They are known for being aloof and arrogant, having a sour and elusive character, and being egocentric and somewhat despotic in their interactions with humans. But despite all this, it is very difficult to resist the natural charm that cats exude, which can even be projected through a screen.
The Ranking of the Best Movies for Cat Lovers
Since we can never have enough felines in our lives, I have decided to compile a list of the 13 best movies for any self-respecting cat lover out there. This list includes a variety of films directed by greats such as Ralph Bakshi, Ridley Scott, and Blake Edwards. The movies span from family-friendly cinema to adult animation, action-comedies, cult horrors, and even a thriller that exposes the darker side of our furry friends.
And if you need more recommendations, you might find films to your liking in our lists of the best animated movies of all time, the individual selection of the best Disney movies, or the compilation of the best films of 2021.
‘The Aristocats’ (‘The AristoCats’, 1970)
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman. Cast: Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Cothers, Paul Winchell, Vito Scotti…
What better way to start this list than with an undisputed classic of Disney animation like ‘The Aristocats,’ directed by Wolfgang Reitherman in 1970. This timeless film features an endearing feline gang composed of members of all races and sizes, and it is crowned by a simply delightful soundtrack.
‘Oliver & Company’ (1988)
Director: George Scribner. Cast: Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Sheryl Lee Ralph…
We continue with animation and the Disney touch in 1988’s ‘Oliver & Company.’ This heartwarming adventure tells the story of an orphaned cat who joins a gang of street dogs to survive in the big city. The film adapts Charles Dickens’ classic ‘Oliver Twist’ with evident freedom.
‘A Cat in Paris’ (‘Une vie de chat’, 2010)
Directors: Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol. Cast: Dominique Blanc, Bernadette Lafont, Jean Benguigui, Patrick Descamps, Patrick Didremont, Bruno Salomone…
Nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2011, this French thriller is visually stunning. It follows the adventures of Dino, a charming Parisian cat leading a double life. It explores the darkest corners of the French capital while narrating a story built around intrigue and its charismatic protagonist.
‘The Cat from Outer Space’ (1978)
Director: Norman Tokar. Cast: Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, Roddy McDowall, McLean Stevenson, Jesse White, William Prince…
In 1978, Norman Tokar created a movie as crazy as its title suggests. In this film, an extraterrestrial cat with various powers, such as the ability to communicate with humans, lands on Earth in a spaceship. It allows a scientist to adopt him in the hope of finding a way back to his planet. If the premise isn’t reason enough to watch it, the film’s soundtrack is composed by the legendary Lalo Schifrin.
‘Puss in Boots’ (2011)
Director: Chris Miller. Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zack Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Guillermo del Toro…
After his stellar debut in the hilarious ‘Shrek 2,’ it was only a matter of time before the unforgettable Puss in Boots, played by Antonio Banderas, got his own solo movie. Directed by Chris Miller, the film may not have met expectations, but Banderas’ impeccable performance as the swashbuckling feline makes it more than deserving of a spot on this list.
Director: Peter Atencio. Cast: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Jason Mitchell, Luis Guzmán, Will Forte, Nia Long, Rob Huebel, Method Man, Madison Wolfe…
Before Jordan Peele’s smashing directorial debut with ‘Get Out,’ the director, actor, and writer penned the script for this action comedy in pure eighties style. Alongside his partner in crime, Keegan-Michael Key, they must rescue an adorable kitten named Keanu from the clutches of a gang of drug dealers. It’s an irresistible blend of laughter and heart-melting cuteness every time the little cat appears on screen.
‘Fritz the Cat’ (1972)
Director: Ralph Bakshi. Cast: Skip Hinnant, Rosetta LeNoire, John McCurry, Judy Engels, Phil Seuling, Mary Dean, Charles Spidar…
In 1972, the legendary animator Ralph Bakshi brought to life this irreverent adult comedy based on Robert Crumb’s eponymous comic strip. Set in the 1960s and with strong satirical and sociopolitical content, ‘Fritz the Cat’ pushes the boundaries with explicit sexual content, violence, and unhealthy habits, resulting in a film that is both hilarious and controversial.
‘Eye of the Cat’ (1969)
Director: David Lowell Rich. Cast: Michael Sarrazin, Gayle Hunnicutt, Eleanor Parker, Tim Henry, Jennifer Leak, Linden Chiles, Mark Herron, Annabelle Garth…
Believe it or not, there are people who don’t hold cats in high esteem. This is the case in ‘Eye of the Cat,’ a 1969 horror film where a couple decides to rob a mansion only to discover that it is populated by dozens of freely roaming felines. Not recommended if you suffer from an irrational fear of these adorable creatures.
‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ (2016)
Director: Roger Spottiswoode. Cast: Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans, Tony Jayawardena, Adam Riches…
Based on the best-selling book ‘A Street Cat Named Bob, and How he Saved my Life,’ this charming tale of second chances directed by Roger Spottiswoode tells the true story of how street musician James Bowen, the author of the original novel, overcame his addictions and turned his life around thanks to the sudden appearance of a cat. It’s a testament to how an animal can become an invaluable source of support in the darkest moments.
‘The Cat Returns’ (‘Neko no ongaeshi’, 2002)
Director: Hiroyuki Morita. Cast: Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiro Hakamada, Aki Maeda, Takayuki Yamada, Hitomi Sato, Kenta Satoi, Mari Hamada…
Who better than Studio Ghibli to immerse us in a dreamlike world inhabited by cats? In ‘The Cat Returns,’ the renowned Japanese studio showcases its usual charm, following the journey of Haru, a young girl who, after saving a cat from being hit by a car, discovers that he is the prince of a feline kingdom called the Cat Bureau and receives an invitation to spend time there. It would undoubtedly be a dream come true for many of us.
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (1961)
Director: Blake Edwards. Cast: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, Mickey Rooney, José Luis de Vilallonga, John McGiver…
Although the movie doesn’t revolve around him, we can’t overlook one of the most iconic cats in the history of cinema. Orangey, as the feline was originally named, won his second PATSY award thanks to his role in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ a well-deserved recognition for standing out among the rich popular iconography that has transcended from the 1961 film.
Director: Ridley Scott. Cast: Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm
We couldn’t talk about feline supporting characters without mentioning Jonesy, the orange cat of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, who prowled the Nostromo while witnessing the merciless slaughter of the crew by the relentless Xenomorph. One memorable scene depicts Jonesy silently observing the alien dispatching Brett.
Director: Ceyda Torun. Cast: Yaman Barlas, Arzu Göl, Kemal Suncu, Necati Özer, Hamdi Selami Karaci, Mine Sögüt, Teoman Toraman…
To close out the list, we have what is arguably the pinnacle of feline cinema. This documentary, which portrays the lives of a group of stray cats in Istanbul, is not only a visual delight, but its remarkable storytelling delicately and tenderly describes the symbiotic relationship between these quadrupeds and humans. If you adore cats, this is the movie for you.
These thirteen films offer an array of stories that celebrate the unique bond between humans and cats. Whether you’re a devoted cat lover or simply enjoy feline charisma on the big screen, these films are sure to captivate and entertain you.