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25 Famous Cats From History and Today (Updated 2022)

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

persians cat

Cats can bring smiles to many people, and famous cats have the ability to reach a vast audience. There are many cats, past and present, that have melted the hearts of millions worldwide, and with the help of the Internet, there are many cats that have dedicated followers on several social media platforms.

In this article, we’ll list 25 of the most famous cats from history and today. Some of these cats have incredible stories, so let’s get started.

1. Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

This grumpy-looking female cat took the Internet by storm in 2012 with her pouty, grumpy face. Initially, the public thought that her grumpy face was photo-shopped. However, a YouTube video shut those allegations down. The video had over 1.5 million views within 36 hours. Sadly, she passed away in 2019, but her spirit and legacy live on.


2. Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty is not a real cat but rather a famous cartoon, and we felt she was worth mentioning. Hello Kitty first appeared on a coin purse in 1974 in Japan. Two years later, in 1976, Hello Kitty made an appearance in the United States. You can find pretty much any type of merchandise from Hello Kitty, and as of 2014, the franchise was worth over $6 billion.


3. Jinx the Cat

Jinx the Cat rose to fame after the release of the movie Meet the Parents. The male Himalayan cat was actually played by two cats named Bailey and Misha. The scene that made Jinx famous was the toilet scene where he used the toilet and flushed.

Two cats were used because Himalayans are hard to train, and they needed a backup for those days when one of the cats just wouldn’t cooperate.


4. Mr. Bigglesworth

Mr. Bigglesworth is the famous cat character in the Austin Powers franchise that played Dr. Evil’s sidekick. The champion purebred hairless sphynx was played by a cat whose real name was SGC Belfry Ted Nude-Gent.

Mr. Bigglesworth and Dr. Evil can transport themselves to another time in a cryogenic capsule, and the time travel causes all of Mr. Bigglesworth’s hair to fall out, rendering him permanently hairless.


5. Garfi–Angry Cat

Angry-faced Persian cat
Image Credit: Piqsels

Garfi the Angry Cat is known as the world’s angriest cat and is 17 years old. Garfi is a Persian cat that’s actually not angry at all. He is described as one of the sweetest cats, but his face tells a different story.

Nonetheless, this cat lets his owner take pictures of him in various poses, and he seems to be a good sport. Still, who wants to wake up first thing in the morning with that angry-looking cat staring into your eyes? We can only imagine it could be a little daunting, but you might feel differently if he were your own cat.


6. Choupette Lagerfeld

Choupette Lagerfeld was Karl Lagerfeld’s beloved cat. The famous fashion designer and Chanel boss loved this cat so much that he left her millions upon his death in 2019. Lagerfeld never married, and he once said that Choupette was “the love of his life.” Choupette, a Birman cat, was spoiled beyond belief, with two personal maids and lavish riches. She even owns her own iPad. Choupette now lives in Paris with her nanny.


7. Monty the Cat

Monty the Cat lives in Copenhagen and has an unusual face. He was born without a nasal bridge bone, a chromosome abnormality that causes his face to look much like someone with down syndrome. However, the abnormality doesn’t stop Monty from having a wonderful life with his humans. Despite his appearance, this lovable tabby cat sneezes a lot, but other than that, he is very healthy and happy.


8. Oscar—Predictor of Death

Oscar was known as a therapy cat that comforted end-of-life patients at a nursing home located in Providence, RI. It seemed that Oscar could predict death, and he would lie near the nearly departed patients until the end.

Oscar’s predictions were always spot on, so much so that if Oscar was lying on or near a patient, the staff was compelled to inform the family to make arrangements for a last visit. Sadly, Oscar passed away in 2020.


9. Orangey

Orangey was a professional film cat with 10 feature film roles under his belt. This red tabby cat had a role in the 1951 film Rhubarb and the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where he played alongside Audrey Hepburn. He won two PATSY awards (equivalent to an Oscar for humans), and he also has roles in television series. It’s not known for sure if he died in 1963 or 1967, but either way, he died of old age after a prolific film career—that’s pretty impressive for a kitty.


10. Salem Saberhagen

Salem Saberhagen is a fictional cat character from the 90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The character’s background is rather comical. In the sitcom, Salem is a 500-year-old witch sentenced to live 100 years as a cat, punishment for attempting to take over the world. In actuality, three different black cats took on the role of Salem.


11. Lil Bub

Lil Bub was an adorable little kitty with special needs with 2.3 million followers on Instagram. Lil Bub was the runt of the litter found in a barn in Indiana in 2011. This kitty sadly passed in 2019 but not before accomplishing some impressive feats. She was a published author, a talk show host, and created the Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, which is the first national fundraiser for pets with special needs.


12. Morris the Cat

Morris was born in 1959 in Chicago. His first television appearance was in 1969, where he starred in the 9lives cat food commercials. Morris was 7 years old when his handler, Bob Martwick, adopted him from a Humane Society in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Martwick needed an orange cat for the commercials, and Morris had the knack for sitting still behind the camera. Morris would go on to play in several films before passing away at the age of 17 in 1978.


13. Garfield

Unless you were born under a rock, you are familiar with Garfield. Garfield is a famous fictional ginger cat that was created from a comic strip. Garfield came to life in 1978 when cartoonist Jim Davies created the loveable cat with human-like qualities.

Garfield doesn’t like Mondays, and most humans can relate. The comic strip gained tremendous popularity, and with that came spinoffs for television. This loveable and relatable cat even has his own day—June 19 is National Garfield the Cat day.


14. Felix the Cat

Felix is yet another fictional cartoon cat character that was created in 1919 by cartoonist Otto Messmer. Felix was created during the silent film era, and Felix became even more popular than the stars in those films. He is actually recognized as the first true animated movie star. Felix is curious, mischievous, and inventive with big eyes and a black and white body. He is still popular today.


15. Unsinkable Sam

This black and white cat was originally named Oscar, but his name would change to Unsinkable Sam, and for good reason. His story started aboard the Bismarck, a battleship within the Nazi regime. The ship sank after a battle with an allied ship, and only 118 men survived out of the roughly 2,200 souls on board. Supposedly, Oscar was found floating on a panel at sea and was picked up by the British ship, HMS Cossack, who changed his name after realizing what had happened.

HMS Cossack sank, too, and Oscar was found clinging to a plank. He was then picked up by the HMS Ark Royal, which was involved in the sinking of the Bismarck. Low and behold, the HMS Ark Royal sunk as well, and Sam was found yet again clinging to a plank. That was the last ship he was ever on, and he ended up living out his days hunting mice. No one knows for sure if these stories are validated, but we think they are fascinating stories, nonetheless.


16. Félicette

Félicette’s claim to fame is a pretty big one—she was the first cat successfully launched into space on October 18, 1963. French scientists put 14 cats through a rigorous program to determine which cat would handle the loud noises and confinement that went with being in the capsule. Félicette was chosen due to her calm demeanor, and she remained the same weight, which was 5 pounds.

She spent 15 minutes climbing to the stars before safely returning to earth. Sadly, shortly after returning to earth, scientists euthanized her to examine her brain. This former stray’s memory faded, but that changed in 2017 when a statue was placed in her memory at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.


17. Tabby and Dixie

President Abraham Lincoln loved animals, especially cats. US presidents have the weight of the world on them, and for Honest Abe, his two cats brought comfort in times of distress and unrest.

William Seward, the Secretary of State at the time, gave the 16th US president the two cats, which he named Tabby and Dixie, as gifts upon entering the White House. The president would talk to the cats as if they were people, even going as far as feeding Tabby from the table during a formal White House dinner.


18. Scarlett the Cat

Scarlett was no ordinary cat. In fact, she saved her kittens from a fire in Brooklyn. This extraordinary cat made world news when she rescued her five kittens from a garage fire in March of 1996.

Scarlett herself suffered burns to her eyes, ears, and face, but once the firefighters grabbed Scarlett and led her to her kittens, she nudged each one to ensure all five made it out. Sadly, one kitten ended up succumbing to the fire. This heroic cat passed away in 2008, but her story lives on.


19. Creme Puff

Creme Puff was a tabby mix born in 1967. According to the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records, she’s the oldest cat ever recorded, living to 38 years of age. Her owner, Jack Perry, had a knack for keeping his cats healthy enough to live that long. He was also the owner of another cat named Grandpa Rex Allen, who lived to the age of 34. His secret for his cats’ long lives? Dry cat food mixed with eggs, broccoli, turkey bacon, coffee with cream, and an eyedropper full of red wine every 2 days. He claimed the wine was good for the cats’ arteries, although we can’t condone feeding your pets this sort of diet.


20. Tommaso the Cat

Tommaso the Cat has a different claim to fame—being rich. This black cat‘s owner left him millions when she passed away in 2011 with a whopping amount of $13 million. That will definitely buy lots of catnip!

His owner was the widow of a wealthy property businessman, and since she had no children, she left the large estate to the 4-year-old kitty. This cat was once a stray, but while he roamed the streets of Rome, we’re sure he had no idea of the riches he was to stumble into.


21. Little Nicky

Little Nicky was the first cat clone. He was produced from the DNA of a Maine Coon named Nicky, who died in 2003 at the age of 17. Little Nicky was born on October 17, 2004. His owner paid $50,000 to have the cat cloned, but she did not escape criticism from the Humane Society, who claimed that money could have been used to save many animals from euthanasia. The California-based company that cloned the cat, Genetic Savings and Clone, closed in 2006.


22. Bob the Street Cat

This cat has quite an inspirational story. James Bowen, Bob’s owner, was a struggling homeless drug addict in London. He met Bob in 2007, an abandoned and injured cat whom James took in.

Bowen began writing about his and Bob’s everyday life together, with a few books and a film spawning from the companionship. Bob, the scarf-wearing ginger cat, has been credited with saving Bowen’s life. Bob sadly passed away in 2020 at the age of 14.


23. All Ball

Get your tissues out for this one. This little kitty became famous when Koko the Gorilla befriended the kitten, which Koko named “All Ball” because the kitten reminded the gorilla of a little ball.

Tragically, the kitten was killed by a logging truck, sending Koko into a world of grief. Koko knew sign language and expressed her grief by signing that she was sad, even wailing out with cries upon hearing the news. Impressively, after her whimpers, Koko signed “sleep cat” with her folded hands beside her head.


24. Snowball

Snowball was American novelist Ernest Hemingway’s beloved cat, whom he acquired while staying at his Key West mansion. Hemmingway was fascinated with the cat because he had a condition known as polydactylism, a condition that means a cat has extra toes. A ship captain gave Hemingway the six-toed cat, and the cat populated the estate with many offspring that had the same condition.


25. Ta-Miu

Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose's cat by Madam Rafaèle
Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose’s cat (Image Credit: Larazoni via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

Ta-Miu was the personal pet of Prince Thutmose of Egypt. This cat has its own sarcophagus, which was an impressive means of honoring the dead for humans, let alone a cat. Cats were considered reminders of the power of the Gods in Ancient Egypt, and killing one would mean a death sentence. Ta-Miu is mummified inside the sarcophagus.

Conclusion

As you can see, cats have been influential since the beginning of time. Whether a cat aided in perfecting space travel or becoming companions of drug addicts or famous novelists, these cats deserve to have their stories told.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these fascinating cats and that you’ve learned something new. If anything, maybe you’ve learned about a particular cat you’d like to follow on Instagram to brighten your day!

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Featured Image Credit: lindarczyk, Pixabay

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