My Top Three: Black Cats on Film and TV

I’m writing this on Black Cat Appreciation Day, but I absolutely think that we should celebrate black cats all year round. And while I don’t have a cat currently, black or otherwise, I am a cat person. Our last cat died about two years ago now, and we haven’t got another one yet. That’s the first thing I want to change when I get my own place, and I would certainly like a black cat. 

Pets are so important for our wellbeing, mentally and physically. They get us out of bed in the morning, make us smile, and even (with dogs, certainly) get us up and about into the open air.

There’s something about cats though. Their soft fur, their comforting purr. I love dogs, don’t get me wrong, but I do love cats just as much.

So, for this special day, I wanted to share my top three black cats from film and television. Let’s get into it.

Black Cat Number One: Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch

That’s Salem Saberhagan from the classic 90s show that we all know and love.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a great show all about the life of a teenage witch living as a normal teenager (but with magic of course), living with her aunts – also witches, and while attempting to show herself as normal at school, at home she is training to become a witch. Enter some great characters, Salem being one of them. His sarcastic and wily nature made comedy gold. Voiced by Nicholas Bakay, who also served as a writer for the show, Salem was one of my favourite characters. Originally a warlock, he was sentenced by the Witch’s Council to spend 100 years as a cat, as punishment for trying to take over the world.

Famous for his one-liners, he also constantly gave Sabrina bad advice, but for me he was the perfect comedic relief, adding a bit of fun (besides Sabrina’s constant magical errors in judgement) to the whole show.

Now, ok, Salem wasn’t played by a real cat (apart from the occasional times where he’s shown to run on his paws or jump down from a height). He did talk after all. But I bet his character inspired many fans to get a black cat of their own… 

Black Cat Number Two: Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service

Ok, so Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my all-time favourite Studio Ghibli films. The art, the colour, the story, the fact that my nickname as a little kid was Kiki… oh it’s the best.

The story is all about a young witch (yes, maybe there’s a theme here), going out into the world to learn and develop her craft for a year, before heading back home to become a fully-fledged witch. She is accompanied by a black cat familiar named Jiji.

Interestingly, Jiji’s character is completely different in the Japanese version in comparison to the American version. In the American version he is voiced by an actor, is sarcastic and proud – pretty much your standard cat – if they could speak. While in the Japanese version Jiji is voiced by an actress, and is kind and helpful towards Kiki. 

I suppose I fell for the American version of Jiji. He’s smart and arrogant, almost Salem-like in fact. I wonder if that was the reason for the character change?

Well, we still love you Jiji. 

Black Cat Number Three: The Cat from Coraline

Yes, yes, it’s another talking cat. But technically he can’t talk in the real world. Only in the other world.

The film is more about the character of Coraline – hence the name of it. It begins with a girl who’s just moved into a new house. She’s bored, wanting something exciting to happen, but her parents are despairing of her, too busy to ‘entertain’ her. Then Coraline finds a little door in the living room that opens up to another world at night. Enter the Other Mother, and many other characters.

The character of the cat doesn’t really have a name. He is just The Cat. He turns up at the beginning of the film in the real world, thought of as feral by the character of Wybie, but it’s when Coraline enters the Other World that he appears again and begins to speak.

The Cat is just as all cats are. Wary, wily, and witty. He begins by being quite sarcastic, yet warning Coraline of the Other Mother. Coraline at first dismisses him, until she realises the truth. Once she does, The Cat ends up being a guide and a help in defeating the Other Mother and rescuing Coraline from the Other World.

I really liked the character of The Cat, his wily nature but his determination to help Coraline held him in high esteem in my book, hence why he is one of my favourite black cats from film and TV. 

That’s it! Those are my top three black cats from film and television.

Tell me in the comments if you agree with this list, and also share your favourite black cats!

Kate @ Kandid Chronicles x


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