Cats have been appearing on the television virtually since it was created. In 1928 RCA created Felix The Cat as a test tool to monitor and adjust the picture and signal. Felix made his first appearance on W2CBS in New York City. Made of papier mache he was placed on a revolving record player and sat there for 10 years while engineers worked to get a good picture. Dizzying!
A Saturday morning fixture since the 1950’s cartoon characters Tom and Jerry introduced the world to cats on television.
Created by Hanna Barbera it featured intense rivalry between a cat and mouse, Tom and Jerry entertained children and parents with their slapstick behavior and antics. Tom the cat was continually trying to capture and outwit Jerry the mouse and their episodes were loaded with sad and painful results for Tom. Such is the popularity the cartoon series still shows on Cartoon Network.
This has been followed by the appearance of cats in numerous television shows as major characters appearing with some regularity, as occasional visitors, to liven up the action, add emotional drama, bring humor or generally help the actors to appear more human and not be taken so seriously.
Given the disposition of cats these feline actors must be such a good find for producers as Hollywood has no time for prima donnas. Working with a cat has got to be a challenge but the rewards are great for the viewers and hopefully the actors. It makes you wonder does the cat get a trailer or a crate? Are they hand fed, on fine china plates? How do they relax at the end of a hard days shooting? Do they get litter breaks? Massages? No matter the answer it is fun to find a cat starring in a television show.