As it grows chilly outside and seasonal chaos descends, sometimes you just need a little reset. One of the best ways to do so is to curl up on the couch with your blanket, your cat, and a holiday movie. And for those of you who prefer your movies with a kitty cameo (us included), we’ve put together a list of the best holiday movies with cats!
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Part Christmas, part Halloween—what could be better? Tim Burton’s animated masterpiece is the purrfect in-between holiday movie. Somewhat predictably, you’ll find a lot of black cats in this film. One of our favorite scenes is when Sally (Catherine O’Hara) is singing about her unrequited love for Jack, and a black kitty curls up in her lap to offer comfort.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
The season wouldn’t be complete without this Chevy Chase holiday classic. Okay, so the kitty cameo in the film is somewhat unfortunate. First, the fluffy white cat is wrapped up in a gift box, then she accidentally electrocutes herself on a strand of Christmas tree lights. The scene does highlight an important safety concern for pet parents—don’t let your cats bite on cords!
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
This Judy Garland musical brought us the classic holiday song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The story of a teenage girl in love in 1904 St. Louis also features a tabby cat early in the film. The cat belongs to the family’s youngest daughter, who delights in tying a blue ribbon around her furry “prize.”
It all begins with a Christmas gift: The adorable gremlin Gizmo serves as a cautionary tale about giving pets as surprise gifts. And who can forget the scene where the town mean lady meets her demise while her cats look on indifferently? At least the gremlins are discerning enough to leave the felines alone.
Black Christmas (1974)
If you’re in the mood for a scary holiday movie, this one about a killer terrorizing a group of sorority sisters over Christmas break is for you. We see a large white Persian named Claude throughout the film, perhaps most infamously when he jumps onto the lap of a main character suffocated by a plastic bag—and starts licking the bag. Cats! *facepalm*
Bill Murray stars as self-centered TV exec Frank Cross in this updated version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Frank’s boss wants a network aimed at pets, specifically cats. Eventually we see that the man’s apartment is crawling with gorgeous Turkish Angora cats, and understand his request!
The Snowman (1982)
One of the best holiday movies on our list isn’t really a movie, but a 26-minute animated film inspired by Raymond Briggs’ wordless picture book. The lovely cartoon includes narration by David Bowie and Mel Smith and features a black cat that we find is not a fan of snowmen—but curled up in front of the hearth, who would be?
The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)
It wouldn’t be a list of the best holiday movies without a Hallmark film. This one centers around a firefighter who adopts a stray orange tabby named Ambrose and a veterinarian secretly hiding her calico cat. The two fall in love, and quite luckily their respective kitties get along. Our favorite part? The firehouse adopts Ambrose as their mascot!
Batman Returns (1992)
Holiday movie, you say? Don’t forget that this Tim Burton film is set during the Christmas season—and it’s rife with cats. There’s the fabulous Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, but there’s also a lot of the real thing. Our favorite scene is when a clowder of cats seemingly brings Selina Kyle back to life. (Reportedly, tuna and a clicker were used to draw the cats in!)
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
This winter-set comedy centers around a pair of grumpy old rivals, John Gustafson (played by Jack Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Walter Mathau). We’re not ones to choose sides, but we do appreciate that John has a long-haired calico cat that pops up in scenes throughout the movie. How can he be so grumpy?
The Nutcracker Prince (1990)
This animated adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King uses music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet. A sweet addition to the story is the main character Clara’s kitten named Pavlova. Pavlova tags along with Clara throughout many of her adventures with the Nutcracker Prince (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland).
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Sandra Bullock stars in this holiday rom-com as Lucy, a lonely Chicago Transit Authority worker who saves a stranger’s life and is mistaken as his fiancé by his family. Lucy has a long-haired calico cat named Mel, fulfilling the trope that all single women fill the void with cats. A Persian named Fluffy also appears in the film.
Home for the Holidays (1995)
Jodie Foster’s directorial debut features Holly Hunter as a single mom dreading returning home for Thanksgiving. Upon her return, we see a large Maine Coon named Frank throughout many of the household scenes. Robert Downey Jr., who at one point snuggles Frank much to the cat’s dismay, also stars in this comedy-drama.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
This family holiday movie stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis as Luther and Nora Krank. The Kranks decide to skip Christmas altogether until they find out their daughter is going to return home to celebrate. The Kranks’ neighbors have a white Persian named Muffles that is particularly vengeful toward Luther. Do they make friends in the end? Find out for yourself!
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (2014)
A list of the best holiday movies with cats wouldn’t be complete without… Grumpy Cat! Voiced by Aubrey Plaza, Grumpy Cat lives in a mall pet store. Only a little girl who wished upon a magic coin can hear the cat talk, and together they save a dog from being kidnapped. Oh, Grumpy Cat: She may be gone, but she’ll never be forgotten.
Which of these best holiday movies with cats tops your list?
Cover photo by Jeffrey Buchbinder on Unsplash