10 movies where the cat steals the show
I love cats and I love movies. But I don’t like most movies that feature cats. It’s not because cats aren’t awesome (they are), it’s because when I’m watching a movie with a cat on screen, I know it’s probably not going to end well. Some of my favorite movie genres (sci-fi, horror, and action) have a habit of using cats in the script as device to foreshadow the horror or violence that is about to be imparted on the human characters.
I’m not deluded, I understand that all the cats I see onscreen are either fake or fine, but it doesn’t make much of a difference to me. I usually spend the next few minutes of the movie stressed out and not paying attention to the plot until I see the cat make it to a nice warm bed, or a safe corner of the house. If it looks like things are going to go south, I usually find an excuse to go do the dishes or stare at the floor for a bit. Don’t even get me started on movies like The Adventures of Milo and Otis or The Three Lives of Thomasina, where the cat is fine at the end, but only after going through extreme peril for the entire movie. While those cat movies ultimately have happy endings, they are still way too stressful for me to make it there.
Call me old fashioned, but I like cat movies where the cat gets to be a big part of the plot and turns out ok. I know, I’m a huge wimp. But I also know that I can’t possibly be the only stressed out cat lover/cinephile out there. So I compiled this list of awesome movies where the cat not only turns out okay, but also totally steals the show. Watch these movies and know: you will be entertained and nothing bad is going to happen to the cat:
Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986).
Alien and Aliens are not only two of my favorite movies of all time, but two of my favorite movies that feature an adorable cat that makes it through the series. In Alien, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her spaceship crew bring an adorable ginger cat, Jonesy, aboard the ship to control the rodent population while they complete their mission. On their way home, they pick up a distress signal from an unexplored planet. While they don’t find any survivors, they unwittingly pick an unknown alien creature that begins picking off the crew, one by one.
While the humans on board are busy battling the alien, Jonesy sneaks into the air ducts for most of the movie. He has several close calls with the alien, but manages to get out of each encounter unscathed. In the end, Ellen Ripley and Jonesy are the only survivors on the ship. The ship is too damaged for flight, so Ripley brings Jonesy into a cryogenic freezing pod with her and they sleep for 57 years (which, let’s be real, that’s all cats want to do anyway, so it works out great for Jonesy). In the sequel, Aliens, Ripley and Jonesy are rescued by a passing salvage crew, and brought back to earth. While Ripley grapples with the realities of a world 57 years in the future, and tries to warn people of the alien menace, Jonesy naps some more. Ripley ultimately leaves earth to help a crew of space marines rescue a colony of settlers who have encountered the same alien species that Ripley and Jonesy did in Alien. Meanwhile Jonesy chills out, safe and sound at Ripley’s apartment for the rest of the movie.
Men in Black (1997)
Every ’90s kid fondly remembers the marvelous buddy cop movie meets sci-fi flick Men in Black. For those who are unfamiliar with the awesomeness of this movie, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones play secret agents in the ‘MiB’ organization that monitors alien activity on earth. One day a hostile alien crash lands on earth, and goes on a killing spree to NYC. The hostile alien is bent on locating an energy source called ‘The Galaxy’ which is located on ‘Orion’s Belt’. The entire film we’re led to believe that ‘The Galaxy’ is a huge thing that is probably located in space. It’s later revealed that ‘The Galaxy’ is no bigger than a marble, and is worn on the collar of none other than Orion, a cat that appears briefly in the beginning of the film. Thus proving that cats are in fact, the masters of the galaxy. Or at least they are in this film.
Princess Diaries (2001)
The movie that made us all fall in love with Anne Hathaway also co-stars a cute tuxedo cat, Fat Louie. While Mia (Hathaway) spends the movie trying to adapt to the pressures of royal life, Fat Louie spends most of the movie chilling at home in Mia’s awesome apartment. He even comes along with her when she tries to run away from her royal responsibilities to go rock climbing in Colorado. At the end of the film Fat Louie’s unwavering friendship is rewarded with an awesome mini crown, and a spot on the throne next to his best friend, Princess Mia.
A Cat in Paris (2010)
A Cat in Paris is a little less well known than the previous films, but I promise you, it’s just as awesome. This Oscar nominated, French animated film (available on Netflix!) tells the story of a little girl Zoe, her policewoman mom Jeannine, and their cat Dino. By day Dino is a sweet, cuddly companion, but at night he secretly moonlights as an assistant to a friendly cat burglar named, Nico. One night Nico gifts Dino with a stolen bracelet as a collar. When Dino brings home the bracelet to Zoe, he unwittingly spurs a series of events that end up with Zoe being kidnapped by gang members. Dino the cat realizes that Zoe is in trouble, and alerts Nico and Jeannine. The unlikely trio teams up to save Zoe and bring down the criminals.
That Darn Cat! (1965)
If you’re looking to watch some goofy ’60s era Disney, this is the movie for you. Hayley Mills (star of the original parent trap) has a cat, DC (Darn Cat) with a curious streak that loves to go out exploring in the neighborhood. One night, DC encounters a woman who is being held hostage in her home by robbers. Only having a few seconds to think, the woman scratches ‘help’ into the bottom of her watch, puts it on DC’s neck like a collar, and sends him on his way. When the cat returns home, Patti (Mills) has a hunch that something is up and teams up with her cat to rescue the woman and take down the robbers. And of course, lots of silly antics ensue.
The Heat (2013)
The Heat also happens to have an awesome feline subplot. In The Heat, Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), a competent yet high-strung FBI agent goes on assignment to help take down a Boston based drug lord in order to earn a promotion. Prior to leaving her NYC apartment, we learn that Ashburn’s only meaningful connection to a living creature is her neighbor’s cat, which she has a not-so-secret relationship with. Ashburn frequently lets the cat into her apartment, feeds it, and cuddles it. She essentially pretends it’s hers to the point where she has a framed picture of herself with it.
Once in Boston, Ashburn begrudgingly teams up with an unconventional, foul-mouthed Boston police officer, Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy). At one point Mullins sees the picture of Ashburn and her neighbor’s cat, and asks about it. Not wanting to admit that she is that obsessed with a cat she doesn’t own, Ashburn lies and says that the cat is hers, but ran away. At the end of the movie, Ashburn and Mullins become best friends, and Ashburn moves to Boston. Mullins surprises Ashburn with the neighbor’s cat, saying that she looked all around NYC for it, and finally found him so they could be reunited. Ashburn is forced to awkwardly explain that the cat was never hers, and that Mullins just accidentally catnapped it from NYC. Pissed, Mullins drives back and returns the cat.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson’s tale of forbidden love and adventure includes an adorable kitten that makes it to cathood against all the odds. When star crossed twelve year olds Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) run away from home together, Suzy takes her cute kitten companion along in a basket. Despite the perilous adventures the young couple encounter, the kitten makes it every step of the way. At the end of the film when every one is safe and settled, we see that it’s back at Suzy’s childhood home, and grown to adulthood.
Gone Girl (2014)
While not many humans are safe in David Fincher’s murder mystery thriller Gone Girl, the main character’s cat stays not only unharmed, but a constant presence in the film. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, so instead I’ll make writer Kathryn Fiona do it for me. She summed up the presence of the cat in Gone Girl beautifully for us in this article.
The Lego Movie (2014)
While everything in the Lego movie is awesome, the most awesome part in my opinion is the character of Princess Unikitty (voiced by Allison Brie). Princess Unikitty is a beautiful kitten-unicorn hybrid that rules over ‘Cloud Cookoo Land’, a fun time party realm of the Lego universe where everything is sunshine and rainbows all the time. (Until she gets mad at least.) Princess Unikitty ultimately teams up with the other characters to save the day. She proves herself to be an incredible leader, warrior, undercover agent, and most definitely a cat that steals the show.
Kitten Party (2010)
This is not a huge blockbuster, but it is definitely required viewing. My mom found this DVD at a thrift store, and it changed our lives forever. We sat down and watched it with some cat obsessed family and friends as a joke, and we ended up watching all 70 minutes of it. It is that amazing. All Kitten Party really is, is high definition video of over fifty breeds of kittens, running around playing together. There is some human narration for context, but it is irrelevant. Kitten. Party. That’s all you need to know.
And there you have it! The perfect, cat-friendly movie line up. Watch them with your cat lover friends, or maybe even some actual cats. I can’t guarantee that your non-feline inclined friends won’t tease you for caring about fictional cats so much, but the stress free movie viewing is totally worth it.
[Image courtesy MGM]