Thomas "Tom" Cat is a fictional character and one of the two protagonists in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's series of Tom and Jerry theatrical cartoon short films. Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Tom is a blue/grey anthropomorphic domestic short-haired cat who first appeared in the 1940 animated short Puss Gets the Boot. Tom was originally known as "Jasper" during his debut in that short, however, beginning from his next appearance in The Midnight Snack and onwards, he is known as "Tom" or "Thomas".
Tom and Jerry cartoons
His full name "Tom Cat" is based on "tomcat", a phrase which refers to male cats. He is very rarely heard speaking with the exception of a few cartoons (such as Tom & Jerry Tales' League of Cats) and "Tom and Jerry: The Movie". His only notable vocal sounds outside of this are his various screams whenever he is subject to pain or panic. He is continuously after Jerry Mouse, for whom he sets traps, many of which backfire and cause damage to him rather than Jerry. Tom rarely sets out to eat Jerry, only to hurt or compete with him, going to great lengths in order to torment Jerry. However, Tom is shown to get along with Jerry at times.
Tom has changed remarkably over the years, especially after the first episodes. For example, in his debut, he was quadrupedal and had normal cat intelligence. However, over the years (since the episode Dog Trouble), he has become almost completely bipedal and has human intelligence. As a slapstick cartoon character, Tom has a superhuman level of elasticity. When acting as Jerry's antagonist, Tom is usually defeated (or very rarely, killed) in the end, although there are some stories where he outwits and defeats Jerry.
Anchors Aweigh & Dangerous When Wet
Tom and Jerry appeared together in the 1945 Technicolor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical Anchors Aweigh where Tom briefly appears as a butler for Jerry, the latter who has a dance sequence with Gene Kelly, and also in another musical with the same studio Dangerous When Wet (1953), where, in a dream sequence, main character Katie Higgins (Esther Williams) does an underwater ballet with Tom and Jerry, as well as animated depictions of the different people in her life.
- Clarence Nash: Vocal effects in the Hanna-Barbera era (1940–1941) (Archival recording from Disney Cartoons)
- William Hanna: Vocal effects in the Hanna-Barbera era (1942–1958) shorts: The Lonesome Mouse, The Million Dollar Cat
- Billy Bletcher: 1944–1945 shorts: The Bodyguard, Zoot Cat, Quiet Please!
- Stepin Fetchit: 1948 short: Mouse Cleaning
- Daws Butler: 1956 short: Mucho Mouse (and a few others as well)
- Allen Swift: Vocal effects in the Gene Deitch era (1961–1962) shorts
- Mel Blanc: Vocal effects in the Chuck Jones era (1963–1967) shorts
- Stan Freberg: 1964 short: The Cat Above and the Mouse Below
- June Foray: 1965 short: Duel Personality
- John Stephenson: The Tom and Jerry Show
- Frank Welker: The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show, Tom & Jerry Kids
- Richard Kind: Tom and Jerry: The Movie
- Jeff Bennett: Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring
- Bill Kopp: Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars, Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry, Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers
- Spike Brandt: 2005 short: The Karate Guard
- Don Brown: Tom and Jerry Tales
Apart from chasing Jerry, Tom has multiple love interests with female cats. Their names start with "T", except in Tom and Jerry Kids. They are:
- Toots, a fluffy beige cat who appears in Puss n' Toots and The Mouse Comes to Dinner, the latter being her only speaking role. This version of Toots also appeared in some 1940s Tom and Jerry comics.
- Toots, a different cat by the same name who appears in The Zoot Cat. She has occasionally and erroneously been referred to as "Sheikie," but this is actually Tom's nickname, as seen on a gift card in the cartoon.
- An unnamed, non-speaking cat who appears very briefly in The Bodyguard. She was made as a mere object of slap-stick humor, as when Tom gave her a wolf-whistle, he ironically gave himself away to Spike, who was supposed to protect Jerry every time he whistles.
- Tara, a non-speaking cat who appears in Texas Tom.
- Toodles Galore, a non-speaking recurring cat who sometimes adores Tom and sometimes treats him badly (particularly in Love Me, Love My Mouse). She appears in multiple shorts.
- An unnamed white cat appearing in Blue Cat Blues. Similar to the cat seen in Muscle Beach Tom, except with a personality like Toodles.
- Sugar-Belle, a beige kitten in the pre-Civil War era who once was enticed to Little Tom, but went to Beauregard, a fat dark brown kitten.
- Cindy-Lou, a light brown kitten around Little Tom's age who wanted a mouse as a pet for a birthday gift, namely Jerry.
- Lieutenant Lucy, a toupe kitten in a military outfit, as a Lieutenant at a U.S. Army training base, who did not turn a blind eye to Little Tom pestering Jerry.
- White Tabby, A bi-pedal white kitten (a bit of a homage to Toodles)
, who wanted a mouse to cuddle with. After Little Tom gave her Jerry, she took the mouse to her boyfriend's limo.
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