Dogs might be known as man's best friend, but cats are just as adorable and lovable while requiring much less maintenance. It's no wonder why cats are such a popular choice for a domestic pet.
Between their carefree attitudes, regal poses, and spurts of energy, cats strike the perfect balance between mature, affectionate, and cuddly. They may not be as expressive as dogs, but cats are still delightful.
That's why felines make for great characters in film: they can be hilarious, clever, accident-prone, and cute. Whether or not you're a cat lover, here are the best movies that'll have you appreciating cats.
15. The Rabbi's Cat (2011)
Directed by Antoine Delesvaux and Joann Sfar
Starring Mathieu Amalric, Hafsia Herzi, François Damiens
Animation, Comedy, Fantasy (1h 40m)
I'm kicking off this list with an animated tale. The Rabbi's Cat is an underrated gem from France about a rabbi's cat who swallows a parrot and gains the ability to speak, which eventually leads the cat on a path toward converting to Judaism.
Joann Sfar adapted the story from his own comic series, and he seamlessly translates the offbeat humor, distinctive art style, and slice-of-life lightness to the big screen. But the real star is the cat itself, whose carefree and wisecracking attitude makes it all hilarious.
14. The Cat From Outer Space (1978)
Directed by Norman Tokar
Starring Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan
Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi (1h 44m)
At a time when Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind was breaking new ground for movies set in space, Disney showed its own set of possibilities with The Cat From Outer Space. Not only is this one a cat-centric movie, it's also a serviceable adventure!
In this film, three scientists are helping an extraterrestrial being that resembles a cat. It's arguably one of the first family movies to use the send-an-alien-back-to-its-home-planet trope before ET!
The Cat From Outer Space checks all the boxes—including the inclusion of shadowy government spies—and Jake the cat is just so adorable.
13. Oliver & Company (1988)
Directed by George Scribner
Starring Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 14m)
Before The Little Mermaid changed the game for Walt Disney Animation, there was Oliver & Company! Following the framework of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, this film has Oliver as a homeless kitten who joins a group of dogs (led by Fagin) and adapts to their ways.
While it does simplify the story from Dickens's novel, the movie has the right balance of light-hearted moments and dark turns. Cat lovers will definitely fall in love with Oliver as well as his canine pals.
12. Harry and Tonto (1974)
Directed by Paul Mazursky
Starring Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, René Enríquez
Adventure, Comedy, Drama (1h 55m)
Comedy legend Art Carney is best known for The Honeymooners, but his role in Harry and Tonto is a close second. He plays retired teacher Harry Coombes, who takes his ginger tabby Tonto on a life-changing road trip after his apartment building is torn down.
On the one hand, Tonto represents a side of Harry that he has to embrace, but on the other hand, Tonto is essentially a trusty companion to a man pondering his life. Either way, he's the ideal cat to bring on a trip!
11. Pet Sematary (1989)
Directed by Mary Lambert
Starring Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne
Fantasy, Horror, Thriller (1h 43m)
Here we have a movie where the cat is the very opposite of a trusty companion. In Pet Sematary, a resurrected cat brings a curse to its owners, and the film exploits this idea to wring out a lot of creepiness.
Church the cat is spine-chilling; even before his second life, he seems to have a looming sinister side. Once resurrected, he's terrifying with his blank glowing eyes and creepy hisses. They say that dead is sometimes better, and Church's creepiness supports that.
10. A Cat in Paris (2010)
Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol
Starring Marcia Gay Harden, Anjelica Huston, Steve Blum
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 10m)
The Academy Award-nominated A Cat in Paris follows a cat who serves as accomplice to the burglar Nico. This cat, named Dino, also lives a double life as the pet cat of a girl named Zoé. When Dino's night activities cause Zoé to fall into the hands of a gangster, Dino must rescue her.
With its caper premise and flexible animation, A Cat in Paris almost feels like the French equivalent of the Disney classic That Darn Cat!, but it stands out with its gorgeous art style.
The stakes give rise to Hitchcockian thrills, especially when we follow Dino as he leaps to the rooftops. With an intriguing mystery and caper underneath, A Cat in Paris is a sheer animated delight for all ages.
9. Kedi (2016)
Directed by Ceyda Torun
Starring Yaman Barlas, Sari, Arzu Göl
Documentary (1h 19m)
Did you know the streets of Istanbul are filled with stray cats? It's hard to find any online video of Istanbul that doesn't have stray cats interrupting human activity and stealing the spotlight!
The documentary Kedi presents a new perspective on the Turkish city with seven different cats of different personalities.
As we follow the lives of these cats among locals, we also learn of the history of Istanbul's feline population. It adds to our appreciation of these fluffy companions, and whether you're a cat lover or not, Kedi's embrace of this whimsical world of cats is a lovely watch.
8. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
Directed by Duwayne Dunham
Starring Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Don Alder
Adventure, Comedy, Drama (1h 24m)
Disney has made several feline-centered movies with popular feline characters, but this one's really influential. Many childhoods were made complete by the two Homeward Bound movies!
In the original, we follow the cross-country adventures of Chance the bulldog pup, Shadow the golden retriever, and Sassy the Himalayan cat as they overcome obstacles and make their way back to their owners.
While the dogs have their charm, Sassy has her moments, especially with her laid-back, catty attitude.
7. Soul (2020)
Directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers
Starring Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 40m)
Soul is one of Pixar's most ambitious projects as it tackles philosophical themes about the afterlife. The story of Joe achieving his dreams and going through life is an inspiring one, even if he ends up as a vapor-life soul that suddenly enters a cat's body.
Joe as a cat may seem out of place for this list, but it's hard to resist the feline-centered gags as he guides his pessimistic soul companion who possesses his actual body. The cat-and-his-owner shenanigans also lead to Soul's deep and heartwarming moments.
6. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Directed by Kenny Ortega
Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy
Comedy, Family, Fantasy (1h 36m)
Hocus Pocus is primarily remembered for the wickedly fun Sanderson sisters, who hog the limelight and dominate with their screen presence. The film is an amusing tribute to the Halloween season and its excesses, which is best conveyed by the rest of the characters.
But there's also the black cat Binx, who guides the teenager Max to the history behind the witch trio and his eventual curse. He's friendly and unforgettable, which goes against black cat stereotypes, and so we can't help but root for Binx to the very end!
5. Keanu (2016)
Directed by Peter Atencio
Starring Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish
Action, Comedy, Crime (1h 40m)
Best known for their Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele took advantage of their momentum and went a step further by starring as dual leads in Keanu.
In this film, Rell (played by Jordan Peele) is a depressed man who finds a kitten on his doorstep and names him Keanu. When Keanu is kidnapped by a gang, Rell works together with his cousin (played by Keegan-Michael Key) to rescue him. Hijinks ensue!
This violently outrageous film was unexpected from the duo, but it's all for rescuing a kitten who's the definition of cute and cuddly.
4. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)
Directed by Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado
Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Olivia Colman
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 42m)
The beloved Puss in Boots first appeared in Shrek 2 and stole every scene with his charming presence and the vocal finesse of Antonio Banderas. It's no wonder that he got two spin-off movies, but it is surprising that the sequel got such a glowing reception.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish takes Puss to uncharted territories, both in terms of his personal journey as well as his personality, which even involves a confrontation with Death personified.
With Kitty Softpaws and Perrito by his side, Puss is able to find strength beyond his cavalier persona—and the result is that Puss in Boots: The Last Wish ends up being one of my favorite movies about cats.
3. That Darn Cat! (1965)
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Starring Hayley Mills, Dean Jones, Dorothy Provine
Comedy, Crime, Family (1h 56m)
What's the best Disney live-action movie about a cat? The answer is That Darn Cat!, which mixes up the best elements of a caper movie and spits out a film that's great for both adults and younger audiences.
For the uninitiated, That Darn Cat! involves a kidnapping that's thwarted by a mischievous, quick-witted Siamese cat named D.C.
There's no denying the talents of Syn Cat as D.C. Given the era of this movie, it's amazing how this Siamese cat is able to find help from FBI Agent Kelso, stop the two bank robbers, and rescue a bank teller. Hilarious and clever, That Darn Cat! is such a solid watch.
2. The Aristocats (1970)
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Starring Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 18m)
If Disney has one best movie about cats, it has to be The Aristocats. This iconic film is to cats as 101 Dalmatians is to dogs.
Sure, The Aristocats might be far from the first, the best, or the most memorable Disney animated films that come to mind, but it's tailor-made for cat owners and lovers of all ages.
Duchess and her kittens Toulouse, Marie, and Berlioz are lovable just by their designs alone. You can almost imagine taking them home. But J. Thomas O'Malley is the real star, who goes from alley cat to father figure to the kittens. It's true fun from start to finish.
1. A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Starring Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt
Biography, Drama, Family (1h 43m)
Capping off this list is a movie based on a true story!
A Street Cat Named Bob centers on recovering drug addict James Bowen, whose life changes when he takes home a stray cat he names Bob. From there comes an unbreakable friendship that leads both of them to places they least expected.
The real story of James and Bob is a heart-wrenching one, but the film brilliantly portrays their growing bond that turns James around. And as a warm presence and a friend who you can share your stirring life with, Bob the Cat is the ideal feline best friend.