A History of Pop Culture's Obsession with Human/Cat Hybrids

#2. Ron Perlman in Beauty and the Beast

Most of Ron Perlman's live-action career has consisted of gamely putting on 10 pounds of makeup or so and being the best demon, neanderthal, mutant or man-lion he can be. One of his most famous roles was Vincent in the TV series Beauty and the Beast, where he played, as you can see, a man-lion guy who lived in the sewers of New York.

"But ladies swooned over that show," you might say. "They had a pretty young lady fall in love with Mr. Catface there." Yes, but the whole basis of the show was the unquestioned assumption that if you have a catface you have to live underground, because it freaks people the fuck out. The whole premise of the show (and the Beauty and the Beast fable it's based on) was how awesome and special the girl is to look past his hideous catface and see who he really is on the inside. If people thought catfaces were awesome, that wouldn't be much of a storyline.

#1. Furry Fanart

All right, that's not so bad, you might think, looking at the pic above. But I really can't link you to any proper examples. Let's just say that on the first page of a Google image search; there are a lot of catwomen with their private parts prominently displayed as the focal point of the artwork.

Clearly some people want to be cats really really bad. How bad? Well, if you haven't heard of Warriors yet, it's a big series of 24 books about cats, if cats lived in clans and had an honor code and tried to accomplish things. Whatever, they're children's books about an imaginary animal society. Might as well criticize Watership Down, right? Well, that's not the weird part.

The weird part is the massive amount of role-playing forums apparently populated by adults trying to role-play the characters from Warriors. One excerpt from a player profile:

"During the birth of New-leaf, in its coldest days, the daughter of ThunderClan's leader gave birth under the watchful eye of the Medicine Cat. Gingertail bore a Tom and a She-cat without naming the sire. This choice was made because the cat she loved was not a part of the clan. He was not even a loner or Rouge, but a Kittypet with a blue-blooded pedigree known by the name Socrates."

OK.

Anyway, now that we've learned that cat-humans always land somewhere between laughable and outright nightmare fuel, are there any circumstances where you can get away with it? Yes, a couple:

A) You Can Put Cat Ears On a Hot Woman

If it's clearly basically just a hat, and you don't mess around with what makes a person a person, you won't enter Dr. Moreau's world.

B) Don't Call Them Cats

Let's go back to Avatar for a moment. When the first screenshots of Avatar were released, the Internet ripped into them. Half of the comments were Smurf jokes and the other half were about how they looked like cat people.

Because they do. But when the movie came out, people loved it. It broke every box office record, and people stopped going on about cat faces and Smurfs. Why?

Because while the Na'vi were clearly cat-based, no one said as much in the movie. It wasn't like the story of Pandora was that once upon a time a zoo ship crash-landed and the crew was forced to repopulate the empty planet with the help of the pumas in the cargo hold.

Now compare that to the Thundercats. Every character is named after a type of cat (Lion-o, Panthro, Tygra, Cheetara). The characters in Avatar just pretended like they didn't even know cats existed, and with all the other stuff going on, it was easy for the audience to forget too, beyond noticing that the characters were graceful, quick, athletic and beautiful. You got the aesthetic of a cat-like creature without calling the movie Avatar: Planet of the Noble Cat Warriors.

Hell, maybe James Cameron just accidentally made them look like cats, like George Lucas keeps accidentally making aliens talk like stereotypes of various Earth ethnic groups. Maybe he was just trying to make an improved version of humans, and accidentally wound up in the same place.

Either way, why don't we just declare Avatar to be the pinnacle of human/cat hybridization and let it stop there? After all, look at this guy:

That is an adorable, stupid kitten without a brain in its head, and it's perfect the way it is. Let's end this weird-ass compulsion to merge them with us, before genetic scientists start getting weird ideas. You don't want your grandchildren to walk down the streets 100 years from now and see this:

For more modern ideas that were here before us, check out 4 Reasons 3-D Movies Don't Have to Suck and 5 Multiplayer Video Games That Will Destroy Your Marriage.

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