Top Ten Science Fiction Cats of All Time

(picture courtesy Deposit Photos)

(picture courtesy Deposit Photos)

I need your help with this one because–horror of horrors!–I have only eight cats on my list. I relying on the Internet to help fill out this list, so don’t you let me down. If you think of a deserving cat, leave a comment!

Here are the ground rules I used:

  • I’m a little loosey goosey about what qualifies as science fiction, but only a little. Alice in Wonderland is an exploration of alternate universes and thus clearly qualifies, in my opinion. So the Cheshire Cat is in. 🙂   Unfortunately, Behemoth, in The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, is out. As much as I love that evil, vodka-swilling puddy tat, that book is social satire, not sf.  😦
  •  I’ve restricted my list to books. In other words, no matter how entrancing I find Dr. Who’s notion that cats are alien creatures with grandiose names, the good doctor doesn’t make the list.  Sorry, but I simply don’t watch enough television or movies to have an intelligent opinion about celluloid felines.  (Of course, I haven’t read every science fiction story ever written, either, but since when has ignorance ever stopped me?)
  • And finally, I restricted the list to CATS. Not Little Fuzzies, as much as I love the beasties. Not leopards, as in Dickson’s Time Storm. And certainly not dogs. That’s another list entirely.

Number ten

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Number nine

???

Number eight

Pixel from The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert Heinlein. The book itself is subpar Heinlein, but any cat who rates being a title character is star enough to make this list. In one scene Pixel does, in fact, walk through a wall. How?   He succeeds simply because he’s too young to know that it’s impossible.

Number seven

Gummitch from various stories by Fritz Lieber. This is one of several selections that prove my weakness for classic science fiction but hey, I’m an old fart.  Imagine a kitten with an IQ of 160! They all think they’re that smart, of course, but Gummitch really is.

Number six

Sprockets from Mission to Universe by Gordon R. Dickson. Dickson was an asthmatic who was allergic to cats, but that didn’t stop him from writing a great cat. Sprockets is a stowaway feral kitten who becomes spaceship mascot. He doesn’t purr. The crew believe that if he learns to purr, they’ll find success in their search for an inhabitable planet. That’s the old scientific spirit for you!

Number five

Chester from The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe.  Okay, this isn’t strictly speaking science fiction; it’s a youthful fantasy.  But back when I was an elementary school teacher, I read this and other books by Howe to my class of ten and eleven year olds, and that’s enough for me to add it to the list.  Also don’t miss Howliday Inn.  Gotta love a writer who’s unabashed about puns!

Number four

The Green Cat from Green Millennium by Fritz Lieber. The book may not be Lieber’s best, but the cat sure is. The human hero keeps following after the (nameless) cat because of the contentment he feels in its presence. Anyone who’s ever petted a purring pussy can relate. Unless they’re a dog person. But what are you doing reading this if you’re a dog lover?

Number three

The Barque Cats (take your pick from a shipload of cats). They’re the stars of two books: Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

Number two

The Cheshire Cat, who else? This dude’s attitude is 100% feline. If a cat could talk and smoke hookah’s, it would be exactly as aloof and supercilious as this disappearing cat.  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

And the number one science fiction cat of all time is …

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Are you ready for it?

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Prepare to boo and hiss if I left off your favorite.

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DoorIntoSummer

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Petronius the Arbiter (AKA Pete) from The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein. Daniel Boone Davis occasionally carries this smart, loving cat  in a carrying-bag and feeds him ginger ale. Dan calls him Petronius the Arbiter because Pete is a good judge of people. If Pete doesn’t like someone, Dan doesn’t. Like any self-respecting cat, Pete is, of course always right.

And that’s what I’ve come up with. Any additions, corrections, ‘are you crazy’s’? Leave a comment.

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10 comments

  1. Oh, I’ve got one. Jake, The Cat from Outter Space. Here’s a link : http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cat_from_Outer_Space

    Now, they made a Disney movie, but the story also came out in paperback. I loved that cat when I was a kid.

    Great post, Mr. Valentine.
    Meows from deep space.

    1. This one sounds interesting. I’ll have to refresh my memory about it!

  2. Not Linnea Sinclair’s furzels? And what about felinoid humanoids? I’m not sure if they qualify, but there are the Cheetah People who appeared with the 7th Doctor, and the Sisters of Plenitude – feline nuns working in a hospital on New Earth. And the Thundercats.

    1. Though cute, furzels fall in the same category as Little Fuzzies: not quite feline enough! I’ll have to look up the Sisters of Plenitude; not familiar with them.

      Thanks for dropping by, Pippa.

  3. Assuming this extends to SFR books, how about Linnea Sinclair’s heroic cats (er, “furzels”)…from her novel Games of Command.

    1. Uh … I’m feeling stupid. I just said furzels aren’t cats … but are they? I thought they were a catlike creature, but not cats. Somebody help me out here.

      1. They’re cats…but cats with telepathic and teleportation powers. Not sure if they qualify. If not, the grumpy tomcat from Hope’s Folly should. 🙂

      2. I have a question out to Linnea herself. I’ll let her be the arbiter as to furzel’s catness. (Catness … hey, that sounds like a good name for a post-apocalyptic heroine.)

      3. LOL It’s been done. 😉

  4. When I was about 12 years old I discovered my older brother’s science-fiction collection. One of the stories I read was about a space traveler and his cat. The cat eats a mysterious smooth stone like object after which the cat seems to have telepathic powers and can communicate with his owner. I have been trying to remember the name of that book for years. It sticks in my head that it was something like the zeroth stone, but I have not found any books with a name that matches that. Being a sci-fi cat expert, do you have any idea what it might have been?

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