Cats on TV: Top 18 Felines in Cartoon Television
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Cats on TV: Top 18 Felines in Cartoon Television

Est. read time: 7 min.

Cats were anthropomorphized long before TV was around. Yet there’s something magical about watching cartoon cats in action, perhaps because we’re seeing what all cats could be if not constricted by the bounds of reality. Whether you’re looking for classic cartoons, cartoons for adults, or cartoons for kids, check out the list of our favorite cats on TV!

Cats on TV: Classic cartoons

garfield and friends poster - tv cartoon cats

Garfield, Garfield and Friends

Of course the lazy, lasagna-loving orange tabby tops our list of TV cartoon cats. Always charming in print, Garfield really comes to life (as it were, since he is often napping) in the 1988 animated series featuring adventures with Odie, Jon, and more.

the simpsons poster - tv cartoon cats

Scratchy and Snowball(s), The Simpsons

It’s a tad unfair to include both (all?) of the Simpsons cats in one entry, since they represent such different characters: Scratchy the black cat is kind but endlessly tortured by Itchy the mouse, while Snowball is an ongoing family pet of various, ahem, identities. 

the tom and jerry show poster - tv cartoon cats

Tom Cat, The Tom and Jerry Show

The grey and white “tomcat” is the titular character of this classic cartoon. While not especially talkative, he is very vocal about his dislike for Jerry Mouse. More often than not, his trap-setting antics spectacularly backfire—much to the amusement of Jerry.

the sylvester and tweety mysteries poster - tv cartoon cats

Sylvester the Cat, the Looney Tunes universe

The sworn enemies of cats: If it isn’t a mouse, it’s a bird! We all know the line: “I tawt I taw a puddy tat… I did, I did!” Sylvester the tuxedo cat has died more times than any other character on the Looney Tunes, usually while chasing escape artist Tweety.

felix the cat poster - tv cartoon cats

Felix, Felix the Cat

Felix the cat first showed up in the silent film era. In the 1950s, Felix became a TV star. He’s the oldest of the cartoon cats on our list, and perhaps the cleverest: His secret bag of tricks helps him through many dangerous adventures, where he always has the last laugh.

top cat poster - tv cartoon cats

Top Cat, Top Cat

This 1960s animated series features an ensemble of streetwise felines, including the titular Top Cat. The clever yellow tabby is loyal to his gang, but isn’t opposed to pulling a fast one on them like he does on Officer Dibble, the local beat cop.

the pink panther show poster - tv cartoon cats

The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Show

The cat with pink fur starred in a series of animated shorts from the late 1960s to the late 70s. This heroic, morally-minded cat has the manners of an English aristocrat and a lack of patience for humans and gadgets. Even so, he makes the best of the situation!

Cats on TV: Kid cartoons

the thundercats poster - tv cartoon cats

The ThunderCats, ThunderCats

Okay, so these TV cartoon cats aren’t really cats—they’re basically cat-human-alien hybrids. The ThunderCats are forced to flee their homeland for a planet called Third Earth. The characters’ names alone make it worth checking out: Lion-O, Panthro, Jaga, Tygra, Cheetera, and more. 

catdog poster - tv cartoon cats

Cat, CatDog

Conjoined cat and dog siblings? Woof. These brothers must navigate life attached to one another, hatching schemes along the way. Cat is the clever one (can’t say we’re surprised!) who longs for fame and fortune. Unfortunately, Dog often forces things off track.

rugrats poster - tv cartoon cats

Fluffy, Rugrats

Angelica’s Persian cat Fluffy looks and acts like her cat mom. (We’ll let you decide if that’s a good or bad thing.) Fluffy is the rival of Tommy’s dog Spike, often wreaking havoc only to blame it on the dog. Smart kitty! 

he-man and the masters of the universe poster - tv cartoon cats

Cringer/Battle Cat, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Cringer, Prince Adam’s lazy feline companion, has an alter ego just like his human dad: He transforms into Battle Cat, He-Man’s huge, fearless mount. Like any cat forced into servitude, Cringer hates turning into Battle Cat—but he does it for his human.

the ren and stimpy show poster - tv cartoon cats

Stimpy, The Ren & Stimpy Show

The antidote to CatDog, this Manx cat and Chihuahua team leaves us grappling with the idea that the cat could be the dimwitted one. Stimpy is a slow but good-natured cat, while Ren is, well, insane. Together, they face odd adventures—often with a little adult humor thrown in. 

Cats on TV: Adult cartoons

south park poster - tv cartoon cats

Mr. Kitty, South Park

Eric Cartman’s pet cat makes an appearance in a variety of South Park episodes. Most of the show’s content is a little too “adult” to describe here—suffice it to say Mr. Kitty takes after her owner by succeeding in stunts like getting a massive group of cats to snort catnip. 

rick and morty poster - tv cartoon cats

Talking Cat, Rick and Morty

A recent season of everyone’s favorite sci-fi cartoon features Talking Cat, voiced by Matthew Broderick. The grey tabby’s existence is of course shrouded in mystery, especially the fact that he can talk. All we know is, for some reason, he needs to get to Florida.

bojack horseman poster - tv cartoon cats

Princess Carolyn, Bojack Horseman

Bojack’s agent and occasional girlfriend Princess Carolyn is a pink Persian to whom many of us can relate. Throughout the series she struggles to find balance between work, starting a family, and pleasing just about everyone but herself. We believe in you, Princess Carolyn!

futurama poster - tv cartoon cats

Thubanian Leader, Futurama

Before Rick and Morty, there was Futuruma. The best cat cameo in this sci-fi adult cartoon is the leader of Thuban 9, the homeworld to a race of super intelligent cats. This adorable white cat uses people as puppets and can summon a space saucer by meowing. We approve!

Mr. Business, Bob’s Burgers 

For adults and kids alike, Bob’s Burgers offers the best of both worlds. This show’s kitty cameo comes in the form of Mr. Business, one of Aunt Gayle’s cats. Whether he’s a cat-dragon in a Game of Thrones mashup or proving difficult to train for a commercial, Mr. Business is all fun. 

Cats on TV: Live-action

Okay, we know this post is covering cartoon cats. But we couldn’t help mentioning a few of our favorite live-action cats gracing the small screen. 

Best sitcom cat: Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Everyone’s favorite talking black cat makes his appearance from episode one of this quirky 90s sitcom. Salem is played by four cats and puppeteers throughout the series. One thing that doesn’t change: He’s a refreshing furry presence in a household of witches. (Honorable mention goes to Bandit/Garbage on The Office and Larry on Modern Family.)

Best cat(s) in an adult comedy show: Miscellaneous cats from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There’s no one best TV cat cameo in particular on IASIP—just all of them in general! From Dennis’s junkyard cat named Jack Bauer and Dee’s cat trapped in the wall, to the infamous “kitten mittens” commercial and a clowder of cats whose meowing tortures Charlie and Frank at night, felines make some hilarious appearances on this adult comedy.

Best cat in teen TV: Salem from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Yes, more Salem! Alas, Salem does not talk in Netflix’s dark retelling of the teenage witch Sabrina. He does serve as her faithful familiar on many dark adventures. Salem is played by five cats. We love the white spot on his chest, a likeness to the Celtic fairy cat called the Cat Sìth.

Best TV cat in sci-fi & fantasy: Spot from Star Trek. Spot is Data’s female cat, at times played by an orange tabby and other times played by an Abyssinian. She lived with Data while he served aboard the USS Enterprise-D and -E. Data even wrote a poem about the cat, which he called “Ode to Spot.” Time to step it up, cat parents! (Honorable mention goes to Ser Pounce on Game of Thrones and Bast on American Gods.)

Best cat on TV drama: Siamese cats from Perry Mason. Siamese cats factor prominently in several Perry Mason episodes. In some cases, the cat even helps defense lawyer Perry Mason solve the murder mystery at hand. In one particular episode, it’s the tracked paw prints of the Siamese cat named Monkey that ends up helping the pieces fall into place!

Check out the full list of our favorite cats on TV in every genre!

Never scoop cat poop again with a self-cleaning litter box.

Cover photos via IMDb

top 18 TV cartoon cats - posters for Ren & Stimpy, Tom & Jerry, Sylvester & Tweety, and CatDog