Cats (trope)

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For the fandom, see Cats (musical).
Trope · Genre
Related: Animals in Fanworks, Animal Transformation, Cat AU
See Also: Alpine, Kemonomimi/Catboys & Catgirls, Lolcat in Fandom, Maru, Miette, Furry Fandom
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Cats, small and large, have appeared regularly in fanworks. They have long held a special place in human culture, often symbolizing mystery, independence, and companionship.

Fanworks featuring cats can take on diverse forms. They can be original feline characters, existing cat characters from the source material, or creative reimaginings of existing human characters. Cats may be depicted in a variety of roles, ranging from beloved pets to mythical beings.

When canon human characters are portrayed as cats, it is Animal Transformation or AUs in which the characters are not transformed into but have always been cats.

Catboys & Catgirls are human with cat-like characteristics such as ears and tails. They may purr, hiss or meow, be territorial, and love fish, stroking, and naps in the sun.

Trends and Examples in Specific Fandoms

Canonical Cats

Some fandoms have canonical cats, such as Data's cat Spot, Jim Ellison's panther spirit guide and Argus Filch's Mrs Norris, which will then appear in some fanworks.

  • Sydney, the pet cat of one of the characters in Forever Knight, even had his own Forever Knight Faction, called FoSiLs.
  • Rodney McKay's (unnamed in canon?) cat left behind on Earth shows up regularly in Stargate Atlantis fanworks.
  • Willow Rosenberg's cat Miss Kitty Fantastico appeared in several episodes, occasionally appears in fanfic, and has its own dedicated fan site. In fandom, fans of the Willow/Tara ship are known as the Kittens, taking their name from a message board named for Miss Kitty Fantastico.
  • Diane Duane's Young Wizards series has a canon offshoot, the Feline Wizards series (currently running to three novels), featuring a group of cats who operate New York's worldgate (dimensional portal), and told from their viewpoint. They and other feline wizards are often seen in YW fanfic.
  • Nyanko-sensei from Natsume Yuujinchou is not actually a cat, but his visible-to-humans form is based on a lucky cat and he is frequently identified as cat (though sometimes as other animals, such a pig or a tanuki) by other characters.
  • Kiki's black cat Jiji is a major character of the Studio Ghibli film Kiki's Delivery Service; Jiji is a very popular subject of fanart for both the movie itself and Studio Ghibli in general. (Cats have a major presence in several other Ghibli movies, including the Catbus in My Neighbor Totoro, most of the cast in The Cat Returns, Moon/Muta in Whispers of the Heart, and Niya The Secret World of Arietty but aside from the Catbus these characters are less commonly featured in fanworks than Jiji.)
  • Luna (Sailor Moon), a magical cat, is the central mascot character in Sailor Moon.
  • Cats is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot.
  • Remy LeBeau (X-Men) has three cats, given to him by Mystique and who frequently appear in canon - Oliver, Lucifer and Figaro. They are popular with fanartists.
  • Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) has a cat-like alien, called a flerken, in both comics canon and the MCU. Chewie/Goose looks like a traditional orange cat, except their mouth opens in a large maw complete with tentacles, and they consume objects (and people!) many times larger than them. In both comics and movies, the flerken plays a major role.
  • Marvel Comics' Bucky Barnes and Natasha Romanoff also have cats - Bucky has a white cat called Alpine, and Natasha has a black cat called Liho. They, and Chewie (and subsequently many others), have appeared in an official comic (2021) and then webcomic series (2022) called Marvel Meow Infinity which has spawned various fanart.

Fannish Cats

In some fanworks, characters acquire a cat or alternatively, they may have always had a cat.

In rare cases, feline original characters can become popular in fanworks. Many Star Wars Sequel Trilogy fanworks include General Hux's fannish cat Millicent.

Some other examples of fannish cats that gained popularity beyond one fanwork include Sushi from muffinlance's ATLA fics and Mika from the BNHA fic Yesterday Upon the Stair.

Villains and Cats

Fictional villains are often portrayed as owning cats (see e.g. Guy Boothby's Doctor Nikola (1895 onwards), Sapper's Carl Peterson (1920), the film version of Fleming's Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Inspector Gadget's Dr. Claw) but they seem to inspire relatively few fanworks.

Cat-themed villains are also a common trope; Catwoman from DC Comics is a prominent example.


The Professional Wrestling promotion Excellence Professional Wrestling is, in kayfabe, owned by a cat named Edgar, and many of their events have had cat puns in their titles (e.g., The Color Purrple.) It is not known who the actual owners are.


Video game Stray, released in 2022, is told entirely from the POV of the feline main character. It is a popular fandom with fanartists in particular.

Some fanfic is told from the point of view of cats, usually with the cat anthropomorphized to some degree internally, while it remains a cat from the viewpoint of the characters. For example, the ST:XI story The Enterprising Cat by Mockingbird Quester, in which a stray cat gets onto the Enterprise.


In the Naruto fandom, fanfics of Akatsuki members transformed into kittens used to be all the rage. The trope has since fallen out of use. These fanfics used to involve some kind of forbidden technique that made them transform into kittens. Then an OC who usually was female found the kittens and adopted them. The cats used to retain the personality of each character and in the end they became humans again.

A recurring joke in FMA canon is that Al routinely finds stray cats on their travels, which his older brother Ed prevents him from keeping. There are also multiple omakes making jokes about Al and cats, including strips in which Al turns into a cat, and one where Al runs a cat blog. Fandom has latched onto "cat lover" as one of Al's main character traits, and there are many works featuring Al adopting cats, particularly post-canon. FMA also features Mei Chang's pet panda Xiao Mei, who is frequently mistaken for a "weird cat" by the other characters. A similar fanon has been developed about Damien Wayne from the Batman comics, where he is often portrayed as preferring animals to people and brings stray cats - plus other types of animals - home to the Bat-Cave.

In Miraculous Ladybug, the character Adrien Agreste transforms into Chat Noir, his suit having cat ears and tail. In some fanworks he accidentally transforms into a cat, or is a shapeshifter. In some Adrienette fluff stories, they end up having a cat and a hamster.

In BNHA, there is a cat-themed superhero group, the Wild Wild Pussycats. They are not especially popular within the fandom; much more popular are headcanons and fics associating Aizawa Shouta with cats -- either adopting cats, looking after strays, visiting cat cafes and other fandom-y cat tropes.

The 1991 Ditmar Award for the Australian National Science Fiction Convention (similar to the Hugos) had a category for "Best Fannish Cat" - that is, cats belonging to fans - as the result of interstate rivalry between Brisbane and Melbourne fans. Typo the cat won the award. The category returned again in 2010 as a homage to the original, this time as a Special Award, which was won by Peri-Peri. "Serious" sci-fi fans were not happy with this.

Fanfiction Featuring Cats

Cats as Romance-starters

For a non-romantic version: Late Night Comedy Hour, Archived version by domoz (2022) -- BNHA-- looking after a stray cat together bring's Shinsou Hitoshi to Aizawa's attention, and leads to a mentor/paternal relationship.

Human Characters Transformed into Cats

Human Characters Portrayed as Being Cat-Like

"Always Been a Cat" AUs

Gallery of Cat-Related Fanart

In order of creation/publication:



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