5 Disney Cats Who Deserve Your Adoration
It’s a cat’s world, and we’re living it in by their grace. The sooner we accept that fact, the easier life will become.
In keeping with this truism, the Celebrations crew decided to honor the vast wealth of cats found in Disney film, cartoons, and parks. The results can be heard in the new episode of the Celebrations podcast. The only problem? We quickly learned that there are more amazing cats in Disney history than we had time to discuss. So, as an addendum, here are a few more Disney cats that deserve your love and adoration.
Sassy (Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey)
Author Terry Pratchett once wrote, “In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” This is particularly true of Sassy, the Himalayan cat voiced by Sally Field in the 1993 film Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Prissy, fussy, and perpetually complaining, Sassy still remains a lovable and hilarious member of the trio at the heart of the film.
Though the story in the film is based upon the 1961 novel “The Incredible Journey” by Scottish author Sheila Burnford, the character of Sassy is unique to the Disney movie. In the original book, (and in the 1963 Disney film version of the book), the cat is a Siamese breed known as Tao. And Tao is a male.
In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Sassy is launched from a seesaw and catapults through the air. The actual effect was achieved in multiple takes, with the cat being tossed from a trainer to a group of people holding a blanket. According to folks working on the film, the cat purred through the entire process.
While Field performed Sassy’s dialogue, it took a total of 10 actual cats to fulfill the role. The primary performer was known as Tiki. Fortunately, all 10 cats delivered brilliant performances, making Sassy one of the most memorable characters in a Disney live action film. Not the least because of her memorable line, “Cats rule and dogs drool.”
Felicia (The Great Mouse Detective)
In 1986, Disney released The Great Mouse Detective, a brilliant adventure based on characters created by author Eve Titus in her “Basil of Baker Street” series. The stories (and the subsequent movie) draw heavily from the character of Sherlock Holmes, with Titus even going so far as to name the main character Basil Ratbone (for Basil Rathbone, the British actor who famously played Holmes).
The film’s principal antagonist is Ratigan, voiced to perfection by Vincent Price. It seems that beside every great villain, there must be an equally great cat (just think of Lady Tremaine’s cat Lucifer) and Ratigan is no exception. His portly, spoiled feline is known as Felicia.
She works as something akin to Ratigan’s executioner. And despite the fact that the film is full of anthropomorphic animals, she is one of the few characters who has no human qualities. She can’t speak and behaves like a normal cat. Or at least a villainous version of a normal cat.
Ortensia represents a curious piece of Disney history. She’s one of the company’s oldest characters, but remains relatively unknown. She first appeared in the 1927 short “The Bankers Daughter” as the love interest of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It’s a cartoon that modern fans have never seen because, as David A. Bossert notes in his book “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons,” the piece is “currently classified as a lost cartoon. To date we have not been able to find a surviving print of the title.”
It’s also only recently that the character has come to be known as Ortensia. In early scripts she was referred to as Fanny, while at other times she was known as Sadie. Some early documents even fail to get her species right, with one referring to her as Miss Cottontail. So just where did the name Ortensia come from?
The answer is found in the 2010 video game “Epic Mickey.” Creators were looking for an alliterative name that sounded old fashioned, and Ortensia was the perfect fit.
She’s a remarkable cat, and if you don’t believe me, just take note of this fact. In “Epic Mickey” we learn that she’s mother to 420 babies.
Fat Cat (Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers)
When the story of humanity is written, the Disney Afternoon will proudly stand beside such immortal masterpieces as the Sistine Chapel, the works of Shakespeare, and the Mickey Premium bar as one of our greatest accomplishments.
“Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” was a key part of the programming block, even if the episodes shown were re-runs (the show’s run last from 1989-1990, the latter being the year the Disney Afternoon began). One of the principal villains in the show was Fat Cat, a tabby crime lord with an impeccable sense of style. His voice was provided by Jim Cummings.
For a time, the character was featured in a Disneyland stage show called “The Disney Afternoon Live!: Plane Crazy” and he also appeared at a 2022 Cast Member event at Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
A creature known as the loth cat made its first appearance in the animated series “Star Wars Rebels.” A subspecies of the tooka, the loth cat is an almost painfully adorable animal native to the Outer Rim planet of Lothal. Like their earthly counterparts, the loth cat is known to be temperamental, occasionally fierce, and only potentially friendly.
The creatures made their live action debut in chapter four of “The Mandalorian,” before reappearing in chapter thirteen. For those brave enough to want to adopt their own loth cat, the opportunity is available for visitors to Blackspire Outpost in Batuu. Take a little journey to the Creature Stall, and you’ll find more than a few to choose from. From personal experience, I can state that they make delightful pets. As long as you provide them with everything their furry little hearts desire. Just like real cats.