Salem the Cat is Sabrina's lovable sidekick, but he's much more than just a witch's familiar. He's his own person (or should we say cat?). Named Salem Saberhagen, he's been through in the wringer in the past couple centuries, but he's been making viewers fall in love with his loyalty and sassy comebacks every step of the way (although he doesn't speak in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina). After first appearing in Archie's Mad House #22, alongside his BFF Sabrina in 1962, he has somehow still made a name for himself almost 60 years later. Here are 10 things Sabrina fans may not have known about everyone's favorite black cat.
10 He's SUPER Old
We know that Salem is super old, but how old is he, exactly? After being sentenced by the Witches Council to spend 100 years as a cat, Salem is now around 500 years old. Along with this sentence, he was also punished by having his magical powers taken awway from him. Although he's shown at different ages in a variety of the shows he's been portrayed in, Salem has never returned to his human form. Funny enough, there are two reasons why Salem is the way he is. Some say it's because he attempted world domination, while others say it's because he kissed a mortal using powers to encourage it. Either way, Salem is one old kitty with way more than nine lives.
9 He Was In Every Single Episode Of Sabrina The Teenage Witch
In 1996, Sabrina the Teenage Witch hit TV screens making us all fall in love. We loved Sabrina for her hilarious difficulties of being a "regular" teenager while also being a young witch, but it was her sidekick Salem that made viewers tune in every week. Considering the show was literally called Sabrina the Teenage Witch, it's no surprise that Sabrina was the star of the show, with appearances in every single episode. But alongside Sabrina was Salem, the only other star in the show who also appeared in every episode of the series and both TV movies. That's over 160 episodes in the course of seven seasons.
8 His Looks Have Changed Throughout The Years
Now that The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Riverdale are both on Netflix, everyone is waiting for the crossover between the two. And since the towns of Riverdale and Greendale are so close in the Archie Comics world, a union between the two would be plausible. Knowing that Salem and Sabrina appeared in the Archie Comics in the '60s, his looks have changed drastically. As Sabrina the Teenage Witch Wikia notes, Salem wasn't always black: he was once orange. "He has been completely black in all adaptations since the 1996 movie," the site explains.
7 There Are Five Cats Portraying Salem In Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
Knowing how popular both Salem and Sabrina are, it's hard to keep track of all of Salem's appearances. For Netflix's The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, however, there is more than one Salem on set. In fact, there are five. Shaq, Boomer, Edward, Trevor, and Bobb are all-black, male cats who are shown on screen alongside Kiernan Shipka. With five cats on set, how does production choose which cat makes the best on-screen star? Animal trainer Ian Doig explains, "Shaq really does carry the load because he’s just tremendous; like a majority of the shots are [the cats] sitting on set and he tolerates all the stuff going on so easily there’s no point in trying to better it with a different cat.”
6 Kiernan Shipka's Allergic To Her On-Set Familiar
Kiernan Shipka who plays Sabrina in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is actually allergic to her little companion! This 19-year-old starlet told Vulture that she had no idea she was allergic to cats until she started filming. After being on set for a month with five different cats, Shipka began breaking out in hives. When asked if there was a cast member she didn't get along with, coincidentally, it was her best buddy Salem. “The cat is the one cast member I don’t get along with,” she explained. This means that even hair and makeup stylists can't pet the cats before working on her. No wonder she and Salem aren't as cuddly.
5 Salem Wrote Some Of His Script
Nick Bakay is a voice actor who portrayed Salem in Sabrina the Teenage Witch in the '90s. When the show ended after seven seasons, Bakay went on voicing Salem for Sabrina: The Animated Series. However, as poetic and deep as Salem was on screen, he was equally talented offset, too. Nick Bakay wrote 12 episodes for the series, proving that he knew Salem Saberhagen better than anyone. Making a career off voicing one of the world's favorite cats is not a bad gig.
4 Salem's Leaders We're Imprisoned
We know that Salem Saberhagen was a warlock before he was turned into a cat, but he wasn't the only one who was cursed by the Witches Council. His leaders were also turned into house pets (pets that weren't as cool as a cat, either). Hilda and Zelda's cousin Monty was in on the whole 'world domination' thing. He has a pet newt who was also one of Salem's leaders. Duke, another underling, was cursed as well but had a lesser sentence than Salem. Then, when Sabrina the Teenage Witch created a made-for-TV movie, there was a talking guinea pig named Stonehenge who is assumed to be living out the same sentence as Salem.
Funny enough, Hilda was also cursed—staying in human form—and was left to keep Salem worm-free.
3 Salem Has A Human Daughter
As most fans know, Salem wasn't always a cat. He was once a warlock who had a life of his own -- and this life included a daughter named Annabelle. After Salem was cursed to being a cat for 500 years though, he became embarrassed by his appearance around his daughter and kept his distance. Although Salem adores his daughter, being around her was quite hard. He did, however, make it to her wedding — walking her down the aisle the best he could in cat form.
2 He's An Award Winner!
After Sabrina the Teenage Witch took off in 1996, it became one of this highest viewed shows on TV (17-million viewers on premiere night). While the show won a handful of Kid's Choice Awards and Young Artist Awards, it was Salem who won people's hearts. For three consecutive years from 1998 to 2000, Salem the Cat won the Favorite Animal Star at the Kid's Choice Awards.
1 Salem Has Popped Up In Other Shows
Believe it or not, the sitcom version of Salem has appeared in more shows than Sabrina the Teenage Witch. This is fascinating since not many characters just pop up randomly in other popular sitcoms. But Salem is different. He's appeared in ABC-Disney owned shows like Boy Meets World, Teen Angel, You Wish, and children's morning show via Disney. What other talking-animal can say they've done that?