Our Top 5 Favorite Feline Actors

We are pretty big movie fans around here! The Oscars just took place this last weekend, and there were so many great movies, actors, and actresses recognized for their superior performances. We were a bit disappointed though, as we are every year, to see that animal actors were not recognized. Where is the recognition for Best Cat Actor or Best Cat Actress?! They work hard too! In response to this horrendous oversight on the part of the Academy, we wanted to take a moment to recognize our Top 5 Favorite Feline Actors of all time (in no particular order).

1. Crackerjack & Pumpkin, as Crookshanks in the Harry Potter movies

Top 5 Favorite Feline Actors - Crookshanks from Harry Potter
Photo: From the Harry Potter Wiki

If you’ve seen the Harry Potter movies, then you know that one of the animal characters is Crookshanks the cat, who belongs to Hermione Granger. Crookshanks is a beautiful and intelligent cat who is a great problem solver and has spot-on intuition when it comes to judging people’s character.

Did you know that Crookshanks was actually portrayed by two different cats? They were both red persians – Crackerjack, a male, and Pumpkin, a female. To achieve the scruffy look that Crookshanks had for the movie, Crackerjack and Pumpkin were back-combed and had pieces of their shed fur reattached to their coats.

Fun fact: Playing Crookshanks was Pumpkin’s debut as a cat actress! Prior to being cast as Crookshanks, 10-year old Pumpkin was living at a rescue until her trainer-owner adopted her.

2. Tiki, as Sassy in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

Top 5 Favorite Feline Actors: Tiki, as Sassy from Homeward Bound
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve never seen the classic family movie Homeward Bound, then you must be living under a rock! Homeward Bound tells the tale of 3 family pets, Shadow (dog), Chance (dog), and Sassy (cat) who make their way across the wilderness in search of their family who had moved. All of the animal characters are cute, but our favorite is obviously Sassy, the smart-mouthed Himalayan.

The cat who played Sassy was a rescue cat who came from a kitten mill. She had reproductive issues, so her breeder tossed her aside. The breeder’s loss, because Tiki was quite the talented kitty! Tiki could do stunts on cue, such as opening doors and eating a pie on the kitchen counter and then stopping to look up at the cameras. She could also stay still for up to 45 minutes! She took her work very seriously.

Fun fact: Playing Sassy was Tiki’s debut role, and she would later go on to play Salty on the comedy series Caroline in the City.

3. Ted Nude-Gent, as Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers movies

Top 5 Favorite Feline Actors: Ted Nude-Gent as Mr. Bigglesworth in Austin PowersTed Nude-Gent, an Egyptian Sphynx cat, plays the infamous Mr. Bigglesworth in some of our favorite comedy movies of all time – Austin Powers. Mr. Bigglesworth belongs to movie villain Dr. Evil, the two of which are parody characters of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his cat from the James Bond movies. They are a comical pair for sure!

Ted Nude-Gent was a pioneer of his time, being cast in a role that was supposedly better suited for a dog because the training necessary was originally deemed impossible to do with a cat. Sphynx’s are easily trainable cats, but filming was delayed a few times because Ted had a particular fondness for actor Mike Myers and would often curl up in his lap for a nap.

Fun Fact: Ted has since crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but his nephews Hairless Potter and Skindiana Jones are carrying on his legacy as a second generation of Sphynx cat actors.

4. Mishka & Bailey, as Mr. Jinx in Meet the Parents

Top 5 favorite Feline Actors: Mr. Jinx from Meet the ParentsMeet the Parents tells the comical tale of Greg Focker, a guy who is meeting his fiance’s family for the first time. Of course, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. One of the characters that is involved in a few of Greg’s mishaps is Mr. Jinx, his fiance’s family cat. Mr. Jinx is a spoiled and talented cat who comes when called, waves, and flushes the toilet!

Mr. Jinx was played by two cats – Mishka and Bailey. Both cats were trained extensively to do a multitude of tricks ranging from running, sitting, digging, and rubbing on command to climbing trellises.

Fun Fact: Actor Robert De Niro fell in love with Mishka & Bailey and wanted their character Mr. Jinx to be added into more scenes than originally planned. He also spent time playing with them in between takes.

5. Jean, Connery, Yuri, and more, as Mr. Fuzzypants in Nine Lives

Top 5 Favorite Feline Actors: Mr. Fuzzypants in Nine LivesNine Lives is a kid’s movie about a billionaire, workaholic dad who is out of touch with his family. He gets his daughter a cat for her birthday, and through an accident he ends up body swapping with the cat, Mr. Fuzzypants. In order to be reunited with his human body, “Mr. Fuzzypants” must earn it by reconnecting with his family. Sure, it’s a little bit silly, but it is a favorite of mine because it has two of my favorite things… CATS and Jennifer Garner!

Mr. Fuzzypants is played by several Siberian Forest Cats. This breed was chosen because they are semi-hypoallergenic, and the director of the film was allergic to cats. Jean, Connery, and Yuri were the main cat actors who portrayed the character, each responsible for different tasks. Jean, a champion show cat, was the dramatic star who did all the sitting and looking around; Connery was the action cat who attacked, retrieved, and climbed; and Yuri danced with the daughter and also helped as a stand-in.

Fun Fact: Lil Bub made her cinematic debut in Nine Lives! She has a brief cameo.

Our Top 5 Favorite Feline Actors

We all agree that this is a group of highly talented cats! What do you think? Anyone else you would add to the list?

By Emily

28 Comments

  1. Reply

    Summer

    My human and I are both vintage film fans, so my favorite are the two Abys who played Jake in The Cat From Outer Space!

  2. Reply

    da tabbies o trout towne

    guyz….we due knot get ta watch manee movveez but theeze fun fax R awesum !! thanx for
    sharin 🙂 heerz two a slender snipe eel kinda week oh end ! ♥♥♥

  3. Reply

    Hindy Pearson

    I can’t remember which year I last saw a movie, but I don’t think I’m wrong in saying these cutie cats are probably more talented than most “actors” on the big, and little, screen.

  4. Reply

    Tamago

    I’ve seen movies 2, 3, and 4 on your list and all the kitties were excellent 🙂
    I ‘ve watchedHomeward Bound many times. Love that movie!

  5. Reply

    Ruth Epstein

    I am not a movie goer – since a kid – but love it when pets are in movies as I do know it adds something, thanks for sharing this post

  6. Reply

    mommakatandherbearcat

    This is a fantastic list! Thank you for putting it together! I’ve never thought to look into the cats in movies (though I did watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s just for Orangey who plays Cat).

  7. Reply

    Dear Mishu

    This is a great list. People who don’t love cats always make it seem like they’re not trainable. Clearly these are!

  8. Reply

    Pawesome Cats

    Great list. I haven’t seen all these movies – but I love Mr Bigglesworth and Jinx.

  9. Reply

    Debbie

    Tiki is my favorite! I just loved Homeward Bound. It’s a classic! I actually just made my husband watch it with me a couple weeks ago! 🙂

  10. Reply

    The Island Cats

    The mom hasn’t seen a lot of movies…but she has seen the Harry Potter movies and loves Crookshanks.

  11. Reply

    Joely Smith

    Wow How have I have not seen ANY of these movies!! I will watch them for the cat stars if nothing else 🙂 Thanks by the way! You just filled up my weekend movie marathon slots for me !

  12. Reply

    Jana Rade

    Right, people often forget how many can movie start there are.

  13. Reply

    Ellen Pilch

    Great choices! I named my Jinx after Mr. Jinx in Meet the Parents. And I loved Mr. Fuzzypants in Nine Lives. There really should be a category for animals.

  14. Reply

    Tenacious Little Terrier

    A bunch of talented cats! It’s funny how they had to add more hair to Crookshanks!

  15. Reply

    The J-Cats

    Oh, that is SO true! There really ought to be Oscars for the best animal actors and actresses!
    We should start a movement, demanding more difurrsity in the Academy.

  16. Reply

    The Daily Pip

    So many great ones here! My personal favorite is Ted Nude-Gent or Mr. Bigglesworth. But Also, love Mr. Jinx in Meet the Parents. I think I am the only one in the world who hasn’t watched Homeward Bound – maybe I will watch it this weekend.

  17. Reply

    madi

    Thank you for introducing us to these beautiful cats. WE saw a few of the movies but didn’t know much about the cats.
    Hugs madi’s mom

  18. Reply

    Karen

    The Academy’s had its share of missteps, hasn’t it? Leaving animal actors out of the mix is a big omission, they work as hard as their human counterparts!

  19. Reply

    Talent Hounds

    I love these movies- so fun to get a glimpse behind the scenes at the cat actors. They were all key players.

  20. Reply

    MOLLY Mednikow

    That is so cool that ‘Lil Bud had a cameo in 9 Lives! I vote for Mr. FussyPants!

  21. Reply

    The Dash Kitten Crew

    I still remember the original Disney Incredible Journey when I was very small. At the end the cat appears to the family, and then the labrador, but the bulldog doesn’t appear for a long and agonising pause. So, as a result when the little boy who loves him finally sees he is alive they have a really emotional reunion and there is not a dry eye in the house. It was made way back in 1963 but I don’t think it will be bettered. Maybe that’s what made me love animals as much as I do!

    We are big fans of Ted Nude-Gent, he is the tops although we would worry ourselves to death if we owned a Sphynx! and we know Cruickshanks too – but none of the others (eeeep we are out of touch!!!)

  22. Reply

    Lola The Rescued Cat

    Great list of famous felines! We’ve seen Austin Powers LOTS of time with Mommy.

  23. Reply

    Beth Patterson

    I admit I never wondered about the cats’ real lives, but I’m glad to know a little more about them now! My daughter loved Sassy in the Incredible Journey, while my husband and I really loved Mr. Jinx in Meet the Parents.

  24. Reply

    Cathy Armato

    This is terrific, thanks for sharing these fun kitty actor facts! I cannot believe I never noticed Hermoine’s cat in the movies – what is wrong with me!? BOL!! I love this post.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  25. Reply

    meowmeowmans

    What a great list! I totally loved Tiki as Sassy in Homeward Bound!

  26. Reply

    Bryn Nowell

    This was an awesome post. I needed a smile today! I don’t know how I didn’t know the name of the cat from Austin Powers until today. So funny!

    I’d add Milo from Milo and Otis to this list too 🙂

  27. Reply

    Sweet Purrfections

    Cool! Interesting how many of these cat actors are Persians. We didn’t know about shedded fur being put back on the coat for Crookshanks. This was a fun post.

  28. Reply

    Pipo/Minko/MrJackFreckles

    We have not seen all of those movies. We have seen some others,and kitties in movies add to them immensely!

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