We’re all familiar with the hit Broadway musical Cats, but did you know that felines have long played a prominent role on film as well?
Yes, cats have a rich and wonderful Hollywood history. Sometimes, they are only extras. Sometimes, they are simply someone’s pet. But every once in a while, the cat takes a leading role in a film and completely steals the show.
Here are the 5 greatest cat films to come out of Hollywood:
1. The Incredible Journey. This live-action Disney film from 1963 is all about three animals braving the wilderness to find their way home. There are a handful of human actors in the film, but the central characters are a Labrador Retriever, an English Bulldog, and a Siamese cat. The cat, named Tao, arguably has the most dramatic time during the journey—whisked down a raging river and nearly drowning—and his warm interaction with his canine companions and the people he encounters is enough to melt your heart.
2. Cat’s Eye. This 1985 horror film is actually three short stories in one. While each story is independent from the rest, there is a stray alley cat that appears and plays a key role in all three. The title of the film is based on the fact that much of what transpires is from the cat’s perspective. From the get-go, he’s on a mission to reach a little girl and save her from destruction. The stories themselves are quite thrilling, but it’s the cat’s heroism that rings out loudest in the end.
3. The Aristocats. Sure this is an animated film with no real cats in it, but it’s a great Disney classic from 1970. What happens when a litter of cats raised in an upper-class Paris home cross paths with the seedier side of town? A lot of sun music and adventure.
4. That Darn Cat! Once again, we turn to the magic of Walt Disney. This 1965 live-action film is both a comedy and a thriller. It stars the iconic Hayley Mills and Dean Jones, as well as a clever Siamese cat. It’s interesting no note that the Siamese breed was such a go-to for Disney (in addition to the three films listed here, Lady and the Tramp also featured a pair of no-good Siamese kitties).
5. The Adventures of Milo and Otis. Not a single human being appears in this 1989 classic, edited in English from the Japanese original. The only non-animal performer in this film is actor Dudley Moore, who does a sensational job narrating every single character. Milo is an orange tabby and Otis is a pug. They are both born on a farm at the same time and quickly become best of friends. When they venture to far from their familiar surroundings, they get separated and have to find their way back to their farm. It’s too fun.