It can never be doubted that the addition of cats will make a vast improvement upon any piece of art, and that’s doubly true for those of a witchy, magical sort (the art and the cat). To celebrate one of the most beloved of all familiars, to say nothing of being one of the most popular pets, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite magical cats across books, movies, television, and video games. Please don’t fault us if we’ve missed one or two…you know what wrangling cats can be like.
- Ser Pounce-a-Lot (Dragon Age Series)
First appearing in the Dragon Age: Awakening video game, this kitty was the beloved pet of the apostate mage-turned-Grey-Warden, Anders. Named after a tiger he was fond of doodling while confined to the Circle tower, the real Ser Pounce-a-Lot was not known for his namesake’s hunger for templar flesh. Instead, he provided a source of comfort and companionship to the troubled mage. It’s also a little known fact that Ser PaL had some mighty magic in his own right, as using this cat in battle will instantly revive your party members (albeit with no stamina or mana available to them, and with only a fraction of their health). These traits make it all the more heinous that the Grey Wardens forced Anders to give up his beloved feline, concerned that he was making the mage “too soft.” Anders was so heartbroken that he had to leave his cat with a friend that in a subsequent game he took to leaving saucers of milk outside his clinic, hoping to attract another friendly kitty.
- Thackery Binx (Hocus Pocus Movie)
Alright, so Binx wasn’t truly a cat, he was actually a young man cursed into an immortal cat form…but to be honest, we much prefer him as a sassy black cat. His trouble began when he tangled with a coven of witch sisters in a (failed) attempt to save the life of his little sister. When things didn’t go to plan, the witches gave him the curse of adorableness, and he spent the next few hundred years guarding a devilish book in an attempt to prevent the witches from rising again. Perhaps the only truly unlucky black cat in history, Binx failed once more, but with help from new friends he was finally able to avenge his sister, protect the people of Salem, and find rest. Binx didn’t have any magic himself (apart from his magical immortality), but he was rather knowledgeable concerning it and was dedicated to defeating any dark magic he came across.
- Luna (Sailor Moon Series)
Like many of the cats on this list, Luna can talk. However, you won’t catch her singing cat food jingles or begging for scritchins. Rather, she can be a stern and demanding cat who takes her responsibility as a guide and guardian towards Usagi, her mistress, rather seriously. Her strictness and teasing are meant in the best way, however, as she’s dedicated to making sure Usagi and her friends regain their memories and grow into the powerful and compassionate fighters she knows they’re capable of being. She’s also not one to run off with your pretty things like many cats are! Instead, she’s able to do a flip in the air and reveal precious items to their chosen bearers in order to empower them to fight the forces of evil. Even with all this on her plate, Luna dreams of romance and love, and hopes to one day settle down with the tomcat of her dreams.
- Azrael (The Smurfs Series)
Variously depicted as either a brown or an orange cat, Azrael is the highly-intelligent companion of the wizard Gargamel, and is just as obsessed with catching and devouring Smurfs as his master. While Azrael can understand speech perfectly, he is capable only of muttering in a serious of meows, grumbles, and hisses, and completely embodies the sort of sly, out-for-yourself attitude so many people (erroneously) associate with cats. This is not to say Azrael is incapable of caring for others, as exhibited by his friendship with Wild Smurf. Rather, Azrael has simply picked up the bad habits of his owner, from the persnickety-ness to the Smurf-obsession. Azrael is more clever than he’s given credit for, having caught Smurfs a number of times, but if he’s feeling cross with Gargamel he will deliberately allow them to escape, just to metaphorically thumb his nose at the old wizard.
- Mogget (Abhorsen Novels)
Less of a cat and more of an eldritch being bound into service to a necromancer for failing to pick a side in the beginning of the world, Mogget takes the form of a white cat wearing a red collar with a little bell attached. The collar binds him into service with powerful sigils, and the bell is a miniature replica of one used by the Abhorsen (a rather specialized necromancer who lays the dead back to rest rather than calling them out of slumber). Like so many other cats, Mogget yearns for his freedom, and is constantly attempting to trick or coerce others into removing his collar. Upon being freed, he is revealed to be a terrifying eldritch being called Yrael, his wise and mostly kindly persona subsumed under an intense urge for revenge against those who imprisoned him. And of course, like so many cats before him, Mogget cannot help but become attached to those with whom he has spent so much time, ultimately choosing to finally join the fight if it means protecting their lives.
- Salem (Sabrina the Teenage Witch Series)
Imagine all the snark of Thackery Binx. Now crank that up to eleven, and you’ve got some idea of what you’re dealing with when it comes to Salem. No matter which incarnation you’re enjoying, Salem is always a bit of a megalomaniacal ne’er-do-well that has a bit of a soft spot when it comes to his chosen family. Once a witch, he was imprisoned in his feline form as punishment for attempting to take over the world. Now a pampered puss, he serves as the guardian and (oddly enough) conscious to Sabrina Spellman, using his wits and sharp tongue to lead her through life’s many challenges (and into a few, just for fun). Salem may also have been a Jewish witch, as in some incarnations he makes frequent use of Yiddish words and remarks upon Jewish festivities his family has participated in.
- The Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss’s Works)
If Mary Poppins had a familiar, it would be the Cat in the Hat (he even has a little umbrella he uses to fly around!). Instead of a bag of holding (as Mary’s bag appears to be), it’s his hat that carries all the surprised. Containing various odds and ends, as well as at least twenty-six smaller cats, this fun-loving feline is less likely to help you tidy your room and more likely descend upon it like a natural disaster, leaving devastation and FEMA in his wake. Yet this cat was devised as a way to be helpful, specifically to children who were having trouble reading. His creator, Dr. Seuss, was challenged to write a story that made use of the majority of a list of hundreds of words it was believed a child should know at the age of six or seven. Not only did he make use of most of them (well over two hundred), but the character became so beloved that it is now frequently used as a mascot for the publishing company Random House.
- Jiji (Kiki’s Delivery Service Movie)
Depending on whether you’re watching the Japanese or American version of this movie, you’re going to get a very different cat indeed! In Japan it is common for women to voice cats (no matter the cat’s gender), while in America they tend to use gender-specific actors. While Jiji is a male cat, then, his voice can vary quite a bit! That’s not all that’s different, though, as the Japanese version also has Jiji being a more humble and reserved cat, while the American version favors a sassier, wittier feline. Another big change is that in the Japanese version, Kiki permanently loses her ability to understand Jiji, while in the American version it is implied she regains this ability. Miyazaki has said that the reason why Kiki loses her ability to understand Jiji is because he represents her childish, immature side which she must leave behind. No matter his mannerisms, though, Jiji is the beloved and devoted cat of the witch Kiki. Both versions of this beloved cat also find love in the end and settle down with a mate to raise a litter of kittens.
- Greebo (Discworld Novel Series)
A foul-tempered, gray tomcat with one eye, he has killed at least two vampires (one of which he ate), scared a she-bear, and run off a wolf. Declared a menace to society, he is, even so, regarded as a “big softy” by his owner, a witch called Nanny Ogg. To her, this hellish feline is simply “Mr. Puss-puss.” He appears throughout Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of books, stalking through them like the king he is. In contrast to some of his fellows on this list who started off human and became a cat, Greebo is a cat who, one a few occasions, became a human. As he had already fathered all of the cats in his local area, however, it was felt he would be far too dangerous to unleash upon human females. There are precious few things in this life he is afraid of, except, perhaps, for another cat (a small, white kitten called “You”).
[Compiled by Ashley Nicole Hunter.]