The Bowling Alley-Cat is a 1942 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 7th Tom and Jerry short.
The camera pans through a bowling alley and stops at a bowling ball labeled "No. 8", which a smiling Jerry pops out of and then rappels down to the floor. The mouse slides into an alley and begins to use it as an ice skating rink after discovering its slippery properties. At this point, Tom peeks out from behind two bowling balls and decides to use stealth to catch the mouse. At this point, Jerry runs out of the alley and falls back on the regular floor. Jerry gets a good running start to run back into the lane and trips over Tom's tail as Tom sits there, doing nothing and waiting for the mouse to discover him. Oblivious, he moves Tom's tail out of the way and starts to run until he almost runs into Tom's mouth. Knowing who is on top of him, Jerry returns the cat's tail to its original position, grooms it, and then speeds under the unsuspecting feline.
Tom chases Jerry into the bowling lane, but he slips when he hits the alley. Jerry seizes the chance to play with the cat, uses a T-stop, and returns to the struggling Tom, who manages to make it to his feet. Jerry slides nonchalantly next to him and blows on Tom's hind legs, causing Tom to fall again. Jerry then grabs Tom's tail and whips him across the building into an ashtray. The cat comes to his senses and gags and spits out all the ash in the manner of a volcano. Jerry waves at Tom from where the pins are set up as Tom grabs a bowling ball and tries to throw it at the pins. However, Tom cannot throw and he lets go of it in the air, and the ball lands directly on his back. Jerry laughs as Tom then throws the ball like a hammer in the Olympics. This succeeds, and Jerry braces himself against the 1-pin as the impact comes. It only jiggles the pin and mouse as the ball returns the same way it came. Tom throws the ball again and starts bowling the pins down as Jerry hangs on to the 1-pin and jumps it out of the way. By the fourth ball, there is only Jerry's pin and the 7 and 10 still remaining and it breaks through the bottom of the pin, leaving the mouse subject to gravity once he realizes the situation. Jerry then hides behind one pin as Tom converts the resulting snakebite split with the fifth ball. Tom then prepares himself like a bowler for ball 6 by using a towel and powder. He successfully throws the ball at Jerry, who picks up the pin next to him and swings it like a baseball bat. He hits the bowling ball and the pin splits in half. The ball then comes back toward Tom, who backs up like an outfielder all the way to the bar section of the alley, all for the ball to hit him, and the cat falls through the floor. Tom recovers and pokes his head out of the hole to see the ball staring down at him.
The pins have been reloaded as Jerry waves at the still-stunned cat. Tom throws his ball at Jerry, but his thumb gets stuck in it and he ends up going down the lane with the ball, making a strike as Jerry hangs on to the pin setter. Then the pin setter covers Tom and shapes him into a bowling pin. Jerry escapes, but Tom then pushes a line of bowling balls toward Jerry in the fashion of train cars. Jerry outruns the balls by hiding underneath the ball-eject lane, and the balls recede into it. Jerry sets out back the other way, but the balls come out again and start heading back to where they came. Tom sees this and opens his mouth ready to eat the mouse when the "train" runs into him. However, Jerry manages to hide in the lead ball, and Tom is choked by that ball and run over by the rest of the "train". Jerry then pops out of his hiding place as Tom is thrown after him by the "train" unseating him. The balls carry Tom up to the ball rack and the last one manages to squeeze him through the arch. Tom runs directly into Jerry's ball eventually, and the ball that knocked him through also comes toward him, smacking the cat between the two bowling balls and knocking him silly.
Jerry pokes out of his ball, and Tom revives and sees him return into it. The cat sticks his finger into the holes of the bowling balls to dig out the mouse, but Jerry ends up biting him. Jerry flies back into the ball and Tom then blows into the holes of the bowling balls. This causes Jerry to pop out, but only as long as Tom blows. He continues to blow Jerry out until Tom has enough time to catch Jerry in the air before falling back into the ball. However, the ball drops on Tom's left foot, causing the cat to clutch it in pain and release the mouse. Tom chases after Jerry, but Jerry stops him and then stomps on the same foot again. Jerry jumps into another bowling ball, and Tom covers it with a cloth, thinking that he has caught Jerry. However, Jerry pops out of another ball behind Tom, grabs Tom's tail, and threads it through the holes of the ball and ties it in a knot. The mouse then stands in front of Tom, who is tying the cloth around the ball he thinks Jerry is in. Tom is having trouble tying the cloth, so Jerry helps him by placing his hand on it. The surprised cat unties the knot, and seeing no mouse, realises his stupidity and chases the fleeing Jerry. However, it becomes a lot harder because of the ball tied to his tail. It smacks Tom in the rear twice as the mouse hides behind a corner. Tom catches Jerry, but the backwards momentum of the ball causes the cat to let go.
Jerry runs under a bench and Tom can't follow him due to the width and height of the ball. When Tom can no longer move, he turns around and sees the situation before the ball breaks free from the bench and slams into him, sending Tom down the lane, through the pins, through a wall, and into a trash can. Jerry now stands over his scorecard and writes that his last frame was a strike, allowing him to have bowled a perfect game.
- This was the final cartoon to have the black Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer background with Tanner on it, which had been used since the start of Happy Harmonies in 1935 (Tanner started appearing when 3-hue color became available. Previous black backgrounds had Coffee for 2-hue color cartoons.).
- This was the final cartoon to start with the 1940-42 opening theme.
- This was the last of the only 3 Tom & Jerry cartoons to use the 1942 red title cards. The other 2 being Dog Trouble, Cue Ball Cat and Puss n' Toots.