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Three Best Cat Movies

Updated on September 23, 2014
VladimirCat profile image

Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Pyewacket in Bell, Book and Candle
Pyewacket in Bell, Book and Candle

Top Choices of Cats in Film

I'm an avid watcher of Cat Movies

Many hours of mine have been spent watching the flickering screen in the hope of catching a worthwhile production which showcases The Cat in an accurate light. So when I find a film with a cat of star quality, a good performance in a good vehicle, the search has been worth it.

Here are my Three Top Choices for the Best Cat Movies

Fabulous, Family Friendly 'Rhubarb'

Orangey gets his first part

No fewer than fourteen felines were used to make the film, Rhubarb, and all of these understudy cats played their parts superbly. The most outstanding performance was from the young cat, Orangey, who was catapulted to fame 10 years later for his performance in Breakfast at Tiffany's as 'Cat'.

An eccentric millionaire bequeaths his fortune - and his baseball team - to his pugnacious pet cat. The court scene is particularly enjoyable, a sanity hearing brought about by the millionaire's disgruntled relatives to prove that the cat is mentally unfit to control the old man's money.

Rhubarb is a charming family comedy which goes down well with humans. A little light romance as publicist Ray Milland tries to convince the players (one of whom is Leonard Nimoy) that Rhubarb is the key to their success, while at the same time evading gangsters and avoiding the wrath of his allergic-to-cats fiancé, Jan Sterling.

Thanks to Rhubarb's inspiration, the team makes it to the Pennant Race, whereupon the plot really thickens. Crooked gamblers kidnap the cat to prevent a Brooklyn pennant win.

Get your own copy of Rhubarb - A Cat Classic


Don't get all mushy about an eccentric old man's love of an initially unlovable stray cat, forget the human players, concentrate instead on the skills of Orangey, feline actor par excellence!

Orangey - Professional Acting Cat

Orangey was a talented cat actor who lived with cinematic animal handler Frank Inn.

Orangey (credited under various names), had a prolific career in film and television in the 1950s and early 1960s and was the only cat to win two Patsy Awards (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year, an animal actor's version of an Oscar) .

His first Patsy was for the title role in Rhubarb (1951), and the second was for his portrayal of "Cat", Audrey Hepburn's "poor slob without a name" in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). Orangey is pictured here with co-star Hepburn.

Other films in which Orangey appeared over his 15 year career include The Incredible Shrinking Man(1957), Gigot (1962), and Village of the Giants (1965). His longest gig was a recurring role as Minerva the Cat in the television series Our Miss Brooks (1952-1958).

Orangey in his prime

Orangey appears in the first 4 minutes of this opening scene from Gigot. You see him appear as the video reaches 1.03 minutes.

His relaxed, natural attitude to the camera is evident. What an actor!

Jackie Gleason plays a supporting role in this scene

Bell, Book and Candle

A Cat Familiar

Pyewacket, the Witch's Cat

Greenwich Village witch Gillian (Kim Novak), admires her neighbor, Shep (James Stewart), who one day walks into her gallery of primitive art to use the telephone.

When she learns he is about to marry an old college enemy of hers, she takes revenge by casting a love spell on him, but begins falling for Shep herself. It's not clear why Gillian has to spend her time fooling around with adolescent love spells and playing rather silly games with practical magic but, if you suspend your belief in the sanity of witches, the twists and turns are comic enough.

Alas, Gillian must eventually make a stark choice, as witches who fall in love lose their supernatural powers. Gillian's cat and familiar, Pyewacket, becomes agitated and leaves her when she decides in Shep's favor.

The Bewitched television series

Bell Book and Candle , produced in 1951 has been compared (rather unfavourably I thought) with the 1942 fantasy I Married a Witch, but the real spinoff from Bell, Book and Candle was the original 1960s television series Bewitched.

This supernatural themed sitcom showed a witch, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), and her husband Darrin, played by Dick York, who recreates the same character as the one originally played by James Stewart.

A Siamese cat (name unknown) featured in early episodes of Bewitched where the couple attempted to lead a typical suburban life, and true love endured despite the mixed marriage's ongoing struggles with disapproving relatives, supernatural illnesses, nosy mortals, and Darrin's difficult boss.

If you get a chance to see any early episodes of Bewitched, keep an eye out for the marvelous laid-back role of the Cat.

Pyewacket with co-star Stewart.
Pyewacket with co-star Stewart.

Bewitched - Complete First Season

Bell Book and Candle

A lush vehicle for the talents of Pyewacket. The humans, James Stewart and Kim Novak put up a reasonable job, but are upstaged by Jack Lemmon and Hermione Gingold.

The cat, of course, unconsciously upstages everyone

That Darn Cat - Siamese Secret Agent

It takes a Siamese secret agent to unravel the PURR-fect crime!

That Darn Cat! is a dyed-in-the-wool family film from Walt Disney Productions featuring a story about bank robbers, a kidnapping and an important cat who holds the clue to the crimes.

A woman is kidnapped. While in captivity, she manages to send a message out by placing her wristwatch onto a wandering cat. The cat's housemate, a young woman with an active imagination contacts the FBI when she sees the watch, convinced it's the tip-off to crack a bank robbery and kidnapping case that has the authorities baffled. An allergic agent is assigned to tail the cat to find the hostage

The feline that plays the informant, as the FBI puts it, is superb. Clark Gable at the peak of his performance could not have played a better tom. This elegant cat is a paragon of suavity and grace, and he cracks the case by a whisker.

That Darn Cat!

The fur flies when a smart Siamese cat goes undercover and Hayley Mills and Dean Jones team up for mystery and adventure on Disney DVD.

When the irrepressible and always hungry D.C. (Darn Cat) turns up with a wristwatch for a collar, it becomes a tip-off to an unsolved robbery and kidnapping. You don't know who's tailing who as nosy neighbors, jealous boyfriends, and a highly allergic FBI agent play a game of cat and mouse to crack the baffling case.

I hope you keep an eye out for old movies on late at night, you never know when one of these classics may turn up. (Or buy your own classic to keep).

If you have your own special favourite film with a great cat part, please let me know.

What's your choice?

What's your best Cat movie?

See results

Can you recommend another movie starring a cat? I need to expand my viewing.

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    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      I have always understood why Egyptians regarded these glorious creatures as gods!

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 3 years ago from State of Confussion

      Breakfast at Tiffany's would be a suggestion. The final scene to be exact is the clincher for me.

    • profile image

      Namsak 4 years ago

      I love cats - all these movies hit the spot with me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i agree with brian. Harry & Tonto Has to be up there at top five movies featuring a cat as on of the main characters. "Napoleon" the cat from Mrs. Miniver i would also like to mention as well as the movie "Homeword Bound" both the original and the remake. as really good movies featuring cats.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Has no one seen Harry and Tonto? Watch it!

    • donaldwilson profile image

      Don Wilson 5 years ago from Yakima, WA

      As a youth, I frequently watched the Bewitched series. Outside of that, "That Darn Cat" is the only one of these movies I have seen. I need to dust of my VCR and get to work.

    • profile image

      glutenallergy 5 years ago

      The only movie here I've heard of is That Darned Cat!. As a cat lover, I'll have to check out the other two (hopefully they are Netflix).

      One of my favorites is one that I've only seen once, and don't know they name of. Seems to me it was on Cinemax in the late 1990s, and it was about a cat that became human. He had to learn to be a human, and it was very amusing watching the actor displaying his feline tendencies.

      The other one I love is "Kiki's Delivery Service." Phil Hartman voiced Kiki's pet cat, Jiji. He did a wonderful job, and my children continue to love this gentle story about a witch and her cat.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've never heard of Bell, Book, and Candle, but will have to give it a try. I loved the series, not the movie, Bewitched.

    • profile image

      Science-Fiction-Fan 5 years ago

      I really like Bell Book and Candle with Pyewacket

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Cool as a cat!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      nice tribute to cats, enjoyed my visit this morning.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      I've only seen That Darn Cat so may have to check the other two out. Me and the gallery cat Budda love watching tv together.

    • profile image

      kengibbons4 5 years ago

      Hi I liked your page and gave you a Squidoo like. I am new to Squidoo and wrote an article on educating rescue groups and individuals about tax benefits for fostering feral cats & dogs at http://www.squidoo.com/tax-benefit-for-caring-for-...

      The more money one saves through tax deductions for the care of the cats and dogs the more money they have to take care of the animals. Hopefully this tax benefit will also help rescue groups to find more willing people to help with their cause.

      To support the circulation of this article please give me a Squiddo like. Hope the article helps the cause for feral or stray cats & dogs.

    • profile image

      kengibbons4 5 years ago

      Hi I liked your page and gave you a Squidoo like. I am new to Squidoo and wrote an article on educating rescue groups and individuals about tax benefits for fostering feral cats & dogs at http://www.squidoo.com/tax-benefit-for-caring-for-...

      The more money one saves through tax deductions for the care of the cats and dogs the more money they have to take care of the animals. Hopefully this tax benefit will also help rescue groups to find more willing people to help with their cause.

      To support the circulation of this article please give me a Squiddo like. Hope the article helps the cause for feral or stray cats & dogs.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      "Harry and Tonto" is one you have to watch. 1974 starring Art Carney (who won the Oscar for best actor). It's a really terrific movie and Tonto (the cat) is in almost every scene from beginning to end.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I <3 cat movies!!! I was trying to find more since Im getting bored with the Aristocats...I have seen it way too many times now that its on DVD lol. Ill be checking out these movies for sure! Also why cant there be more disney movies with cats? I like Oliver and company but theres lots of dogs in it as well...I LOVE the movie Chicken Little, they should make a Kitten Little lol.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thomasina

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 6 years ago from Earth

      I'm allergic to cats, and even I enjoyed this lens.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      And now going round and round my head:

      'm Abraham De Lacy

      Guiseppe Casey

      Thomas O'Malley

      O'Malley the alley cat

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      The world needs more lenses (and films) by cats :)

    • profile image

      kt_glasses 6 years ago

      Orangey was so adorable.

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 6 years ago

      I can't believe that I have not seen any of your selections. More movies to add to my "must watch" list!

    • jodijoyous profile image

      jodijoyous 6 years ago from New York

      Do cartoon cats count? My cat, Paris, likes the Aristocats.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Bell Book and Candle, definitely!!!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      I loved the Revenge of Kitty Galore - not at all realistic of cats but loads of fun to see!

    • awakeningwellness profile image

      awakeningwellness 6 years ago

      I love both Bell Book and Candle and That Darn Cat but I have never seen Rhubarb. Another favorite cat movie of mine is The Three Lives Of Thomasina, have you ever seen that?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      catwoman??

    • imaginemdd lm profile image

      imaginemdd lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for this info on Cat Movies. There seem to be so many more dog movies out there. I'll check these out. I've added a link to your lens on one of my pages.

    • Home Interior D profile image

      Home Interior D 6 years ago

      Three cat films I've not seen. As a cat fan, I am utterly ashamed of myself. Will look out for them.

    • profile image

      Sojourn 8 years ago

      Gees, some of my favorite stars in movies I've never heard of before. How do I miss these things? Great reviews, Vladi. :)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great idea for a lens. 5*****. I also like the Siamese Cats in Lady & The Tramp.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 8 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      Oh wow, I've only seen one of these! Must more cat viewing I have in front of me, woofs!

    • ctavias0ffering1 profile image

      ctavias0ffering1 8 years ago

      It's so wonderful to have a cat's eye view of the world, so refreshing 5* and a sprinkling of Angel Dust for a fabulous lens

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Vladi, we're all anxiously awaiting YOUR film. You're a star, dahling!