Cat Cartoons from the 80s: A Pet-rospective

If there is one thing cat lovers can agree on, it’s that they don’t taste much like chicken. If there’s a second thing they agree on, it’s that the cat cartoons from the 80s are the best feline entertainment to ever come down the kitty condo. And if you DON’T agree? Well, it’s time you check them out again. Be prepared to change your mind!

Garfield and Friends

From Garfield creator Jim Davis, Garfield and Friends ran on (mostly) Saturday mornings from 1988 to 1994. As usual, Garfield played the cat who liked lasagna more than anything else. His sidekick Odie is just as lovable.

The cat who often steals the show, though? Nermal. He’s Garfield’s nemesis and next door neighbor. A cat of many moods (mostly starry-eyed and sneaky), he is never to be trusted – but always entertaining!


ThunderCats aired on Saturday mornings from 1985-1989. The cat characters were a variety of big and small cat breeds, each with their own unique abilities to help the team in need.

The show follows Lion-O as he battles his evil uncle Mumm-Ra for control over the Valley of Thundera (and also just sometimes tries to keep up with homework!).


Heathcliff aired from 1984-1988 and centered on the life and antics of the orange cat with black stripes who generally thought he was better than you. Certainly better than the cats and dogs with whom he shared his neighborhood. Deep down, though, Heathcliff was a pretty good dude who just wanted to live the good life even though his circumstances were not always the best.

Tom and Jerry

While the series was not made in the 80s, and while there is some healthy debate about who the real star of the show was, there is no doubt that Tom was one of the most popular and recognizable cartoon cats among 80s kids. The cat and mouse who have traveled to space, deep sea exploration, and even the ninth level of Hell were just about irresistible.

Tom has a penchant for tormenting Jerry with all manner of tricks in his never-ending quest for food (you know, Jerry the mouse) but he is almost always thwarted by Jerry’s cleverness (and sometimes just plain luck). Tom usually gets what’s coming to him in the end, usually when Jerry has outsmarted Tom and traps him.

Felix the Cat

Like Tom, Felix was another cat who traced his origins to a much earlier time, but who still appealed to kids of the 80s. Felix is a cat who possesses some magical powers, and spends his time seeking adventure.

Felix the Cat was created in 1919 by Otto Messmer for Pat Sullivan’s cartoon studio. Well remembered as one of the earliest animated characters to be produced exclusively with sound effects and music (rather than voice), Felix became an icon among children everywhere during that decade.

Katnip the Cat

Yet another old timer, this guy came at kids from the platform of “Herman and Katnip,” a cat and mouse team who debuted in 1950, about ten years after Tom and Jerry.

As with their more famous predecessors, Herman and Katnip spent their lives as cat-and-mouse rivals, but that rivalry was never particularly hostile — or at least not so hostile that they couldn’t find some resolution by the end of each episode.

M.A.D. Cat

M.A.D. Cat was the feline sidekick of Dr. Claw in the Inspector Gadget series. As his name implies, this bat kitty was part of the M.A.D. machinery (literally) that perpetrated all sorts of ugliness on the world while Gadget and his niece Penny (and her dog Brain) tried to set things right.

Lucky for lovers of good, Gadget and his crew generally got the better of the bad guys — including M.A.D. Cat — even if through dumb luck on the inspector’s part.

(Like Cat Cartoons from the 80s? Then you might like our article on Cartoons of the 80s, click here.)

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End Date: Friday 10/20/2023 10:20:03 EDT
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