When you think about cats in comics, who comes to mind? Some of the most obvious are the cats who live in classic comic strips—Garfield, with his love of lasagna and hatred of Mondays, Hobbes, the beloved stuffed tiger come to life, even the multitudes of nameless cats that pop up in comic strip after comic strip online. But the funny pages aren’t the only place to find incredible felines. Comic books and graphic novels have their fair share of four-footed characters with real depth and charm. These aren’t cats that dispense weekly soundbites or tired catchphrases, but fully developed characters who lie, fight crime, swear, and discuss the stars and their place in the universe. Some silly, some complicated—these are the ten comic book cats we love best.
Lying Cat - Saga
Lying Cat is actually the name of an entire species in the space-opera that is Saga, but as The Will’s companion isn’t given any other name, she is simply called Lying Cat throughout. This beautiful feline looks like an enormous Sphinx, and has the power to detect lies. Whenever she is around and a lie is told, Lying Cat will respond with "Lying" as a reflex, even if the lie is one that a character is telling to themselves, or if they themselves believe the lie. Although she only says one word, Lying Cat can provide comic relief, threats, explanations, confusion…even comfort to an abused little girl in a scene that will have any reader bawling their eyes out.
Streaky The Super-Cat - Supergirl
Krypto The Super-Dog is relatively well-known as the caped companion of Superman, but he’s far from the only super-pet in the pages of DC comics. Supergirl also has a furry friend, Streaky The Super-Cat. Initially, Streaky was simply Supergirl’s housecat, but he gained superpowers thanks to exposure to a form of Kryptonite. As a result, Streaky was enhanced, with new abilities including flight, super-strength, super-speed, and human-level intelligence. Streaky was even a member of the Legion of Super-Pets, a short lived comic team from the '60s that dispensed their own kind of animal justice.
Master Ren - Monstress
This dark comic series explores issues of slavery, rape, war and oppression in a high-fantasy, matriarchal world where a young girl, Maika, must fight against enemies both without…and within. While the world is bleak at times, cats play a huge part in it (which is always a good thing), where they can be spies and assassins, or in the case of Master Ren, a worldly-wise feline with two tails and a desire to help Maika on her journey. Master Ren may be part of a fictional world, but he’s much like the cats of this one—scheming, mysterious, elusive, and incredibly loving.
Salem - Sabrina The Teenage Witch
Fans of the world of Archie and Jughead will be familiar with this magical feline, as will anyone who watched the TV series version of Sabrina The Teenage Witch in the ‘90s. Originally, the comic version of Salem was an orange cat with some magic powers, but it was after the sitcom aired that the comics were retconned to bring him in line with the popular version of the character from the show. Now, he’s a warlock who tried to take over the world and was turned into a cat as punishment for his crimes. This isn’t the last we’ll see of Salem either, as the recent news of a Sabrina reboot means he’ll be back in (live) action very soon.
Scratch - Scratch9
Everyone knows that cats have nine lives, but this all-ages comic explores the adventures of one particular cat who can use each of his eight alter-egos throughout time whenever he chooses. In the modern day, Scratch is an ordinary American housecat, but he’s also been a witch’s familiar, a Pharaoh’s cat, the greatest mouser of the London theater, and he will be a cyborg and a telepath from the distant future. With the help of his various lives, Scratch battles various enemies to save the day in an adorable series that plays with classic cat superstitions through the ages.
Stinky - Power Girl
Stinky is something of an anomaly in the superhero world, because he has absolutely zero superpowers. In fact, he’s an aggressively average cat, who spends his days digging through trash, drinking from the toilet, knocking things over, and generally getting in the way. Power Girl adopted the cat after he wreaked havoc at the Justice League after sneaking inside HQ, and while he continues to wreak havoc, she still loves him. He’s tangled with a couple of villains over the years as well, but has to make do with scratching, hissing and pouncing to battle evil.
Chewie - Captain Marvel
Supergirl and Power Girl are not the only big name superheroes to have pet cats. Captain Marvel has her own feline companion, Chewie. Initially, Carol believed that Chewie was just a normal cat that could keep her company on her adventures, but when she met Rocket Raccoon, he claimed that Chewie was, in fact, a Flerken. Captain Marvel refused to believe that her furry friend was secretly a tentacle-mouthed, egg-laying alien with pocket dimensions in her body…but when Chewie laid 117 eggs on board the ship, she was forced to admit it was true. Although the 117 Flerken kittens were left at a rescue, Chewie herself teleported back on board the ship, and Carol decided to keep her, Flerken or not.
Hairball - Speedball
While DC in the '60s had the Legion of Super-Pets, Marvel has the Pet Avengers, and Hairball is a major member of this creature feature. Hairball is the feline version of Speedball, with the same abilities to harness and express kinetic energy—with bursts of speed, the ability to ricochet and shoot energy bursts, and near-invulnerability that make him a formidable opponent despite weighing only ten pounds. He even has a mild-mannered alter ego, Niels the Cat.
Dex-Starr - Green Lantern
Dex-Starr started life as Dexter, an abandoned kitten at an animal shelter. For a while, he led a normal life in Brooklyn, loved by his owner and enjoying apartment life…until the night she was murdered in front of him. Booted from the crime scene, he lived on the streets, tormented and eventually tossed off a bridge by thugs. Furious at how life had treated him, his rage attracted a Red Lantern Ring, and Dexter became Dex-Starr, a vicious Red Lantern cat seeking revenge on his owner’s killer, and murdering various other creatures in his way with Red Lantern vomit (he is, after all, a cat).
Wait a minute, isn’t Grumpy Cat a meme, and an actual, non-fiction cat? Yes, but Tardar (Grumpy Cat’s real name) became such a massive hit that Dynamite comics released a series titled The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat, featuring Tardar and her brother, Pokey. This cute little odd couple comic is more about the novelty value than the actual storyline, but we still love it, because Grumpy Cat is adorable—whether in memes or in the pages of a comic book.
Who is your favorite comic cat? Comment and let us know!