Cats are having a big moment in popular culture at the moment. Goose the Flerken/cat recently stole scenes from both Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson in Captain Marvel, and Salem has returned for the second part of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Both have solid roots in comics, which got us thinking about all of the feline friends — and foes — which have appeared in the funny pages over the years. Some are super, some are sarcastic, some are just downright adorable, but all of them add something wonderful to the universes they inhabit. Here are 10 of the best cats that can be found in comics!
When thinking about iconic cats from the funny pages, the lasagna-loving, Monday-hating Garfield quickly springs to mind. When first creating the strip, Jim Davis originally intended for Jon to be the central character, but the wise-cracking cat stole the show. Garfield is the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip, reaching readers around the globe, and has the world record to prove it. The ginger tabby has won the hearts of thousands with his cynical outlook on life and insatiable hunger for Italian food. Spawning hordes of licensed merchandise, movies, and even video games, his influence has reached out beyond the comics page and has developed a life of its own.
Even pretty guardians need someone to look out for them. With a distinct crescent moon marking on her forehead, Luna is Usagi’s (a.k.a. Sailor Moon) protector. In the manga, Sailor Tin Nyanko reveals that Luna and her husband, Artemis, are aliens originally from the planet Mau — which fittingly means “cat” in ancient Egyptian — where Luna was a devoted servant to Princess Serenity. After their kingdom fell, Luna and Artemis were sent to earth to protect the Sailor Scouts, none the wiser that Usagi is really Princess Serenity reincarnated — which explains their instantly tight bond. Luna has the ability to talk and can transform into her human form in times of crisis.
8 Lying Cat
Saga’s Lying Cat is a striking Sphynx-like feline with blue fur and yellow eyes, it’s hard to believe the Lying Cat was the runt of its litter. Like all of its kind, Lying Cat directly confronts those who bend the truth.
It does have a set of rules to follow though, including admitting both ethical and factual truths, no matter how difficult they might be. Regardless of powers, Lying Cat is feline through and through, from movement to facial expressions. It has proved to be so popular, a talking plush doll was released in 2016.
7 Streaky The Super-Cat
Joining the ranks of the Legion of Super-Pets, Streaky was created by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney to give Supergirl her own fluffy sidekick. Exposure to X-Kryptonite (which Supergirl carelessly threw out of a window in frustration after a failed experiment) gave Streaky his powers, granting him the ability of flight, super-strength, super-speed, and high intelligence, as well as heat and super-vision. Streaky would lose his powers during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Seemingly having no use for a powerless cat, Supergirl shipped him off to live with her foster parents. A new female Streaky has appeared in recent years, alongside rumors of a past relationship between herself and Krypto!
Before capturing hearts on the big screen as Goose, Carol Danvers had a cat named Chewie. Originally appearing in Giant-Size Ms Marvel #1 in 2006, Carol took the stray in, developing a genuine bond with the cat. Taking her beloved pet into space with her, Carol would quickly learn that Chewie was really a Flerken — a highly intelligent alien from Earth-58163 — realizing her cat wasn’t what it seemed when it laid eggs around her ship, giving birth to 117 kittens. To make things weirder, Chewie unleashed tentacles from within its mouth to fight off alien goo. Flerkens may be able to hold pocket realities inside their bodies, have human intellect, and interdimensional travel abilities, but they have all of the attitude of a cat.
Originally an abandoned kitten from Brooklyn, Dex-Starr led a normal life as a rescue cat until his owner was murdered in front of him. Homeless once more, he later received the Red Lantern Power Ring when it detected the rage in the cat’s heart as thugs tried to stuff him into a bag. Dex-Starr swore vengeance on the man who murdered his owner and set off on his quest, murdering creatures that stood in his way with Red Lantern vomit. Dex-Starr was originally drawn by Shane Davis as a joke, but Geoff Johns insisted he remain in the strip, claiming that the adorable housecat was really the most sadistic and malicious of all the Red Lanterns.
The memeable Salem we’ve come to know and love began life as a very different cat. The Spellman’s pet cat first appeared in 1962 as an ordinary orange tabby cat who couldn’t speak. However, after the resounding success of the ‘90s sitcom, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, his comic counterpart got a makeover, transforming him into a black coated, smart-aleck cat on the page.
In his new origins, it was revealed that Salem is actually a former witch, cursed to live as a cat for 100 years, though the reasons behind this punishment varies. Though he hides behind his sharp wit, Salem is a kind mentor to Sabrina, and often acts as the voice of reason in the more recent Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
3 Master Ren
Cats are mysterious and mistrusted figures in the Monstress universe. Master Ren, or “Commander Ren Mormorian, Apprentice Necromancer to Two-faced Zorian of Whiteclaw,” as he so introduced himself, often leaves us questioning whether or not he should be trusted. Sent to act as a guide for Maika Halfwolf, we’re never truly certain if Maika is his main concern. This is exactly what makes Ren so compelling. Rather than being a simple know-it-all sidekick, he embodies every suspicion that humans hold about cats: they’re independent but loyal, depending on the situation; nurturing, but blunt; and appear to have a high intellect, in on some kind of secret that humans aren’t privy to, but don’t share much of that wisdom.
2 The Orphan
A stray cat who often accompanies Beast of Burden’s Spook Squad, the Orphan is a loner looking for a sense of belonging. Becoming entangled in the supernatural adventures, there’s a natural tension between him and the dogs, often leaving himself open to mockery and ridicule by the pack. As much as they may tease, the Orphan certainly isn’t an outcast where they’re concerned. The Orphan is invited to join “the society” by the great wise dog as a watch-cat, and even has his life saved by Rex in “The Unfamiliar.” Always able to combine the creepy with the heartfelt, Beasts of Burden sees the Orphan transform from outsider to hero.
The lovable Bengal tiger might be a big cat, but he’s a cat nonetheless. Hobbes was based on Bill Watterson’s own gray tabby cat, Sprite, embodying his playfulness and kindness, as well as his love of pouncing unexpectedly. His special and unique friendship with Calvin makes Hobbes such a loveable and charming cat. Just as keen to explore and go on adventures as his friend, Hobbes might warn Calvin away from trouble, but often accidentally lands him in it instead. While he can walk and talk, his feline side is still very prominent in his attitude and slight disdain for humans. It’s what makes Calvin and Hobbes the purr-fect pair!