A cat is a cat. Except when it’s not. Here are just some of the narrative functions of CATS ON FILM. Please note: a cat can - and frequently does - belong to more than one category at a time by performing several narrative functions simultaneously.
CATAGONIST: a cat which is one of the central characters or protagonists in a movie. (The Aristocats, The Incredible Journey, That Darn Cat!, The Cat From Outer Space)
HEROPUSS: a cat which behaves in a heroic manner - chasing off demons, trolls or vampires, and generally saving lives. (Cat’s Eye, The Mummy, Sleepwalkers, Let the Right One In)
CATZILLA: a badly behaved or downright evil cat which causes embarrassment, destruction, pain or even death. (The Uncanny, Team America, Inferno, Lady and the Tramp, Hausu, Eye of the Cat, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Cats & Dogs, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Stuart Little, Pet Semetary, The Sentinel)
The cat birthday party in The Sentinel. This cat may look cute, but it’s Evil.
CATPANION: a cat, usually domestic, which keeps a human character company, and provides them with a pretext to talk out loud when there are no other humans in the vicinity. (The Net, The Specialist, Bright Star, The Long Goodbye, Little Women, Bell, Book and Candle)
Abbie Cornish and cat read John Keats’s poetry together in Bright Star.
PUSSILLA: a hybrid of CATPANION and CATZILLA, a feline familiar or companion of a villain, often (but not always) a WHITE CAT OF EVIL. (You Only Live Twice, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Three Musketeers (1948), Night of the Demon, The Godfather)
“Did you bite the man? Oh, shame. I don’t keep you as a watch-cat.” Niall MacGinnis and Graymalkin in Night of the Demon.