Captain Marvel may have a kickass female hero, two new alien races, and the solution to all of ourInfinity War problems — but as any rational, totally objective cat lover can tell you, this multi-million dollar tentpole is mostly (if not entirely) about Goose the cat.
Carol Danvers’ feline companion (who’s like trying to not outshine her, but also can’t hold back his star power?) marks the first starring role for a cat in the MCU. This landmark appearance continues a long legacy of on-screen kitty-cat greatness, and as such we thought it fitting to look back on the rich history of badass cats in film.
A few things to note before we get started ranking our favorites:
(1) This list is exclusive to domestic, house cat types. Big game cats such as Aslan, Tigger, The MGM Lion, and the Pink Panther have been excluded.
(2) Villain pets, like the cats belonging to The Godfather‘s Vito Corleone and Austin Powers‘ Dr. Evil, have been similarly discounted. Sitting on a rich dude’s lap while he threatens someone is very rarely badass.
(3) The kitten Christian Bale attempted to feed to an ATM in American Psycho was seriously considered for this list. However, he was ultimately deemed to be more a victim of circumstance than truly badass. As such, we salute but do not include him in our rankings.
Now, the 9 most badass cats in cinematic history.
9. Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Perhaps the mountain of Chesire Cat Hot Topic merch we owned as teenagers clouds our judgment, but it’s pretty difficult to imagine a badass cats list without this asshole.
Sure, the Chesire Cat wasn’t particular nice to a child who fell down a hole and was subsequently stalked by a full-grown woman with control issues. But, he did seem to know everything about Wonderland, pulled regularly hilarious pranks, dropped a total bop of a single within his first few minutes on-screen, and eventually helped Alice get back topside. Clearly, a badass.
8. Keanu, Keanu (2016)
Within his first few weeks of living, Keanu the kitten was kidnapped, re-kidnapped, re-re-kidnapped, and re-re-re-kidnapped in the most heart-wrenching game of capture the flag to ever appear in theaters.
Rocking killer style and starring in a high-speed car chase, Keanu is without question the highlight of his own film. The best part? Considering Keanu has that rare disease keeping him a kitten forever, we could still get a sequel. His star-power obviously remains red-hot and fundamentally badass.
7. Crookshanks, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2002)
As far as underrated Wizarding World heroes go, Hermione Granger’s cat Crookshanks should near the top of most everyone’s lists.
Not only was this fluffy, half-Kneazle angel the first to blow the whistle on the not-rat that Peter Pettigrew is, he also aided in bringing Ron and Hermione together. An iconic, legendary badass full of love and likely hairballs.
6. The Cat, Coraline (2009)
This magical bundle of black clay and bad omens may look like the cat of your nightmares, but in reality he’s just trying to save Dakota Fanning’s dumb ass from getting buttons sewn into her face.
The Cat offers Coraline warning after warning throughout the film’s first half, and when she totally disregards them like the exhausting protagonist she is, he continues to offer helpful tips and tricks until the big finale. At one point, he even blinds the Other Mother because he is what? An overachieving badass.
5. Puss in Boots, Shrek 2 (2004)
Equal parts brain and braun, Puss in Boots knows how to nail a glance so enticing it remains in the public consciousness long after its source material is forgotten.
With killer fencing moves, snappy dialogue, and some thigh highs even Beyoncé would covet, Puss is the kind of sleeper cell badass that knows how to hit you where it hurts, right in your kitty-cat loving feels.
4. Thackery Binx, Hocus Pocus (1993)
Yaaaas, Thackery. Drag Bette Midler, drag her straight to Hell.
Considering the teenage heroes in Hocus Pocus are useless and can’t dance — even when the Sanderson Sisters are offering them up a truly iconic banger — Binx is essential to moving this plot along.
Full of punchy one-liners and unafraid to claw a witch’s face to pieces, this colonial boy turned black cat is the definition of hero material. Funny, adventurous, brave, weirdly a little sexy? Pretty badass.
3. Jake, The Cat from Outer Space (1978)
You thought your cat was a genius? Turns out, Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7 (aka “Jake”) genuinely is.
This extremely good and intergalactic boy crash lands his spaceship on Earth in the beginning of The Cat from Outer Space. Unable to receive aid from his own kind, Jake enlists the help of the U.S. Government to try and fix it.
Telepathic, telekinetic, and with more charisma than Airbud, Jake is the kind of badass diplomat we wish our current international leadership had on-call.
2. Church, Pet Sematary (1989)
Considering the Pet Sematary remake is due out later this year, we’re not gonna get into too many spoilers here. Suffice to say, Church the cat is bad news.
Not in an “I’m angry so I peed in your bed!” way. More in a “You should have let me stay dead, you worthless idiot” kinda way. Sure, it’s horrifying. But also, badass.
1. Jonesy, Alien (1979)
Anyone and anything that can survive a Xenomorph attack is pretty badass, but the USCSS Nostromo’s most valued crew member did it in perfect cat style.
In typical feline fashion, Jonesy spends the majority of his time in the Alien franchise straight-up chilling. Sure, he hisses some, but he mainly defies death by staying the hell out of the way. We assume when he wasn’t on-screen, Jonesy was napping it up, chasing space mice, or licking some of Officer Kane’s chest goo off the floor. You know, cat stuff.
Honorable Mention: Goose, Captain Marvel (2019)
Don’t get us wrong, we love Goose. We love him so, so much. But with mounting evidence indicating he isn’t really a cat at all, we question whether or not he should be included on this list. After all, can a god be measured among mere mortals?
Flerken or no, we love this little guy and every disturbing power he may or may not have. Captain Marvel (aka Goose: The Movie) is in theaters March 8.
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