The Zoot Cat (also referred to as simply Zoot Cat) is a 1944 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 13th Tom and Jerry short.
- Man (listened to radio, not animated)
The cartoon opens with a Valentine note that reads: Dear Toots~ Roses are red Violets are Blue Mice are Nice But, OH You Kid Sheikie There is a pink ribbon tied to the card and the ribbon is tied to Jerry who is in a gift box. Meanwhile, Tom is getting ready for a date with his whiskers in curlers and putting lard on the top of his head. He puts a little cologne on and even puts some on Jerry and then closes the box on him. He then proudly marches over to his female friend's house.
Tom knocks on the door, rings the doorbell, and yells out, "Yoo hoo! Hey, Toots!" Tom then drops the box and hides behind a pillar on the porch. The female cat opens the door and is pleasantly surprised at the bоx which she opens. Jerry says to her, "Uh, what's cooking, Toots?" Tom then whistles to get her attention and he comes out of his hiding place. He produces a ukelele and plays a small song. Tom twists a yo-yo string into the words, "Hi Babe", does a little dance and brings out a bouquet of flowers. On the last step of the dance, a loose floorboard hits Tom's face which sends the cat plummeting to the walkway.
The female cat responds by saying (while Jerry nods to all of her words in agreement), "Boy, are you corny! You act like a square at the fair, a goon from Saskatoon. You come on like a broken arm. You're a sad apple, a long hair, a cornhusker. In other words, you don't send me. So bail out, brother. Get lost. And here's your rat, cat." She then throws the box back at Tom. Jerry then grabs an ear of corn, puts in it the gift box to think that Tom is such corny, means cornish, and runs away, starting a chase scene. The chase ends as Jerry runs through an opening in a gate and Tom crashes into it. Tom then hears a voice saying, "Boy, are you corny. How many times have you been told that?" Tom then looks in the window and sees the female cat listening to the radio and painting her claws. The radio continues with, "How many girls have said, No, Horace, I can only be a sister to you? Get your boots laced, buddy. Get hep to the jive. Step in and see Smiling Sam, the zoot suit man. Step out with a zoot suit, with a drape shape and a reet pleat. Wear an ankle length jacket with 3 foot shoulders, pants that begin at the chin, zoom to a 54 inch knee, then fade softly to a 3 inch victory cuff. Get hip. Get one. Get lost in a new zoot suit." This gives Tom a great idea: to make his own zoot suit and mystify his intended. So he steals a pair of scissors and a lampshade and fashions his own zoot suit from an orange and green hammock.
He knocks on the door again and the girl cat is shocked to see Tom in the impressive outfit. She exclaims, "Jackson!". Tom responds with, "What's jumpin', chick?" Jerry reappears and his eyes turn into Tom's suit.
Tom then lights a cigar which causes the girl cat to exclaim, "You're really a sharp character! A mellow little fellow. Now you collar my jive. You're on the right side, you alligator, you. Slip me some skin, my friend." As she is complimenting him, Tom is showing off his suit. A coat hanger is stuck in the back of his jacket to hold the shoulders to full-width, and the chain around his neck is a bathtub plug. She invites Tom into the house. Tom replies, "Well, all reet, well, all root, well, all right." She then asks, "Let's dig a little righteous jive. Do you hear me? Latch on, Jackson. We're off." They start to jive dance around the house, and Jerry asks for a turn with the girl cat, which Tom gives him. The Zoot Cat successfully woos his girl, Toots.
Tom then sees Jerry slipping away and grabs for the mouse. Jerry runs over to an ashtray and takes out a cigarette. Jerry then takes a puff of it, blows smoke in Tom's face and puts the cigarette out with Tom's nose. This causes Tom to scream. The female cat is still dancing and Tom returns to her. Jerry then peels a banana and throws the peel on the floor causing Tom to slip. Tom lands on the piano keys and somehow manages to set himself right on the bench to start playing a piano piece for her. He then becomes a suave romantic saying, I love you. When I'm with you, I'm what you call a hep cat. I am hep to the jive. I'm in the groove, darling. The girl cat replies, Now you're really sending me, Jackson.
Tom then winks to the camera in an evil way and says to her, Now you set my soul on fire. in a Charles Boyer-esque voice. Then, Jerry placing matches in Tom's feet. Tom continues by saying, It is not just a little spark. It is a flame; a big roaring flame. Jerry lights the matches. Tom says, I can feel it now—it is burning, burning, BURNING. All he says while wooing his girl came true. He pauses, sniffs the air and says in a Groucho Marx voice: Say, something is burning around here. He realizes that Jerry just gave him a hotfoot and screams.
Jerry runs away and opens a floor vent. Tom runs around the corner and falls into the basement. Jerry then starts to dance with the girl cat and Tom has returned with a fireplace shovel. He tries to hit Jerry but misses. Jerry pulls Tom's hat over his head, trapping the cat, and whacks him on the brow. Jerry then runs and hides behind a table leg and trips Tom as he passes by. Jerry then runs under the couch, and Tom dives after him, popping out between the couch and window. Jerry clips the windowshade to the hanger in Tom's jacket, and then steps on Tom's nose and kicks the cat in the eyes. Tom angrily pursues the mouse, but is stopped by the hook. Tom grabs the coffee table, but Jerry hits his hands with the shovel, and the shade pulls Tom back and he ends up in the fishbowl. Tom is pulled up and down by the shade, then left hanging on the shade, and his wet zoot suit slowly shrinks and falls off. Now the zoot suit lands near on Jerry such that it makes a perfect fit for him. Jerry then walks away into a drape with his brand new zoot suit.
- Sara Berner as Jerry Mouse and Toots (The Zoot Cat)
- William Hanna and Jerry Mann as Tom Cat
- Jerry Mann as the man on the radio or radio announcer
- Beginning from this cartoon, both Tom and Jerry are redesigned to become more bipedal to adapt to the series' more energetic and fast-paced tone, as Tom now has two whiskers instead of three, which are now twirled together like a moustache and his cheeks, while still rounded, are grey instead of white. Meanwhile, Jerry received minor changes in his design, resembling much closer to his final design from the late-1940s.
- This is one of the many times Tom has ever spoken for nearly half a full cartoon, another being Solid Serenade.
- Tom's dialogue when playing the piano was reused in Solid Serenade.