The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

CatVideoFest 2019: Top 10 Cat Movies to Watch

Meow! CatVideoFest 2019 is creeping up fast this April. As if that alone weren’t enough feline psychosis for one month, here’s a litter of cat-centric films guaranteed to amp up that nepetalactone high just a little more…


10. Cat People (1942)

A horror classic, produced by Val Lewton, known for his signature use of shadows and as the father of the “false jump scare.” Irena is a young Serbian woman controlled by a curse that turns her into a bloodthirsty panther when she is angered… or sexually aroused.  Her curse creates tragedy when she marries a handsome young American man and becomes horribly jealous of his relationship with a female co-worker.  A visually stunning and groundbreaking intellectual thriller, ahead of its time.

9. Keanu (2016)

Before his Oscar winning film Get Out, Jordan Peele wrote his first feature film Keanu, An over-the-top action-comedy co-starring his Key & Peele co-star Keegan-Michael Key.  Rell (Peele) and Clarence (Key) are friends who must infiltrate the LA underground world of gangs, hitmen, and drug dealers to rescue Rell’s beloved eponymous kitten. Keanu is a cross between Let’s Be Copsand the cutest kitten videos, filled with signature Key & Peele humor.

8. Cat’s Eye (1985)

An anthology film, Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye presents three stories, brought together during the cross-country journey of General, a psychic cat. General is trying to make his way to a little girl (Drew Barrymore) who is being tormented at night by a demon troll.  On his way, General crosses paths with a smoker whose family will face harsh consequences if he smokes — and a gambler, who squares off with his lover’s crime boss husband. Cat’s Eye is a unique King film, directed by Lewis Teague, best known for directing another King adaptation, Cujo.

7. The Cat Returns (2002)

Shy and lovelorn Haru’s (Anne Hathaway) innate ability to converse with cats lands her into trouble when, after saving a feline prince from a road accident, she is taken to the Cat Kingdom and betrothed to him. As she progressively transforms into a cat, Haru must, with the aid of her new friends, discover her true self and return to the human world. Featuring the voice talents of Tim Curry, Cary Elwes, Peter Boyle, and Elliot Gould.

6. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

This live action Disney movie is beloved by those who grew up in the 1990’s. Two dogs (Michael J. Fox, Don Ameche) and a cat (Sally Field) go on a state-wide journey, traveling from an isolated California Ranch to San Francisco to find their owners. Amidst the challenges they face in nature, they form a strong bond, drawing them closer than before.  Regardless of your age, you will feel warm and fuzzy.

5. Oliver and Company (1988)

A 1980s Disney animated classic, based on the Charles Dickens tale Oliver Twist.  Oliver, an orphaned kitten, is taken in by a gang of street dogs and later by Jenny, a wealthy little girl.  Oliver splits his time between both worlds until Jenny is kidnapped and he and the street dogs must join forces to save her.  A fun film with memorable songs performed by Billy Joel, Joey Lawrence, and Bette Midler.

4. Cats Don’t Dance (1997)

Danny (Scott Bakula) is an ambitious and very talented cat who, along with his misfit animal friends, tries to make it in the movies during Hollywood’s Golden Age.  With their biggest rival being a cute, but comically sadistic (?) child star who hates animals, the animal friends do everything they can to make their dreams come true.  An ode to Old Hollywood musicals, with great animation.

3. A Cat in Paris (2010)

A French animated crime mystery which follows the double life of Dino the cat.  By day, Dino is a housecat to Jeanne, a recently widowed police agent, and her mute daughter Zoe.  By night, he is an assistant to cat burglar Nico.  When Zoe is kidnapped by gangsters, it’s up to her beloved Dino, with help from Nico and Jeanne, to find her and defeat the gangsters.  A little known film in America, deserving of more attention.

2. The Aristocats (1970)

This swinging Disney cat musical is the final film of the classic Walt Disney era.  Loosely based on a true story, The Aristocats follows a Parisian feline family that is set to inherit a mass fortune.  When the jealous butler, intent on snatching the estate for himself, attempts to get rid of them, the family must depend on a street-smart cat to help them get back home.  A classic film for both cat and Disney enthusiasts alike.

1. The Cat in the Hat (1971)

While this list focuses on cat-driven films, the Cat in the Hat television special, written by Dr. Seuss and produced by Chuck Jones, deserves the top spot on this list.  Based upon the book of the same name, two children find adventures and fun with a magical cat.  A lovable classic everyone should see.  However, this beloved story has been overshadowed by the horrendous 2003 film adaptation of the same name (a putrid, stinky 9% on Rotten Tomatoes). Nevertheless, the television special needs to be reintroduced to a younger generation, so they know the warmth and style of the real Cat in the Hat.


Honorable Mentions

Family-friendly:

  • Cats & Dogs
  • Bell, Book, and Candle
  • Puss in Boots
  • Hocus Pocus
  • The Secret Lefe of Pets
  • The Cat from Outer Space

Horror:

  • Blood Feast
  • Uninvited
  • The Black Cat
  • Cat People (1982)
  • Pet Sematary
  • The Uncanny
  • Shadow of a Cat
  • The Leopard Man
  • House