was probably a reason for picking that shape.
  • Robert E. Howard's thoughts on the matter are evident in the title of his tract about cats, The Beast from the Abyss.
  • The Jungle Book gives us both Shere Khan and Bagheera. The former, a tiger, is a major villain who hates humans with a passion and vows to someday kill Mowgli.
  • One of the eponymous Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark is about a cat. That should be enough to tell you all about that cat.
  • In Harry Potter, there is Mr. Filch's cat Mrs. Norris.
    • Later in the series, though, we see Dolores Umbridge's fluffy cat Patronus, which is undeniably evil simply because SHE is evil.
    • Subverted with Crookshanks, who Ron initially sees as evil because of his hatred of Scabbers the rat. In the end, it is revealed that he had good intentions all along and even helped the human protagonists with things they wouldn't otherwise have been able to do (get into The Shrieking Shack for the big reveal).
  • In the Avatar trilogy, Kelemvor Lyonsbane was cursed to become a gigantic, man-eating panther whenever he performed a good deed without receiving a reward for it. (This, of course, was not the original intention of the curse--it was meant to force his evil ancestor to do good deeds and never be rewarded for it, lest he turn into the evil panther. Somehow, through the passage of time, the spell reversed. Sucks to be Kelemvor.) If I recall correctly, it changed with the evil ancestor's children. The curse found no sins to punish in a newborn baby, and so it inverted itself. Or some other ridiculous explanation.
  • The Black Cat Of Killakie.
  • The demonic cats and werecats mentioned in Goosebumps books.
  • The abusive alley felines in The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her To Fly, by Luis Sep?da.
  • Subverted and played straight in The Chronicles of Narnia. There is one not so nice cat named Ginger in The Last Battle.
  • In the Alcatraz Series, the narrator claims that "Kittens are cute so that they can draw you in, then pounce on you for the kill. Seriously. Stay away from kittens."
  • In Saki's short story 'Tobermory' the titular cat magically becomes able to talk, and horrifies a group of party guests by tattling on all the sins that he's been spying on over the years. But what Tobermory has forgotten is that cats are mean, but Humans Are Bastards
  • Prim's cat Buttercup from The Hunger Games, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in feline form.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Babylon 5 plays with this trope in spades: the Dilgar were a basically race of Nazi-like humanoid felines responsible for massive genocide and experimentation on sentient beings. However, they ended up extinct when their sun went nova, as they had been forced back to their homeworld.
  • The Drew Carey Show: when Nora gushes about her many cats, another character asks her:

 You know they're going to eat your eyes when you die alone?

Nora: I try not to think about that.

  • All Creatures Great and Small has Boris, a cat who never got inoculated without a fight.
  • While he's more a Chaotic Neutral poster child, The Cat from Red Dwarf can be callous, self-serving, greedy, and foolish.
  • In the ICarly episode "iMove Out", the petographers have a cat named Harmu, who tries to claw Spencer's face out every time he sees him.
  • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation has a cat that rather skirts the line. Spot is very close to Data, and he manages to show her quite a bit of affection in his own muted way, having programmed and analyzed hundreds of meals into the replicator for her. While she often gets into trouble by somehow escaping Data's room, she's still very close to her owner. Around other members of the Enterprise's crew, however, she's infamously ill-tempered, scratching and hissing at anyone who gets close to her.
    • Anyone but her humanoid, that is. A lot of cats latch onto a person or couple of people, and think of anyone else as an invader.
      • This Troper recalls Reginald Barclay getting along extremely well with Spot, much to everyone's surprise.
    • Data and the cat definitely share a strong bond. In the "Generations" movie, Data finds Spot alive after the Enterprise crashes but is surprised that his newly installed emotion chip seems to be malfunctioning: he's happy, but can't stop crying.
  • A demonic-looking lion shows up in The Teletubbies, along with a similarly demonic-looking bear.

Music Edit

  • Pet Shop Boys "I Want A Dog", which first appeared as a b-side on their single "Rent" and was later remixed by Frankie Knuckles for their album "Introspective", extols the virtues of dogs as loyal, affectionate defenders whilst containing the lyrics, "Don't want a cat/Scratching its claws all over my habitat/Giving no love and getting fat."
    • Interestingly, other PSB songs ("Suburbia" and "I'm Not Scared") use dogs to depict more sinister forces.
  • The Timbuk 3 song Facts about Cats:

 Cats will be cats, and cats will be cruel

Cats can be callous, and cats can be cool

Cats will be cats, remember these words

Cats will be cats, and cats eat birds


Newspaper Comics Edit

  • Catbert from Dilbert is probably the living embodiment of this trope. After so many of his fans, independently, named the character, Scott Adams wanted a reason to keep the character, and came up with Catbert being hired as the Director of Human Resources. His rationale was that a cat was perfect for HR...and would bat you about before downsizing you. Of course, Dogbert isn't much better.
    • In fact, Dogbert is often shown to have the personality traits of a typical cartoon cat.
  • Garfield is a strange case. He'll squash sentient spiders without a second thought, he'll kick Odie off the table, and he'll verbally abuse Jon (although Jon doesn't know... or does he?), but, at least in the series and animated specials, he's a hero who will go out of the way to save his friends. If anything, he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Add "proudly ignorant" and you have Bucky Katt from Get Fuzzy. And he doesn't chase mice.
  • Rivalling Greebo as a personification of this trope and Badass is Horse from Footrot Flats, a bad-tempered semi-stray who chases off dogs several times his size. Incidentally, he's based on a real cat that used to hang around the author's home.
    • According to Dog, Horse's mother was a one-eyed, hook-handed alleycat, and his father a Barracuda.
    • Horse himself believes he is the son of a Leather Jacket.
      • And not just any leather jacket: one of the jackets of the local biker-gang (owners of his mother). Ah Horse, the only animal who could give Major the pig-dog what-for.
  • Berke Breathed's Bill the Cat is much too versatile a character to be placed under this trope. However, a Sunday Outland strip features Bill and Opus, lounging in a kiddie pool, while Opus rambles on...Lampshading this trope, he asks Bill his opinion on the stereotype of dogs being faithful, unconditional creatures while cats are mean, selfish, and narcissistic...all the while, Bill is setting up wires attached to a machine to electrocute the unsuspecting Opus. He changes his mind at the end, though.
  • Snuffles from Pearls Before Swine. Played for laughs.
  • In Peanuts, there's Snoopy's arch-enemy - The Unseen neighbour cat World War II, who appears to be nothing but a mindless brute.
    • What makes this concept even funnier is that Snoopy (who, being a dog, should really be the bane of a cat's existence) is genuinely terrified of WWII, and moments after taunting him, will always transform into a Miles Gloriosus.
  • Beetle Bailey: Sgt. Louise Lugg's cat Bella has a tough, nasty attitude, and is extremely pampered.


Tabletop Games Edit


Theater Edit

  • Even apart from cats' reputation in folklore, this is Older Than Radio; in Maurice Maeterlink's 1908 play L'Oiseau Bleu (later filmed as The Blue Bird), the children are aided by a dog and a cat. Guess which one betrays them?
  • The opera The English Cat by Hans Werner Henze: the cats are running the Royal Society For the Protection of Rats (!), but behind the charitable facade, they are all for money and fame -- and they don't mind getting red in the claws.
  • Of all the cats in the play, only Macavity in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats could really be called "mean".
  • Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet is nicknamed "prince [or king] of cats" by Mercutio, whom he eventually kills. Much depends upon interpretation, though; some productions play him as one more victim of the Feuding Families.
  • In Edmond Rostand's Chanticler, the farm's treacherous cat plots with the Blackbird and the predators of the night against the titular rooster.


Video Games Edit

 Kokonoe: Hmmm. I have to say, I kind of like the way your voice sounds right now... Are you crying? Is this the result of a suppressed fight-or-flight response constricting your airway?

Hazama: No, this is *Sneeze* *Sneeze* I'm just allergic to—*Sneeze*

Kokonoe: Allergic to cats? Oh, an antigen-antibody reaction. You're experiencing anaphylactic shock, huh?

Hazama: Just stay right where you are, all right?! You're freaking me out!

Kokonoe: Oh, you look so damn scared... Your face looks like a balloon, and you've got some sort of liquid oozing out of just about every hole in it... Ahaha! This is wonderful! Suffer some more! He he he...

  • In Adventure Quest Worlds, you get to fight a giant cat as the first boss of the Giant Tale storyline.
    • Maximilian Lionfang's armor is based off of a lion. Plus, he tortured the staff of Artix Entertainment, captured the Spirit of Frostval and several Frostval presents with a snow globe he took from Garaja, performed his Kick the Dog moment of burning the gifts, and even crossed the Moral Event Horizon by knocking the snow globe containing the Frostval Spirit herself out of the hero's hands and shattering it, even though she could not be killed because she was an IDEA.
  • According to the trailer, someone on The Sims 3 : Pets development team is definitely a dog person. During the trailer, dogs see off burglars, share the odd, bemused Aside Glance with the viewer, and rescue Little Timmy from Bullies. Cats? They eat the pet fish, give their owners the runaround at bathtime, and shred the furniture, hissing and spitting all the while and never bothering to make eye contact. The only ones they seem to like are the horses.
  • Dark Souls has the Great Felines - huge, Glasgow Grin-sporting monstrosities that make disturbing, yowling noises (basically, they sound like very, very angry housecats) and are capable of devouring the player character in one gulp.

Web Animation Edit

  • Simons Cat is seriously mean, even using a baseball bat to wake his owner.
    • Oddly enough, though, he also manages to be completely adorable while doing so.
  • Black Kitty from Goodbye Kitty.

Web Comics Edit

  • PvP has the aptly named "Scratch Fury, Destroyer of Worlds" (they let the teenaged intern name him). Scratch is a house cat owned by Skull the Troll, who was zapped by an intelligence machine. Once he gained human intelligence, he became increasingly power-mad and megalomaniacal, plotting world domination and general enslavement of humanity (and usually being foiled by his cat instincts). The author, as a response to people telling him how much like their cats Scratch was, broke the trend when his cat instincts actually caused a plan to work - his cat desire to kill birds and small animals and his human intelligence resulted in Scratch going on a minor animal killing spree culminating in the brutal murder of a junkyard dog. The author's response was how many of your cats have beaten a junkyard dog to death with a nail board?
  • An unusually crude example can be found in Errant Story - the main character, Meji, is a sorceress who has a flying, talking cat by the name of Ellis as her familiar. The 'talking' bit is the clincher, though, since his use of language could make sailors blush - he's constantly making crude suggestions, sexual references, and inappropriate jokes. For obvious reasons, Meji regularly applies a fireball or thunderbolt to him, but since he's Made of Iron, it doesn't really deter him to any significant degree...
  • Spark, the talking cat from Dominic Deegan, is the main character's pet and familiar. Though he's obviously a protagonist and very devoted to Dominic, Spark can still be a mischievous and downright self-absorbed little bastard at times.
  • Eben from Two Lumps.
  • Neko from Neko the Kitty Comics.
  • Lackadaisy: this may or may not count, considering Word of God has stated that the characters are more "humans in cat form" than straight up anthropomorphized cats, but every single character in Lackadaisy has at least one semi-psychotic trait. Rocky is Crazy Awesome bordering on Psychopathic Manchild, Freckle is Ax Crazy, Mordecai is a cold-blooded Psycho for Hire, Viktor is a Retired Badass with a tendency of beating the hell out of Ivy's various boyfriends, Nina has shades of My Beloved Smother mixed with Mama Bear, and even gentile Mitzi has a well hidden ruthless streak.
  • The Evil in Sluggy Freelance. Kittens who are literally the spawn of Satan, and which have a tendency to kill people if they don't get their milk.
  • Something Positive. It's implied that Choo Choo Bear and Twitchy Hug get up to some evil stuff off-camera...until Choo Choo arranges to have Twitchy Hug assassinated. On camera.
    • Early in the strip, Choo Choo was shown smothering a kitten, much to the girls' horror, but he has mostly regressed to just panty-stealing and being a background character recently. Twitchy Hug was assassinated mainly because he was getting increasingly psychotic -- he killed a hooker in a throwaway gag strip, was seen dragging a body through the house in another strip, and was about to attack Davan when he was killed himself. He also had Mickey-Jesus' head in a jar on top of the fridge.
    • In strips where Choo Choo Bear answers the Fourth Wall Mail Slot, he's shown to have utter contempt for the readers, the other characters, and the cartoonist. Of course, he also wears a smoking jacket and talks instead of going "Murr!". And is a recurring character in Something Positive.
      • This is not the same Choo Choo Bear. The cast page lists in-universe Choo Choo Bear and the anthropomorphic Choo Choo Bear separately, and explicitly says they're not the same character. Of course, the smoking jacket Choo Choo Bear still fits the trope.
    • In these two strips, Choo Choo's son, Woogie, claims that all cats are evil, soulless monsters forged in "hell's hate furnace" that condition their "owners" to associate abuse with love.
  • Sinfest features the cat Percival, who, while not overtly malicious, is certainly arrogant. Percival and his friendly but stupid dog companion, Pooch, live with a human whom Pooch calls "Master", while Percival contemptuously calls him "the man".
    • Percy has a soft spot for Pooch, though, sneaking in and patting him comfortingly when he's ill.
  • Adventurers. Not direct, but when the word "Cat" comes up in a game of evil Scrabble, you know someone's saying something.
    • Well, you can't see the rest of the word...there could be an "s" there.
  • Based on a true story.
  • Questionable Content has Mieville, Dora's cat, which seems nice enough, but always seems to suggest murder as an option. He also likes to take catnip and watch The Wizard Of Oz.
    • The "murder" thing was Dora projecting. Since then, however, Mieville has demonstrated that he is sufficiently evil (or at least sufficiently creepy) to render even Pintsize catatonic...* cough*
  • Mecha takes on the form of a cat in Circumstance of the Revenant Braves. Initially, he appears to be a decent individual, but we soon find out that his ethics and motivations are at least somewhat questionable.
  • Faux Pas has 144 cats considering Randy the red fox their personal toy. They take turns in dropping him in an old well, tying him up, or turning him into a giant yarn ball.
  • Captain SNES: "I thought about giving Blue a happy ending, but then I remembered something. Cats are jerks."
  • The Perpetual Aquarium: [1]Cartoon Has Cloudie the Kadoatie (i.e., cat on neopets), who lives this trope (although somewhat understandably at times). Snowie, another kadoatie, is a bit of a subversion.
  • Living With Insanity has a cat who isn't just mean, she helped the robot head attempt world domination and enjoys castrating trekkies.
  • Feep of Little Tales seems to be the devil incarnate, once throwing up on a priest who blessed her,
  • Bob and George here.
  • In Afghanis-tan, The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are represented by stray cats who have taken over the poor girl's house.
  • In Ménage à 3, Zii says her cat Lita hates everyone. However, the cat seems to take an immediate liking to Gary and even sleeps in his arms.
    • Lita pretty much belongs to Gary now.
    • Of course, Gary is allergic to cats (though he is apparently on medication).
  • Order of the Stick has resident Heroic Comedic Sociopath Belkar adopt a cat, one formerly owned by a Magnificent Bastard (Lord Shojo). Do evil people like cats or do cats like evil people?
    • Mr Scruffy has proven his true alignment by mercilessly (and gorily) slaughtering a level 1 commoner gladiator. (Okay, one might argue he was trying to defend his owner and was unaware the latter was in no danger at all).
    • And, later... poor, poor YukYuk: the kobold might have had retribution coming... but that is Evil. But, again, you could lay that mainly at Belkar's door. Maybe.
  • Eerie Cuties: the vampire queen has...quite a cat
  • Squid Row ruins one of Randie's paintings, impentiently.
  • Purple Pussy will break off your fingers and jam a cigarette in your eye just for giggles.
  • In Off White, a snow leopard causes trouble for a group of sledders because it was offended at them for intruding into its territory.
  • Karate Bears have a sidekick, Kat, who is very cruel on occasion.
  • This Dissonance comic shows how cruel cats are when they act cute. Cats are morbidly playful.


Web Original Edit

  The one big thing I forgot to mention/was that he wasn't fighting./He just wanted attention.

Western Animation Edit

  • Rumor has it that Walt Disney hated cats (and praised mice and dogs, the two mortal enemies of cats). Among the ways cats are portrayed in Disney animation:
    • In Classic Disney Shorts, the regular antagonist of Mickey Mouse (and Co.) is Peg-leg Pete, a rather large, imposing bully-of-a-cat. The anthropomorphic dog, Goofy, is amiable, simple-minded, and good-natured, and Pluto is just..a dog
    • Peg-leg Pete later becomes Black Pete in the Disney films, the boorish villain.
      • The 1937 short The Worm Turns both supports and subverts this. Mickey is a chemist who creates a courage formula which turns weak characters into courageous ones, which means they Took a Level In Badass. He first uses it on a less anthropomorphic mouse being tormented by a cat, and then when Pluto chases said cat, Mickey uses the formula on the feline, who proceeds to open a can of whoop-ass on the dog. This work is especially interesting in that it inverts the normal pecking order of the classic American cartoon "food chain" step by step; mouse to cat to dog to dogcatcher (here played by Peg-Leg Pete).
    • In the Alice Comedies Disney made before creating Mickey, Pete is a non-descript bearlike creature. Alice is also accompanied by a non-villainous cat named Julius.
    • Lady and the Tramp has the twin evil Siamese cats who wreck the house, try to steal milk from the baby, and then frame Lady for all of it when she tries to stop them, and they don't even get a comeuppance. By contrast, the worst the dogs (even the ones in the Pound) seem to muster up is roguish and/or misunderstood.
    • Lady Tremaine's cat, Lucifer, from the Disney version of Cinderella. Not only does he try to eat the titular heroine's mice friends, he even delights in tormenting poor Cinderella herself, particularly if you note Cinderella III, where he is turned human and loves the idea of sending Cinderella to her doom.
    • Honest John's feline stooge, Gideon, in the Disney version of Pinocchio. At least once, he tries to hit Pinocchio on the head with a mallet, only to be stopped by the fox, who thinks that the cat's idea is too crude.
    • One of the two big bads in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers is feline crime boss Fat Cat. One of his henchmen, Mepps, is also a cat. In the pilot episode, Fat Cat and his main henchmen deal with the Siamese Twins, a pair of felines that scare even him. Also, when Gadget becomes a human's good luck charm (or so he thinks), his cat becomes jealous enough to kill, her being his previous charm.
    • The Disney Animated Canon version of Tarzan has Sabor, a vicious leopard that practically borders on Nightmare Fuel. She kills Kala's baby and Tarzan's parents and is strong enough to put up a huge fight against a silverback gorilla.
      • Not only that, but she practically comes across as a feline Ax Crazy with her bulging eyes and spastic mannerisms.
    • Disney's The Jungle Book has both an antagonistic (Shere Khan) and friendly (Bagheera) feline character, but this is hardly Disney's invention.
    • At the beginning of Bolt, we see two of the felines who play Dr. Calico's Right Hand Cats on the Show Within a Show winding up Bolt.
    • Unsurprisingly, The Great Mouse Detective has an example, with the cat Felicia acting as Ratigan's equivalent of a Shark Pool.
    • There is a show on Disney XD called Kid vs. Kat. Guess what it's about.
    • The main villain of the first act of Goliath II is a tiger named Rajah (no relation to the nice, similarly-named tiger from Aladdin), who is constantly trying to eat the titular elephant. He is ultimately defeated by being tossed into a crocodile's mouth, but later crawled out unharmed and ran away, never to be seen again.
  • Chuck Jones' Claude Cat was eventually recast as a mean antagonist to the much cuter Frisky Puppy and/or Pussyfoot the Kitten.
    • He even changes appearance in the recasting, going from soft and rounded to scraggly and angular like Wile. E. Coyote.
  • Garfield, of Garfield and Friends, is portrayed somewhat like this, making him a sort of Anti-Hero; however, he's less cruel and nasty than lazy and cynical. He does try (and fail) to catch the non-talking birds in his universe, but unlike other cats, he won't chase mice unless Jon forces his paw. Even then, he won't eat them, even under orders from The Kitty Council.
    • The comics version of Garfield is an outright bastard about killing spiders, though. This may be intentionally deconstructing the Cats Are Mean trope, though, since most humans have no compunction about acting the exact same way toward arthropod vermin.
  • Robot Chicken condensed this entire trope into one thirty-second skit: a cat, sitting at the top of a staircase, deliberately trips its owner. Big, flashing letters declare "Cats Are Jerks". We then get the tripping in super slo-motion, just to make the point.
    • In a much later skit, several officials discuss why there was a cat at many disasters such as Kennedy's assassination and Hurricane Katrina (and also the above sketch). They conclude that they are being manipulated by cats. When one asks, "what can we do?", the scientist reveals himself as a cat, responds "YOU CAN DO NOTHING!", and shoots them all. Then a big "Cats are Jerks" pops up.
  • The Kappa Mikey episode "Lily Meow" features a devious, scheming, Devil in Plain Sight kitten named Kello who uses his cuteness as a weapon.
  • Cat Dog fits this trope pretty well, with Dog being rather unintelligent, but Cat being prissy and rude. He does learn a lesson quite often, though, and there are many moments when he shows genuine kindness. He's still one of the meanest of the show's protagonists, close in the running to the mouse, Winslow.
  • Katz, from Courage the Cowardly Dog. "A bit of sport before dying, old boy?"
  • Played straight with Ren and Stimpy in the The Ren and Stimpy Show episode, "Who's Stupid Now?", as a consequence of the Personality Swap plot.
  • An episode of The Powerpuff Girls involved a faceless Bond-style villain who was, in fact, being mind controlled by his Right-Hand-Cat, the TRUE villain.
  • Swat Kats takes place on an alien planet inhabited by anthropomorphic cats. Thus, some of them are good and some evil. The Rogues Gallery of villainous cats in the series includes Dark Kat (Big Bad crime boss), Doctor Viper (a half-reptilian Mad Scientist), the Metallikats (Outlaw Couple), married gangsters brought Back From the Dead as Killer Robots), the Pastmaster (a Time Traveling sorcerer), and Madkat (an Evil Clown with magical powers}.
  • Mr. Jinks, the enemy of Pixie and Dixie.
  • The werecats in Scooby Doo on Zombie Island.
  • Kitty, the psychotic Devil in Plain Sight cat from Taz-Mania.
  • An episode of King of the Hill deals with this trope. Hank signs up to care for the pet of an army commander, assuming immediately that "Pet" means "Dog". When he's assigned a cat, named Duke, Hank is portrayed as cheated and humiliated for it. Further, Duke himself is mean and ill-tempered, making life a living hell for his good-natured caretakers. Bill meanwhile, winds up taking care of a dog through the same program, who winds up not only being loyal and well-behaved, but makes Bill successful with the opposite sex. Subtle.
  • An episode of American Dad has Steve finding a stray cat and caring for it, and no matter what Steve tries to do, the cat always goes into a violent berserk rage against Steve.
  • You only need to watch one episode of Atomic Betty to see it was obviously written by a cat hater.
  • When Brian leaves in the Family Guy episode "Brian: Portrait of a Dog", the Griffins get a new cat. In the cat's first appearance, it hisses at the family from the top of the fridge and throws fireworks. Peter later notes how he loves their new cat with his back revealing plenty of claw marks.
  • Johnny Test - in one episode, Johnny and friends stop an evil cat endowed with heightened intelligence similar to Johnny's dog, Dooky, from transforming the entire town into cats.
  • Brutus, the bully's cat from Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, is a great example, always trying to eat Woodstock until Snoopy decks him.
  • In The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs, dogs are the heroes, so cats are often the villains.
  • Mighty Mouse cartoons used "Cats are Evil" as their main premise.
  • The recent Futurama episode "That Darn Katz!"
  • Ravage from Transformers is a Decepticon leopard/puma.
  • The Schwartzentigers on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • Rarity's pet cat Opalescence in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic can be nasty to just about anyone except Fluttershy, the resident Friend to All Living Things. Rarity herself is sometimes just asking for it, like when she's innocently insensitive to what makes her pet feel uncomfortable, but Opal's attitude is pretty indiscriminate towards everyone.
  • Makunga, the evil Scar-lookalike lion villain of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
  • During the Animal Talk episodes of Arthur, this trope is played completely straight.
  • Stinky from Doug.
  • Krypto the Superdog has to deal with Mechanikat, Snooky Wookums, and Isis.
    • Even his feline Sidekick, Streaky, can come across as a bit of a jerk sometimes. Though if you lived with a girl like Andrea, you'd probably have the same personality...
  • In Thundercats 2011, this is exaggerated and Played for Drama, as Thundera's Proud Warrior Race, the Cats, rule their empire under the jingoistic presumption that Cats Are Superior. They've fought a generations-long war with the Lizards, and see little problem with enslaving those hungry Lizards they catch raiding their crops due to the Cats' systematic monopolization of arable land, even lynching them, if they feel like it. The "Alley Cats" of Thundera's slums think nothing of beating and mugging hapless Specific minorities like Dogs. There are some exceptions to the rule, young Rebel Prince Lion-O and his Thundercats among them, but the Cats' cruelty proves a Fatal Flaw for Thundera as a whole.
  • Played straight in the Sports Cartoons that used to air on Nickelodeon during commercial breaks. The blue cat, in every cartoon except for one, is an unfair cheater who almost always gets his come-uppance by either the hippopotamus or the pig.


Real Life Edit

  • Many cats' tendency to get overstimulated when they are being petted has given the cats a bad reputation for being "crazy". You're petting the cat, minding your own business, when the cat suddenly scratches or bites you--what happened? Well, many cats can only take so much petting before it overloads their little feline brains. Fluffy has been getting steadily more annoyed with you for quite some time and telling you to stop in what he thinks are no uncertain terms. Unfortunately, you may not be as good at reading feline body language as Fluffy thinks you are; so he thinks you're being rude and you think he's being crazy--all in all, not such a nice arrangement. (Hint: a tense cat will twitch its tail, open its eyes wide, and tense its muscles.)
  • It doesn't help that cats retain most of their ancestors' predatory and hunting instincts, while dogs are more scavengers, like their forebears, the coyote and jackal. If well-fed, a cat doesn't especially need to kill, but will do so out of sport, which isn't good news for the local bird, mouse, and possum populations. The mother cat trains her children to hunt fairly young, often by offering them her still-bloody kills, so they get the taste for fresh meat when they're barely off the nipple.
    • Cats killing "for fun" may be partially our fault, as hunting vermin is why we domesticated cats in the first place. The cats that killed the most got to breed.
  • Cats are essentially introverts by default, while dogs are essentially extroverts, due to their solo and pack origins. This leads to cats receiving the same Loners Are Freaks label applied to decent but socially disinterested people.
  • As briefly mentioned in the Stephen King example above, it was once believed that cats will steal the breath of babies. In real life, particularly territorial cats (especially those who have been the sole animal in the house) will sometimes exhibit aggression towards new infants brought into the home, perceiving them as potential invaders or rivals (the beloved pet has suddenly found itself receiving far less attention and affection with the arrival of this new, squishy, hairless creature)
  • Author Elizabeth Bear's "Presumptuous Cat"/"Cat vs. Monkey" posts are a hugely anticipated cat feature of her blog.
  • Cracked.com shares with us the 6 Adorable Cat Behaviors With Shockingly Evil Explanations!
    • "Evil" probably isn't the right word, though, for things like wanting to teach humans to hunt, or not liking humans' smell...hey, wouldn't the former be more mentorly anyway?
  • While cats are (were?) said to be "false" and "untrustworthy", experts say that the opposite is true, too: cats are comparably easy to read and don't lie about their feelings. Cat purrs = happy (or trying to help some broken bones heal. You should be able to tell which). Cat gets twitchy = nervous. Cat hisses = angry. Ever heard of a case where a cat acts friendly with purring and all and then attacking unprovoked without any warning?
    • Actually, yes, since cats also purr when they are frightened.
  • One of the explanations for cats being one of 4Chan's Morality pets goes "/b/ loves cats because they're the only thing as cold-hearted as /b/ itself".
  • Yet another explanation is in the children's picture book: Hoopmann, Kathy. All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.
  • Towser, the mouser of Glenturret Distillery from 1963 to 1987, is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most prolific mouser, totaling 28,899 kills. You can tell she's mean just by looking at her.
    • The tortoiseshell fur is a dead giveaway. Many vets report that of all the cats they encounter, it's the torties which make them don the gauntlets, given as they are to random, seemingly almost spiteful, outbursts of violence.
      • The fact that she's Scottish wasn't enough of a tip-off?
  • A cat snuck on board a train in New Zealand, scratching the driver so badly a replacement driver was needed.
  • This cat intimidates two alligators, for seemingly no reason other than territoriality.
  • WhatJeffKilled. Blog devoted entirely to show (in gruesome and disturbing detail) all the prey of one particular cat outside the city.
  • Cats don't see themselves as little people; they see us as big, stupid kittens. You know why they bring you fresh corpses? Because they love you and want you to be well fed.
    • They're also trying to teach you how to hunt for yourself.
  • In some countries, like Mexico, cats can be:
    • Cheaper than dogs (unless they have pedigree or are from a rare race), since they're considered untrustworthy or...
    • Harder to find in pet shops than dogs or birds. It doesn't help that ancient Mexicans (Aztecs) preferred dogs over cats.



Subversions, Inversions, and other Exceptions: Edit

Anime and Manga Edit

  • Mayaa from Azumanga Daioh
  • Chi's Sweet Home is all about this. A curious little kitten shares her take on day to day events.
  • Happy from Fairy Tail.
  • Viral from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann starts off as mean. Gainax has stated that he is a Beastman comprised of cat and shark genetics. Subverted in that he's just following orders, and he does a Heel Face Turn later.
  • A subversion exist in Cardcaptor Sakura. Kero can be annoying and far too smug, sometimes seems like a Dirty Coward, and has a bad temper that can lead to old-style comedic catfights at the drop of a hat. But he's also unequivocally a hero, utterly adorable and sweet most of the time, has a hilarious addiction to video games, his most memorable trait is being a Big Eater, and his true form is incredibly awesome and badass (most of the time). His counterpart, Spinel Sun, is set up to look like this trope, since he works for the Big Bad of Season 2, but in actuality, he's quite sophisticated, charming, and unthreatening, and he rarely does anything 'villainous' unless ordered to. He even befriends Kero (albeit with a little of The Rival and Worthy Opponent going on) and turns out to have a hilarious reaction to sugar.
  • All of the incarnations of Leomon in any of the Digimon series are always a heroic and awesome Bad Asses and consistently complete Heroic Sacrifices.
  • Kyo, from Fruits Basket. Basically hated by his own family for being the cat of the zodiac, he is also saddled with a curse that turns him into a hideous and apparently horrible smelling demon should he ever not wear his magical bracelet. The curse stems from the cat of the zodiac legend disagreeing with God. Turns out, he didn't want to live forever. His charming personality doesn't exactly help either. Of course, he gets the girl in the end.
    • Kyo's got pretty good reasons to be the way he is. His skittish personality comes from his mother killing herself for "giving birth to a monster" and being told "I Have No Son" by his traumatised and also mentally unstable father right after that, who handed the kid to Kyo's uncle, Kazuma. Not to mention he, just like Yuki, was a victim of the also mentally unstable Akito's psychological abuse, and later blamed himself greatly for the death of Kyoko, Tohru (the girl)'s mother, which he witnessed. So, he's not an angel, but he ain't evil: more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with quite the Freudian Excuse.
  • Averted in Outlaw Star: The Catgirl Cop is on the good guys' side in spite of being slightly antagonistic towards them.
  • Meowth from Pokémon is debatable, as the Team Rocket Trio are so pathetic that the viewer may actually feel sorry for him. Also, he does have some moments where he displays his nicer side, such as making sure a Skitty he met got to May since he knew its life would consist of getting sent flying a daily basis.
  • Kimba the White Lion inverts this trope with its hero and his girlfriend, but plays this trope straight with Claw and Cassius.
    • Heartwretchingly subverted in the new 2009 adaptation of "Jungle Emperor Leo", where Kimba lives with his parents in an artificial, strictly controlled habitat with the other animals designed by the creator, Director Ooyama, who doesn't actually have their best interests in mind. In fact, he's not doing it to save the species, but to show his god-like power over life, including genetically engineering animals in People Jars (or, should I say, animal jars) to populate his new neo-jungle with perfect species, while disposing of the ones who don't meet his genetic requirements. One of those unfortunate failures who survived was a panther named Toto, who, as a cub, was forced to watch the rest of his cloned siblings die as a result of Ooyama's purging for their genetic imperfection. Watching an adorable little cub become a battle-heartened, cynical panther dedicated to killing humanity makes his Redemption Equals Death when helped by the only person who showed him kindness (and the director's son no less!) all the more sad. Of course, Kimba and his parents are subversions too.
  • Played straight and then subverted in The Borrower Arrietty. Sho's cat, Niya, at first, is mean and predatory towards Arrietty, but he ultimately makes peace with her.
  • Digimon Xros Wars gives us Bastemon, a friendly catlike Digimon who, despite being some kind of royalty, eager joins Xros Heart.


Comic Books Edit

  • Subverted in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage comics by Mirage. Klunk (Michaelangelo's cat) is very kind and friendly.
  • Seemingly played straight with the Red Lantern's blue house cat, but subverted in a recent spotlight on Dex-Star which explains why he's so angry. A gang of thieves killed his human, and he wants revenge on them. Yep, a cat with loyalty.
  • The Church Mice children's 'comics' feature a cat called Sampson that lives at peace with a positive plague of mice that inhabit a suburban church. It is made abundantly clear in at least one book that Sampson is something of a freak...
  • Subverted hard in Billy the Cat, where the eponymous character, who ironically started as a mean and vicious brat, ends up being reincarnated as a cat, and becomes actually a better person while being a cat. Almost all real cats portrayed around him are portrayed as at worst neutral, and at best friendly. The only exception is the villain, Sanctifer, and even he is revealed to have a Freudian Excuse later in the serie.


Films - Animated Edit

  • Danny and Sawyer from Cats Don't Dance
  • Rajah the nice tiger from Aladdin (no relation to the similarly-named tiger from the first act of Goliath II).
  • Subverted with all the lions of The Lion King and the two sequels, except Scar and Zira.
  • Subverted with Bagheera from The Jungle Book, though this is hardly Disney's invention.
  • Walt's story men were able to get a real feline protagonist into Pinocchio. True, Figaro was a cute, unrealistically obedient kitten who took a lot of crap from an old man and a goldfish, but still, good cat!
  • Oliver and Company strongly subverts this (if not inverts it) with Oliver the cat portrayed primarily as The Woobie, with probably the fewest wrongdoings of any character, with the possible exception of Jenny, another woobie. Even questionable morality is mostly on the part of the dogs and, of course, the human characters (except Jenny). This approach is very unusual for a Disney movie.
  • In The Rescuers, this trope is Handwaved away when the mice meet the cat Rufus - he asks them politely to leave, because if mice move in, his owners will get rid of him for not doing his job. He comments that he's "too old to be chasing mice", which implies that a younger Rufus would gladly have killed and eaten them.
  • The Cheshire Cat in Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland, though ostensibly a friendly character, seems to delight in getting Alice into trouble with the Queen (whether Alice is actually the intended target of his mischief or he simply enjoys angering the Queen is not made clear). Conversely, in the real-world segments of the film, Alice has a perfectly pleasant and innocent pet cat named Dinah.
  • The Disney animated feature The Aristocats both subverts and supports this trope. The elegant, refined Duchess and her rambunctious-yet-lovable kittens are as nice as you can hope; they're even friends with a mouse named Roquefort. Then there's Duchess' boyfriend O'Malley, the alley cat, and his pals, Scat Cat and his jazz band, all of whom are "a little rough around the edges." While Scat Cat's gang are definitely good guys, at one point, they capture Roquefort and toy with him, clearly intending to eat him. Roquefort survives only because he blurts out that he knows O'Malley. The film features a pair of dogs, who don't treat each other quite as well.
    • Historical note: The Aristocats was the first film produced after Walt's death.
  • On the other hand, One Hundred and One Dalmatians has Sgt. Tibbs, a friendly and heroic tabby cat who is the one to initially free the puppies from Cruella's henchmen, and was produced while Walt was still alive.
  • The titular hero of Bolt sees all cats as servants of Dr. Calico early on, though he eventually grows to become friends with Mittens. Mittens herself fulfills this trope at first, behaving like a Mafia don toward the local pigeons, bullying them into bringing her food scraps in exchange for not getting eaten, but soon starts to drift away from it as the film progresses. She turns out to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and a Broken Bird whose relationship with Bolt leads them to become Fire-Forged Friends.
    • It's addressed in a surprisingly mature way. When Bolt realizes that this trope simply isn't true (at least, not to the extent he's been trained to think), it's the first major step in his Character Development. And while it's only Subtext, it's implied a few times that Mittens suffers from Fantastic Racism as a result of this perception.
    • Furthermore, it's implied that Mitten's behavior before meeting Bolt was a Jerkass Facade to stay alive, i.e. she only bullied the birds because she's declawed and can't hunt.
  • Alex the lion from Madagascar and his parents from the sequel.
  • Subverted with Tiger from An American Tail.
    • Tiger gets a pass because he's a vegetarian.
      • Don Bluth said once in an interview about the production of An American Tail that "We knew that if we were going to say "all cats are bad," we wanted to have at least one good one...and that's Tiger."
  • The German-animated film Felidae is a rather unusual example, since, apart from Gustav and Pretorious, all of the main characters are cats. It's a case of cats acting like bastards towards other cats.
  • Subverted with Tigress from Kung Fu Panda, especially during the end credits, where she not only loosens up enough to do her own imitation of Shifu, but is seen lying on her back, flipping and twirling the training dummy with her paws. Apparently, peace coming to the valley helped her mellow out quite a bit.
    • Averted with Mei Ling from Kung Fu Panda: Secrets Of The Furious Five.


Film - Live Action Edit

  • It is suggested that Orion in Men in Black actually cared about or had some loyalty towards his owner.
  • The sequel to Cats and Dogs shows that there are heroic cats. They're just more subtle about their work. Though the villain double-subverts this, she at least possess a Freudian Excuse for her attitude.
  • The only feline character in the Hungarian movie The Cat Trap who subverts this trope is Cathy, the daughter of one of the villains' henchmen who's actually friends with a mouse.
  • Played with in Stuart Little. The pet cat Snowbell starts very antagonistic towards the heroic mouse Stuart, even trying to eat him and kill him, but later is shown as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and, when his street cat friends from the alley want him to eat Stuart to be In with the In Crowd, he ultimately sides with Stuart. Played straight in the novel, however - see above.
  • In the remake of Doctor Dolittle, the sick tiger is about to commit suicide on behalf of this trope, and Dolittle (Eddie Murphy) is forced to think of an example of a positive depiction of a tiger in popular culture in order to convince the tiger to change his mind.
    • On the other hand, note that said tiger himself is depicted as surprisingly gentle and kind (Albert Brooks' voice doesn't hurt) with the only 'meanness' being due to a shard of bone in his head pressing in on his brain.
  • Slight subversion in the live-action versions of the Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey series. The cat, Sassy, is sarcastic and temperamental, even though she's a protagonist. The films don't really portray her negatively as much as they portray the two dogs, Chance and Shadow, in a much more noble light. For a straight example, see above.
  • The Adventures of Milo and Otis was extensively reworked from its original Japanese release...but the protagonist cat, Milo, is portrayed as good-natured and curious, and even his occasional mischievous moments are generally endearing rather than offputting. Also somewhat unusually in fiction, he's close friends with a pug named Otis, hence the title.
  • Film exception: You'd expect a Stephen King film about a cat to be all over this trope, right? But in the anthology film Cat's Eye, the cat is a mere bystander in the first two stories, and in the third, despite the mother's belief that it should be kept out of her daughter's room in case it "steals her breath", it actually defends her from the troll-like creature which is really doing this. Maybe Stephen King likes cats.
    • Given that, at least for a while, many of his author portraits on the back of his books have been of him holding his cat, I'm going to say yes.
    • Also, in Sleepwalkers, the villains look like werecats but real cats attack them on sight. In fact, it's a small army of cats that saves the day when they scratch the villains to death.
      • He also wrote the "Cat from Hell" segment of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie. Despite the title, the homicidal cat is actually punishing the characters for their wrong doings.
  • Unlike in the books, the live-action film of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had Aslan's followers include leopards and cheetahs.


Folklore Edit

  • In a Japanese folk-tale, a young boy's favorite thing to draw is the domestic cat, and one night, he happens upon an abandoned temple. Bored, he covers the walls with pictures of cats and goes to sleep. Sometime in the night, a demon spots him (the demon being the reason the temple was abandoned--it had eaten everyone there) and gives chase. The boy hides, hears a horrible commotion, and, come morning, peeks out of his hiding place: all that remains of the demon are a few bones, and every single one of his cat-pictures has a smear of red around its mouth.


Literature Edit

  • Diana Wynne Jones's Castle in the Sky (sequel to Howl's Moving Castle) features a black cat who generally makes herself a nuisance to the main character, putting her and her kitten's needs before anything else. Later in the book, she is revealed to be Sophie, the protagonist of the first book, and the kitten is her and Howl's son, Morgan.
  • Partially subverted in Patricia Highfield's short story "Ming's Biggest Prey"--Teddie is abusive to Elaine, and tries to drown Ming, but Ming clearly resents anyone and everyone who takes Elaine's attention away from him.
  • In the fourth of Christopher Stasheff's A Wizard in Rhyme books, the manticore that menaces the hero (who eventually gives him the name 'Manny') at first seems to be this trope, but then pulls a Heel Face Turn and ends up being a stalwart and brave companion (though there are a number of instances of his predatory nature being used as the basis for jokes.)
  • Petaybee: while the cats are on the good side, they are portrayed as belligerent at best and vicious at worst.
  • Reversed in The Cat Who Went to Heaven, a novel written in 1930 by Elizabeth Coatsworth and based on Buddhist folk tales. A painter is commissioned by some Buddhist monks for a painting glorifying all the animals blessed by Buddha at his death. According to classical Buddhism, the cat rejected Buddha and was not included [1]. Nevertheless, the painter had recently adopted a stray cat, and having loved the animal, could not imagine Heaven not accepting cats. To the outrage of the monks, he includes a small white cat in the painting, and his own cat dies of happiness at the same time. The next day, by miracle, the painting of Buddha has changed to him blessing the cat personally.
  • In the short story "The Price" in his Smoke and Mirrors anthology, the cat, though scarred, grizzled, and usually bleeding profusely, is actually defending the family from Satan, who keeps trying to sneak into the house. The introduction implies that the cat is a guardian angel, of sorts.
  • In the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the cats of Ulthar are sentient and helpful to those who deserve it, but also cryptic and very dangerous. In the novella Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, the cats help hero Randolph Carter and make war with the evil zoogs. In the short story "The Cats of Ulhar", they slaughter a pair of villains out of revenge. Lovecraft himself was a cat-lover who believed that they are connected to ancient mysteries.
    • Lovecraft has a somewhat more obvious aversion in the early story "The Rats in the Walls", where the cat's agitation and natural animosity with the rats (here clearly an evil force) makes them good and very useful for the suspense.
      • And at the same time turning what could be another great Lovecraft story into pure Narm by having the rather often repeated name of Niggerman.
  • In A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, the cat Greymalk and her mistress are sympathetic and not evil, unlike the rest of the Openers, and unwittingly wind up helping the Closers, thanks to Bubo. Though the canine narrator mentions that cats are notoriously unreliable and sneaky, and, normally, he doesn't care about them, Bubo had a thing or two to say about cat-and-mouse games.
  • In The Cat Who Wished To Be A Man, by Lloyd Alexander. The eponymous cat, Lionel, begs his master (a wizard who gave him speech in the first place) to turn him into a human. Lionel is one of the kindest, nicest, and most generous humans in the book, especially compared to the villainous and tyrannical local ruler, bent on bleeding the town dry with outrageous taxes and fines.
    • Lloyd Alexander has played this trope in many of his books.
  • A notable series of aversions are various fantasy novels with heroic (but possibly Deadpan Snarker) cats as the main characters: Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams, Diane Duane's Feline Wizards sequence, the Carbonel trilogy by Barbara Sleigh, and the Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter.
  • Subverted and played straight in The Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan the Golden Lion Jesus, while "not tame", is most definitely the head Good Guy. He also disguises Himself as a domestic cat once in order to comfort Shasta. There are other good cats, such as other lions and leopards.
  • Bagheera from The Jungle Book is a wise and loyal ally to Mowgli - although he is also known to be a ferocious and deadly hunter.
  • In the Land of Oz books:
    • The Glass Cat is vain (although that is more her maker's fault than hers), but she does help out Dorothy and co. quite frequently.
    • There's also the white kitten Eureka, brought to Oz by Dorothy in one of the books, with whom the Glass Cat has an ongoing rivalry; like the Glass Cat, Eureka is somewhat bratty, but not evil.
  • The cat from The Last Unicorn ultimately helps Molly, even though he is a bit of a jerk about it.
  • Subverted in the Amelia Peabody series, where the cat Bastet (always referred to as "the cat Bastet" in full) and her daughter, Sekhmet, are somewhat snarky in behavior, but about as useful and familiar-like as cats can be in non-fantasy fiction.
  • Mostly averted in Tad Williams' Tailchaser's Song. Cats are described as being catlike, but not in a mean or selfish way; they're just cats. The bad guy's a cat, of course, but mostly an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Subversion: Maurice, the talking cat from Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, is a feline Jerk with a Heart of Gold: he's greedy, sneaky, and sarcastic, but, despite his protests to the contrary, he does care about the eponymous intelligent rats he's been hanging out with. He also makes it a point to check that the mice and rats he hunts can't talk before eating them, out of guilt for gaining his own sentience by eating one of the talking rats. He even gives up one of his nine lives to Death in order to save Dangerous Beans.
  • You would expect that the book series Redwall would only obey this trope, since mice are about half the cast. Oddly enough, it doesn't. The first cat we ever meet, Squire Julian, spits the mouse hero out when he accidentally falls into his mouth, complaining that he doesn't eat rodents anymore; Julian is more of a resigned noble than anything else. His ancestor, Gingivere (seen in the later-released but chronologically earlier Mossflower), is genuinely a good, kind soul, and his father Verdauga has his good side. On the other hand, Gingivere's sister, Tzarmina, is that book's Big Bad (and kills their father, framing Gingivere for it), and their uncle Ungatt Trunn is the villain in the book Lord Brocktree. It's about an even split.
    • It's worth noting that Julian is one of the few actually described as a cat, rather than a wildcat. This might simply be because he appears in the first book and Jaques didn't think to realize domestic cats wouldn't be around in a world without humans, but nonetheless, it paints a much less feral image.
    • Oddly, various non-cat species that prey on rodents, even within the Redwall universe (seeing as Badgers don't seem to, even though they do in real life), such as hawks and owls, are not always portrayed as evil, ranging from noble heroes (there was one owl sage, at least one heroic hawk, the latter because he was rescued by woodlanders) to dangerous but neutral on the good-evil scale (would eat woodlanders in theory, but more often preyed on vermin).
  • Neil Gaiman also subverts this trope.
    • Subverted in Coraline - the cat is snarky, overtly cool towards the main character, and hates being picked up or 'played with', but genuinely seems to care about the girl and is her main ally against the Other Mother. He points out that the tendency of cats to play with their food sometimes lets it escape, which rarely happens to humans' food.
    • Neil does write nice things about Bast, the Egyptian Goddess of Cats.
  • Partially subverted in The Island of Doctor Moreau: while the leopard-man's behavior is sinister and a puma hybrid kills Moreau himself, it's the hyena Biological Mashup that's the true beastman villain of the piece. (Even cats have better press than some species...)
  • In the sequel anthology to Watership Down, a couple of cats aren't villains: in one story, a peaceful cat becomes a temporary ally of the hero, and in another, a group of rabbits gang up on and gruesomely kill a harmless cat, which leads to their whole warren being exterminated.
  • In The House of Night, cats are friends and allies to the Changing vampyres. They roam the House of Night freely and main character Zoey's cat Nala is a source of comfort and aid to her.
  • The Cat in the Hat is a trickster subversion.
  • In The Hundred and One Dalmatians (the novel upon which the Disney movie is based), Cruella de Vil's cat is portrayed as a sympathetic character who helps the dogs save their puppies and trashes her owner's fur collection as revenge for Cruella killing her kittens. In addition, the colonel has a female cat lieutenant, Willow (changed to the male Sgt. Tibbs in the film, who was obviously ready to die protecting the puppies. Fortunately Pongo and Perdita arrive in a classic Big Damn Heroes moment to save the day.).
  • In the Honor Harrington series, the treecats of Sphinx are sentient, empathically bonded to their humans, loyal to a fault, and fully capable of obliterating anything that dares threaten them or their human charges. (Nimitz, Honor's treecat, sees enemies in two forms: those that have been properly dealt with and those that are still alive.)
  • In Snot Stew, POV Character Kikki is a Shrinking Violet, subverting the stereotype. Her brother, Toby, starts out more mischievous, but becomes more of a jerk as the plot kicks in. And pays for it, too.
  • Subverted in Harry Potter. Hermione's pet cat Crookshanks repeatedly attacks Ron's pet rat Scabbers, who turns out to be the evil Peter Pettigrew in disguise.
  • Inversion: In R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt books, the heroic magical panther Guenhyvar is often seen fighting large and nasty canine monsters.
  • While the man in Poe's "The Black Cat" doomed himself by hanging the eponymous puss (who might even be heroic), the resulting downfall is just as mean.
    • There are two black cats in this story: there is the hanged one (who was rather friendly than heroic) and the second one, found by the protagonist later, who was a bit scary (when he was found he only had a white spot that begun to become larger and gallows-shaped). Eventually, he tried to escape from the protagonist who wanted to kill him when he was drunk, which led to making the protagonist kill his wife when she tried to save the cat. Then, he alerted policemen when they were investigating her disappearance and searched in the protagonist's basement (the corpse was behind the wall that the man made after killing her, but he hadn't noticed that the cat was also there).
    • Here, cats aren't really evil, or cruel, or mean, so much as bodies for poetic justice to walk around in.
  • The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her To Fly, by Luis Sep?da. Although almost the entire cast is made of well-meaning cats, they do have to deal with abusive alley felines.
  • In Robert Westall's The Cats of Seroster, the cats are far from evil; they spend most of the book attempting to save the city they live in by convincing a young man to become a hero. They do have some bad moments, but mostly manage to avoid this trope.
  • Subverted thoroughly in Michael Ende's The Night of Wishes: Mauritzio di Mauro, devoted pet of the evil sorcerer planning the world's undoing, is, in fact, a spy sent out to stop him. Too bad he is so naive, incompetent, and inclined to believe the best about everybody in the world that he long since was discovered and duped into believing that the man truly was good.
  • Also subverted in Ende's The Neverending Story in the character of the lion Grograman. Yes, all land around him is turned into scorching deserts and no one can touch him without being burnt to a crisp, but this is an involuntary part of his nature and not a sign of malice or inner evil. When Bastian, protected by the AURYN, is able to speak with him, Grograman comes across as a quite personable, even friendly, beast, as well as rather melancholic due to his enforced solitude, ignorance about his origin, and painful (daily) Transformation Sequence. The scenes where Bastian discovers the truth about him and sits with him so he won't be alone are genuine TearJerkers, and Grograman himself is actually treated as a brave companion by Bastian to the point he wants the lion to come with him on his journey (which Grograman points out to him is sadly impossible, since he takes the desert with him wherever he goes).
  • Subverted numerously in Tamora Pierce's Tortall series.
    • In the Song of the Lioness quartet and the Beka Cooper books, Faithful (AKA Pounce) is the Cat constellation sent to help the heroines.
    • In the last book in Protector of the Small quartet, a cat dies attacking the Big Bad in order to give the protagonist enough time to counter strike (she gets better).
    • In one of the Immortals books, the main character is helped by two cats to infiltrate a castle.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, Miranda's familiar, Tybalt the Prince of Cats.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Salem, from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, who was a warlock turned into a cat for trying to take over the world. He's given up on the world domination, but is still the snarker and comes up with several get-rich-quick schemes.
  • My Cat From Hell is a more of a show about Jackson Galaxy showing cat's owners how to treat a cat so the cats are not "mean" to others. Often, he shows how cats interact with their environment and how to "communicate" with the cat.


Newspaper Comics Edit

  • Subverted by Calvin and Hobbes; Hobbes the stuffed (?) tiger is more or less Calvin's moral center.
    • When he isn't pouncing on Calvin. One of the comic books is entitled Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat.
  • Garfield is an Anti-Hero, but more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in The Garfield Show.
  • Given his experiences with World War I, Snoopy's reaction to Frieda getting a cat was understandable...as was his surprise to see Fabian, an incredibly laid-back cat that dangled from her arms, when he showed up.

 "That's a cat?!?"

  • Krazy Kat, where the antagonist is, instead, Ignatz Mouse.


Theater Edit

  • Mostly subverted in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. The young cats just want to play and have fun. The older cats devote themselves to looking after the younger cats. It's suggested that Grizabella led a less than exemplary life, but she regrets how her misspent youth has alienated her. Eventually, she is forgiven by the other cats.


Toys Edit

  • Inverted with the Purr Tenders, who are all bright and friendly and just want to be special. By contrast, the nasty bulldog Ed-grr hated them all just because they were cats and wanted to see them miserable.


Tropes Edit

  • Subverted with the Androcles' Lion, where a lion is grateful to someone who helped him. Very big nice cat!


Video Games Edit


Web Comics Edit

  • Exception to the "good cats don't eat humanized mice": in Girl Genius, the cat construct Krosp becomes Agatha's friend and guardian. He's a good guy, if at times a bit too pragmatic to be heroic. When they're stuck in the wild, he finally manages to catch a mouse to eat. As he and Agatha discuss things for a whole page, that mouse is in Krosp's hand looking scared to death and quite humanized. When Agatha says there's enough food to last for a while and she won't eat a mouse yet, the mouse looks relieved. The next panel, the mouse's head is missing; Krosp has eaten it.
    • He does give the following line, though:

  Krosp: "Is this one of those situations that involves 'ethics'? 'Cause I'm a cat, you know. I've never been very good at those.

 Blade on a Stick: Carrot had one...before he ran off in terror away from a harmless monster.

  • The Big Bad of Cucumber Quest, Queen Cordelia, has cat ears, which is noted as highly suspicious considering everyone else has rabbit ears.
  • Bec in Homestuck is a Big Friendly Dog whom Jade loves dearly. His alpha counterpart, Godcat, is fickle and mysterious and Jane feels very ambivalent about him.


Web Original Edit

  • Mean Kitty plays with this; Sparta is quite aggressive but Mr. Safety says right out that he's not fighting, he's just showing love.
  • There was a video reviewed by Ray William Johnson that subverts this trope hard. Two lion(esse)s snuggle with a man who seem unsure whether he should be aroused or weirded out by it.


Western Animation Edit

  • Subverted with Mepps from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers; he is one of Fat Cat's henchmen, but he isn't actually mean.
    • Averted with the several hundred kittens in "Catteries Not Included", who become kitten-napping victims, at least one just wants to get back to his humans.
  • Inverted in Goof Troop. Goofy's cat, Waffles, is nicer than Pete's dog, Chainsaw.
  • Ortensia from the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons (she was called Sadie back then) and Epic Mickey.
  • Tillie the tiger cub from the Classic Disney Short Elmer Elephant
  • Sort of inverted in the 1950's Felix the Cat TV series. Felix is the protagonist while Rock Bottom the dog is the bumbling sidekick of the Affably Evil Professor.
  • Julius the cat from the Alice Comedies
  • The cats from Top Cat. While the main character is a con artist, he's also a pretty decent guy. His gang is even more of a subversion - while they generally obey him, they won't hesitate to refuse to help him whenever he tries something truly immoral (like the time he tried to sell Dibble's birthday presents).
  • Rita from Animaniacs
  • Max from The Penguins of Madagascar.
  • Subverted in the Arthur episode where Francine adopts Nemo and Arthur learns that Cats Are Mean isn't true, and averted with Sue Ellen, who may be one of the kindest of Arthur's group of friends.
  • Tigger of Winnie the Pooh, while hardly "mean" per se, is one of the more rambunctious and egotistical residents of the Hundred Acre Wood compared to his mostly far more docile friends.
  • Partially subverted with Shere Khan in Tale Spin and averted with the Dumb Is Good Cloudcuckoolander lion, Wildcat.
  • Tom from Tom and Jerry is always treated as the villain, forever chasing (and failing to catch) a smaller, cuter, and usually innocently depicted animal, even though the "innocent" mouse usually initiates the trouble. Jerry is always the Designated Hero even when he is being a parasitic eating-machine that appears victimized when he's prevented from stealing food from Tom or his owners.
  • Sylvester from Looney Tunes is a (bit) more buffoon-like than even Tom of Tom and Jerry, to the extent that he can even be endearing. Tweety Pie may seem innocent and plays up the cute angle, but is, to some extent, a Devil in Plain Sight, despite being the hero, as he has a real malicious streak (especially in the very early Tweety shorts, like A Tale Of Two Kitties). When Sylvester appears in shorts without Tweety Pie, he is sometimes the hero.
    • Sylvester arguably came off as the most sympathetic Looney Tunes antagonist, given that, unlike others that were directly antagonistic or criminals, most of Sylvester's actions didn't exceed past that of a normal cat (in some cases, he was established as half-starved and desperate for food). It's worsened in that, similar to the Tom and Jerry example, the universe seems skewed to punish Sylvester, when not labelling him a monster and a cad for trying to catch an innocent little bird, he is being branded a coward and a joke for NOT catching another (supposedly) smaller defenseless animal. And of course, there were plenty of moments mice, birds, and dogs tortured him unprovoked.
      • It's important to note that Sylvester is somewhat of a toned-down version of the most famous Looney Toons canine - Wile E Coyote and The Road Runner. The Coyote gets a meaner portrayal, with his hunt being a little less innocent and his prey being more innocent than Sylvester's. Of course, Mr. Coyote is not a domestic dog, but rather an animal normally considered dangerous to humans, which makes it easier to portray him as a villain (much like wolves often are). What IS interesting is that while many viewers preferred to see Sylvester as the villain in his relationship with Tweety, the Coyote is often remembered as the protagonist of the Roadrunner cartoons anyway!
    • His son, Sylvester Jr, while rather snobbish and condescending to his father's bumbling, is pretty tame as well.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons'. The Show Within a Show "The Itchy and Scratchy Show" features a subversion - Itchy and Scratchy magnifies the degree of sadism with which Jerry treated Tom. Itchy and Scratchy just removes the "he started it" justification. Scratchy the cat is dumb and nice, believing Itchy to be his friend, while Itchy conspires to kill him for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes, Scratchy, the cat, tries to team up with Itchy, the mouse. Itchy always takes this opportunity to launch an appallingly violent surprise attack.
  • Heathcliff is another antiheroic feline; while a likeable guy, he also tends to pick fights, steal fish, and generally cause trouble. Oddly, he befriends mice like Garfield does.
  • Subverted with the one-shot Courage the Cowardly Dog character, Kitty. She's more bitter than mean, due to being separated from her friend, Bunny, by a cruel Doberman. Because of this, she holds a deep hatred towards dogs and openly expresses said hatred at Courage. However, at the end, she's reunited with Bunny and realizes that Courage was the one that helped her out, changing her viewpoint on dogs.
    • "I was wrong, Bunny. Not all dogs are bad."
  • Inverted in The Ren and Stimpy Show, where Cats Are Mean goes up against Dumb Is Good and loses by technical knockout. Dumb Is Good goes on to meet Dogs Are Dumb in the semi-finals. In other words, Ren is a Jerkass dog and Stimpy is a nice Good Is Dumb cat.
  • Subverted by Steeljaw, the Autobot lion from Transformers.
  • Inverted in the Barbie direct-to-video movie The Princess and the Pauper. The heroines each have a cat, while the villain's pet of choice is a poodle.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, Furrball is an exception. Not only can he only meow (most of the time), he spends more of his time getting beat--err... hugged to a pulp by Elmyra than he does chasing Sneezer or Sweetie (and some of it's almost justified as he doesn't have a proper home most of the time and doesn't have much available food to hunt).
    • Also, Sweetie, sociopathic little monster that she is, will usually antagonize Furball until he breaks and chases after her. That said, the show avoids the same Double Standard Tweety was granted, and does show Sweetie as a genuine antagonist on occasion (sometimes, she herself played the bumbling predator against the Bookworm). There were even a few rare occasions Furball got the last laugh on Sweetie.
  • Chuck Jones' Claude Cat started out as a sympathetic figure (always being exploited and heckled by the wisecracking mouse duo, Hubie and Bertie).
  • Subverted to Hell and back by Chuck Jones in "Fresh Airedale", where a duplicitous weasel of a dog is treated like a hero while the heroic cat gets no respect, and "Chow Hound", where an enslaved cat is used by a big hulking dog to get a steady supply of meat (in this one, revenge is brutal and sweet).
  • An early exception to this comes from the Looney Tunes short "We, The Animals... Squeak!", where the mouser cat is the good guy, and the mice are scheming mobsters who blackmail her into letting them have the run of the house by holding her son captive.
  • Add to that Penelope Pussycat, who is perpetually harassed by Chivalrous Pervert Pepe Le Pew. Maybe the lore of Looney Tunes was less "Cats Are Mean" and more "Cats Are Butt Monkeys").
  • Subverted with the many moments when Cat from Cat Dog shows genuine kindness.
  • Eek the Cat is extremely kind to everyone, even those who are actively trying to mangle him.
  • The Swat Kats, two Badass Super Heroes who protect the all-feline Megakat City from super villains, Aliens and Monsters. The SWAT Kats' allies also count as inversions of this trope.
  • In Garfield and Friends, The Garfield Show, and animated specials, Garfield is a hero who will go out of the way to save his friends.
  • Subverted with the Classic Disney Shorts character Pete in Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, An Extremely Goofy Movie, and especially in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • Krypto the Superdog: it's subverted with his partner, Streaky, who, while flawed, is a steadfast ally.
  • One of the bullies in Lenny and Sid is a huge female cat named Hilda.
  • Utterly inverted in the classic short Bad Luck Blackie, where a mean dog torments a poor kitten, and the titular black cat is a Karmic Trickster.
  • In the 1991 European fantasy film, The Princess and the Goblin, Princess Irene was almost always accompanied by her pet cat, Turnip, who is practically a dog in cat form. Played strait with one of the goblins' pets, a demonic looking cat who threatend the princess at one point in her room while she was sleeping (but thwarted by Turnip and his mouse friend).
  • Subverted and inverted with the mother puma and her kittens in the "Woodland Critters Christmas" episode of South Park. The pumas turn out to be good, while the Christmas Critters, who are Woodland Creatures, turn out to be evil and are raising the Anti Christ..


Real Life Edit

  • Also subverted by a recent ad Sarah McLachlan did for the Humane Society. One of the shelter cats in the ad looks like it has tears in its eyes. Cats are so well known for being cold and aloof that seeing one near weeping is heartbreaking.
    • That "weeping" is usually the product of an eye infection. Whether that makes it better or worse is up to the reader.
  • ZigZagged: It's known that animals can, indeed, perform basic deception (such as trying to hide evidence of having done something they're not allowed to). Dogs are better (and more frequent) liars than cats. The reason? Dogs want to stay in your good graces no matter what and will often do just about anything to achieve that. Cats don't much mind what you think of them, so they tend to be perfectly honest in their actions.
  • Oscar the cat is probably a subversion of this and a case of Good Is Not Nice and/or Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He's said to be unfriendly to patients, except when they don't have long to live (he seems to always know), in which case he cuddles up to them. It's as though the cat not only knows said patients are about to die but uses his cuddling to have people die happy...and reserves his cuddling for that particular purpose.

 Dr. David Dosa: He is not a cat who will spend quality time with residents on the ward, unless they're about to die; he's not a cat that likes to spend a lot of time with staff; he keeps to himself.

  (from the poem on this page): "The rescuers have called me cat.../but I am also 'mother.'"

  • Sometimes, a cat will accept the baby into the family and take care of it.
  • Subverted VERY heartwarmingly in this video.
  • Cats are not as social as dogs, hunt alone, and are shy to guests, but it's a myth that they are solitary creatures. Domesticated cats groom one another, have many ways to interact, form groups, and sometimes sleep together. These are not traits of a solitary animal at all, but many "experts" still insist that cats are, hate the company of other cats, and only pretend to like humans for food. It's true that the wild ancestors of cats are largely solitary, but being that cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, they had to have some degree of sociability to be companions. Pretty much the only common pet we keep that is totally solitary and only sees humans as food sources and toys is the hamster, which wasn't domesticated until the 1930s.
    • Some cats will consistently visit neighbour's homes for no other reason but to look for affection, petting and a warm place to snooze, while receiving no food whatsoever, and will be fairly friendly towards complete strangers. Other cats will be more standoffish. Cats, like dogs, have personalities.
    • Female cats (queens) in the same colony, feral or domesticated, will often share babysitting duties of litters of kittens. Some cat breeders have even reported having their queens trust them enough that they'll drop their kittens off to be babysat when Mom needs a break--quite literally dumping them in the breeder's lap. Even if cats don't regard humans with the same "leader-and-alpha" awe that dogs do, many will integrate humans into their society quite happily. Often (see Real Life examples of this trope, above), perceived meanness is due to a breakdown in communication between cats and humans who don't understand each others' body language. Where dogs have facial expressions that often mimic those of humans, cats go about with permanent smiles or looks of disdain, and do a lot of talking with their ears, fur, and tail versus a dog's ready vocalization.

Notes

  1. in many other tales, cats are depicted as demonic

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