Cat Stereotype

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Animation writers often use a cat's coat color to determine its personality. When an orange cat and a white (usually all-white) cat are paired together, the orange one is usually male and the white one is usually female.

Sometimes, a cat's breed is used to determine its personality by making it a kind of voiced ethnic stereotype, especially if the name of the breed has a country in it. This has little to do with how the breed really acts, as anyone who has cats will attest. Breed stereotypes are rarely done with cats since breed variations aren't always as striking and well known compared to dogs.

Cat Stereotypes[edit | hide | hide all]

Cat Coat Color, Marking, and Pattern Stereotypes:[edit | hide]

White: Usually all-white, can include the chinchilla pattern if a Persian:

  • Generally good, particularly if paired against a black cat. Often upper-class and rich. An alternate portrayal of a white cat is as a The Mentor. Usually female when paired with an orange male cat. Almost always have Blue Eyes, though the deafness associated with blue-eyed white cats is rarely mentioned.

Red, Orange, or Ginger: With or without white spotting; the white part can either stark white, off-white, flesh-colored, light yellow, or two, three, or all four of those the white; can either a locket, tuxedo, mitted, bicolor, or van; either one or more shade of orange, yellow orange, light orange, or yellow [1]:

  • Heroic and humble. Usually male in fiction regardless of whether there's another cat present, but especially when paired with an all-white cat. Can also be Lovable Rogue types. Scrappy, wisecracking, comic releif and maybe a bit tricky and clever. The usually male part is partially justified as orange cats are a little more likely to be male than female. [2]

Black: Either solid-black or more than one shade of black, dark brown, grey, or dark grey; no white, off-white, light tan, light grey, or flesh-color beyond a locket or muzzle:

  • In Real Life, they're associated with witches and bad luck. [3] This carries over into fiction, where black cats are often evil or unlucky. Also often magical or mysterious.

Black and White: The white part can either stark white, off-white, flesh-colored, light tan, light grey, or two, three, four, or all five of those; the white can range from tuxedo, mitted, bicolor, and van:

  • They tend to be quite unsuccessful, yet always brave and hopeful. Black and white cats with this stereotype are usually male. In other words, they're Idiot Hero wannabes. Black and white cats with low grade white spotting (like tuxedo or mitted) can sometimes play the typical black cat stereotypes above. Kittens with a low grade variant of this color (like tuxedo or mitted) are often portrayed as nondescript. Female cats with this coloring are often portrayed as snarky. The black and white cat stereotype is completely different for kittens and female cats than for tomcats.

Grey or Blue: With or without white spotting, the white part can either stark white, off-white, flesh-colored, light beige, light grey or two, three, four, or all five of those; the white can range from locket, tuxedo, mitted, bicolor, and van [4]:

  • Often older, wise, and/or a mentor. Can also be fat and lazy. Can sometimes be mean and/or snarky, or just screw with people or obfuscate stupidity. Light grey cats tend to play all-white cat stereotypes more than they play the typical grey cat stereotypes.

Tabby: With or without white spotting, the white part can either stark white, off-white, flesh-colored, light beige for brown and blue/grey tabbies, or two, three, or all four of those; the white can range from locket, tuxedo, mitted, bicolor, and van:

  • Aloof, bored, superior, and/or snarky. Alternately finicky. Usually hyperactive and kind of dumb, with ADD tendencies. Usually extremely friendly as well.

Tortoiseshell (Tortie) and Calico: With or without white spotting, the white part can either stark white, off-white, flesh-colored, or two or all three of those; the white can range from locket, tuxedo, mitted, bicolor, and van:

  • Are usually girl cats. Are usually sort of spunky but kind, nice, and refined (like white cats). The first part is Truth in Television; male cats can only be tortoiseshell or calico if they have an extra X chromosome or have mosaicism. [5]

Cat Breed Stereotypes:[edit | hide]

Persians/Himalayans:

  • Generally seen as the showy, rich, snooty, upper-class type. Tend to be Right Hand Cats. Almost always white or chinchilla-patterned, often with snow-themed names.

Siamese:

  • Often portrayed as mean, sometimes even by cat standards. The wedgeheaded or "modern" Siamese are depicted as ill-tempered, bratty, aristocratic and showy, like the Persian. The Applehead or "traditional" Siamese are depicted more neutrally, looking more like typical cats, but may still be just as mean. Most writers are unaware that the Appleheaded Siamese exists at all, so the former will be used more often. In Real Life, both types are nothing like their Hollywood portrayal, being one of the most affectionate among the cat breeds. (If a bit noisy.)

Sphynx/Hairless cats:

Scottish Folds:


Examples of Cat Stereotype include:


Advertising[edit | hide]

  • Morris the Cat from the 9-Lives cat food commercials was a red tabby. He probably created the stereotype for them. Aloof, bored, superior, snarky, and finicky.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Naota's cat in Anime/FLCL fits the old, fat and lazy grey cat stereotype.
  • Yoruichi from Bleach transforms into a black cat (magic!...presumably we never figure out why or how she can do this)
  • Gatomon from Digimon Adventure follows the White Cat sterotype a little: Generally good, female, and often paired with an orange friend. Subverts it that's she not upper class or rich, and instead of an orange cat, she's paired up with an orange hamster/bat thing.
  • Chi's Sweet Home: Chi fits the "friendly" and "hyperactive" tabby stereotypes. Kuroino/Blackie is a black cat, but his personality seems to be a mix of the "orange" and "gray" stereotypes. Cocchi from the manga is very much a black-and-white sterotype: Idiot Hero wannabe and Small Name, Big Ego.
  • Pokémon has the prim Delcatty, the obese Purugly, and the devious Purrloin.


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Comic Strips[edit | hide]

  • Subverted with Garfield. He's orange, but even though he has heroic moments sometimes, he's snarky as opposed to humble. He does play the aloof and snarky tabby stereotypes straight, though.
  • Heathcliff is an orange male cat.
  • Krazy Kat is a black cat of Ambiguous Gender which seems very unlucky for being in love with Ignatz Mouse who trows bricks at him/her/it with perverse delight though he/she/it doesn't seem to mind.


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • Gay Purr-ee: Jaune Tom (a yellow-orange male cat with orange stripes), Mewsette (an all-white female cat), and Meowrice (a villainous black and white tuxedo male cat)
  • The Aristocats: Thomas O'Malley is a Lovable Rogue orange or cinnamon male cat and Duchess is an upper-class all-white female cat. Also, Toulouse (an orange male kitten) and Marie (an all-white female kitten) fit orange cat and white cat stereotypes respectively. However, Berlioz (a grey male kitten) doesn't fit any of the grey cat stereotypes.
  • Cats Don't Dance: Danny (an orange male cat) and Sawyer (a white female cat). Sawyer has orangey brown eyes unlike the white cat stereotype however.
  • Oliver and Company: Oliver the cat is orange, and is one of the nicest characters in the movie.
  • An American Tail: Tiger (orange) is the one good cat. In the first sequel his love interest is light grey.
  • In the Shrek movies, Puss-in-Boots is a swashbuckling, wisecracking orange cat.
  • Lucifer from Cinderella is dark grey and grey (or dark brown and beige/tan Depending on the Artist) with a black head and off-white muzzle, and fits both black and grey cat stereotypes by being evil, fat and lazy.
  • Mittens from Bolt is a snarky black-and-white cat.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • Milo of The Adventures of Milo and Otis is an orange and white cat who is always getting into mischief. Also a male. The female cat who has his kittens is white.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Throgmorton from the Chrestomanci novel The Lives of Christopher Chant is a loveable rogue orange cat (although he starts out evil-tempered, bullying and anything but lovable). Bethi is a gentle white female, and the favorite cat of the Goddess.
  • From Terry Pratchett's Discworld series:
    • Granny Weatherwax's cat You is a pure white kitten, full of purity and innocence. Note that You's purity and innocence is of the same kind as her owner's. This is why when You comes around, Greebo hides.
    • Nanny Ogg's cat Greebo, on the other hand, is grey, and is older, wiser, and pure malevolent evil. Greebo used to be young. Those days he was a satiny black, and pure malevolent evil on top of distilled sexy (for cats). The latter is actually still true, if his human form is any indication. Of course, he's also a Memetic Molester... he's said to be every one of a kitten (not You, who actually managed to intimidate him)'s paternal ancestors for ten generations. Yikes.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Cat Face is a male white, blue-eyed (though you can only tell if you look closely) floating cat with a French-ish accent who's always complaining or saying nonsense.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • I Can Has Cheezburger? has Ceiling Cat (the lolcat deity), who is white and dwells in the ceiling, and his counterpart, the soul-eating Basement Cat, who is black and lurks in the basement.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats: Heathcliff (an orange male cat, as in the comics) and Sonya (an all-white female cat). Averted with Cleo (a cream-colored female cat with long orange hair), however.
  • The "black cats are bad luck" stereotype is subverted with the most famous fictional black cat, Felix. Indeed, his very name(Latin for "luck") alludes to it.
  • Bad Luck Blackie plays around with the idea of the unlucky black cat. The eponymous Blackie uses his bad luck to protect a white kitten (gender undetermined) from a Bully Bulldog. In the end the bulldog neutralizes the bad luck by painting Blackie white, but the white kitty paints himself black and gives the dog his comeuppance.
  • Sylvester from Looney Tunes is the codifier for the unsuccessful black and white cat stereotype.
  • Inspector Gadget villain Dr. Claw has a grey Right-Hand-Cat with black and white stripes and white paws who is usually shown as having as mean a streak as its owner.
  • Scratchy from The Simpsons' Show Within a Show The Itchy and Scratchy Show plays the unlucky part of the black cat stereotype.
  • Tom of Tom and Jerry, a grayish-blue cat with white patches, was sometimes shown as lazy or mean, and did sometimes torment Jerry for fun, but it depended on the episode.
  • Fat Cat from Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers, a gray-furred Big Bad, had the fat and mean part down.
  • Pete from the Classic Disney Shorts is an evil, fat, black cat. Guess who's his archnemesis!

Cat Breed[edit | hide]

Advertising[edit | hide]

  • The Fancy Feast cat food has a white Persian as a mascot.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]


Comic Strips[edit | hide]

  • Bucky the Siamese in Get Fuzzy is just plain nasty to dog Satchel and owner Rob, and is a lot stupider than he thinks himself to be.
  • Fleshy the Sphynx in Robotman and Monty has the "positive" depiction as one strange cat (in a strange strip).


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Aristocats features the rare example of colorful ethnic cat breed stereotypes, featuring a Russian cat (Billy Boss), a Siamese (Shun Gon), an English cat (Hit Cat), and an Italian cat (Peppo). Subverted with Shun Gon in that he's not mean the way many Siamese are depicted in fiction.
  • Lady and the Tramp features two mean wedge-headed Siamese cats named Si and Am.
  • Tiger the Persian/Himalayan cat on Over the Hedge is snooty and standoffish. Bonus points for having the voice actor be of Persian (Iranian) descent.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • Cats and Dogs
    • Has a Russian Blue cat who not only has a Russian accent but also acts like a spy movie villain.
    • Kitty Galore from the sequel is an evil Sphynx cat.
  • Inverted in the James Bond films, where Big Bad Blofeld carries around a white persian cat wherever he goes.
  • The James Bond Blofeld inversion is parodied in the Austin Powers films, where Dr. Evil originally also has a white Persian (but after a cryogenic accident it ends up hairless).
  • Subverted in That Darn Cat. "D.C.", a Siamese, is initially shown as very naughty, but is really an adventure-loving Anti-Hero.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Siamese stereotype is subverted with Koko in The Cat Who Series... series, who, like real life Siamese, tends to be bright, friendly, inquisitive, and mouthy.
  • The Siamese stereotype is also subverted with the eponymous Siamese Skippy Jon Jones, who, like real life Siamese, is bright, friendly, and inquisitive.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The James Bond Blofeld inversion is also parodied, and then inverted again, in a The Powerpuff Girls episode, where the girls rescue a seemingly innocent white Persian from a mad scientist, only to discover that it's really the cat who was evil and the scientist was under his control.
  • The Siamese cats in the pilot episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
  • Kat from Kid VS Kat is a mean Sphynx cat.
  • An episode of American Dragon: Jake Long has Talking Animal Fu Dog face off against Yan Yan, a female hairless sphynx cat and longtime (as both have been fighting over a lucky coin during many famous periods in history such as the Ming Dynasty, 1793 France during the Revolution, 1917 during the Battle of Keilbergmelen in Germany, and even during the sinking of the Titanic) enemy who masqueraded as pet of Haley's arch-rival and Spoiled Brat Olivia Mears under the Unfortunate Name of Miss Tinkles during Show-and-tell.
  1. There are no actual solid-colored red or cream cats, they are all tabbies even if they look solid-colored.
  2. Specifically, the gene for red/orange fur is located on the X chromosome. A normal male cat will only have one X chromosome and one red gene = red/orange fur. A female has to inherit genes for red fur on both X chromosomes in order to become a red/orange cat -- one red gene and one non-red gene will result in a tortoiseshell or calico coat.
  3. Black cats are bad luck in the US and Catholic Europe, but they're good luck in the UK and Asia.
  4. The grey coat color is the dilute version of the black one
  5. Tortoiseshell cats with medium or high grade white (like bicolor and van) spotting are called calico, those with low grade white spotting (like tuxedo and mitted) are called tortoiseshell and white, and those without white spotting are simply referred to as tortoiseshell. Tabby torties are called torbies and tabby calicos are sometimes called calibies. Dilute versions of this coat pattern (like grey and cream instead of black and orange) are called dilute tortoiseshells.