Cats are simply great. They’re soft, they’re cuddly, and full of mischief. Anime has long understood this appeal, with many feline characters making their way into all manner of anime. Today, we’re going to take a look at 10 such furry scoundrels. A top 10 Cats in anime.
Do note, I had to walk a bit of a fine line here to define what counts as a cat. In the fantastical realm of anime, cats could be people transformed by magic after all. Or perhaps just a normal person with cat-like features. So my criteria here is that being a cat must be their one and only form, though it is fine if the cat in question has a human-like personality.
#10 Molly – The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Media tends to portray cats as selfish little bastards. Even when said cats are supposed to be figures of authority, like the king from The Cat Returns. For a perfect counterpoint, take Molly from The Ancient Magus’ Bride.
Molly is the king of the cats and for good reason. She has a regal aura about her, she’s responsible, and she is willful enough to make difficult decisions. At the same time, she is the beloved pet of a local village girl. Molly cares a great deal for this human. Almost more like a mother than a household pet, really.
Molly’s time to shine comes when calamity strikes her village. A murdering, supernatural pest that holds a grudge against cats. Despite having so much to lose, Molly still vows to protect her kingdom. No matter what it takes, no matter the odds, she will do all she can to protect her fellow cats. As well as the peaceful lives of the villagers who are left unaware of this intense battle.
#9 Chomosuke – Konosuba
For a change of pace, Chomosuke is more in line with what you’d expect from a cat. Goofy, adorable, and possibly arcane in nature. Chomosuke acts as the familiar of fan favorite heroine Megumin, though there is more to her than meets the eye.
There is quite some lore behind Chomosuke, but her main appeal lies in how much comedy she brings to the table. Her presence livens up any scene, as she shifts between violent malice and limitless cuteness. Konosuba has no shortage of scenes of where Chomosuke is just slouching about, looking like the sweetest thing ever. Until the wrong person walks by and is immediately mauled by this feral monster.
#8 Ura – El-Hazard
In the world of El-Hazard, cats are a precious resource. They are regal creatures with awesome mohawks, who are also intelligent and magical. Throughout Makoto’s journey in this retro isekai series, he is accompanied by one such cat called Ura.
On top of being a cat, Ura is also a living armor. He can shapeshift his body in such a way that he can wrap around a person. It’s lightweight and capable of resisting even the most powerful blows and magic. Fittingly, Ura cares a great deal for Makoto and saves his life numerous times. And, most importantly, he has the coolest mohawk of all. Hell yea!
#7 Admiral – Legend of the Galactic Heroes
The true hero of the Free Planets Alliance, Admiral is a plump little fellow belonging to Julian Mintz. Though with war raging across the galaxy, Admiral tends to be cared for by whoever is available.
Throughout all the drama of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Admiral becomes a beacon of relief. No matter how dire the odds, there is always comfort to be found. Julian, Yang, the Cazernes, they all get to go home at the end of all the battles and tiring duties, where Admiral is gleefully waiting for them. There is no drama or tragedy surrounding him, and that’s fine. Admiral’s greatest achievement is that his presence grounds the story of these phenomenal war heroes in relatable normalcy. No matter how exalted these war heroes become, at the end of the day their cat will be nagging them to fill their bowl. Or knock over some precious documents.
#6 Alpha – Dream Hunter REM
Like with Ura, Dream Hunter REM‘s Alpha is a cat with more utility than you’d expect. This little kitten is both a pet and battle companion to the titular REM; a private investigator who battles villains in the dream world.
When venturing into people’s nightmares, Alpha can transform from cuddly kitten into a ferocious beast. In this form she can tear her way through entire hordes of monsters, making her the perfect partner for her equally-badass owner.
#5 Kuro – Chi’s Sweet Home
I’ve always really liked mentor characters in fiction. The wise and seasoned veterans of the world, who take the young protagonist under their wing. This trope is not exclusive to humans as evidence by Kuro from Chi’s Sweet Home.
Kuro is an absolute unit of a cat. A black-furred giant who, like the titular Chi, is an illegal resident of the apartment complex. Though initially irked by the curious kitten, Kuro eventually grows fond of Chi and teaches her much about the world. Including how to avoid capture by the apartment’s cat-hating manager.
Besides being a fun character and a big friend to Chi, Kuro is also at the heart of the series’ most emotional moments. Though you’ll have to give it a watch (or read) yourself, because I am not spoiling those.
#4 Luna – Sailor Moon
Luna’s inclusion was so obvious that it was basically a free space for this list. She is THE iconic cat in anime. I am literally drinking from a Luna-themed coffee mug as I am writing this.
Luna is the magical girl companion character throughout Sailor Moon. She finds and recruits the sailor guardians, mentors them throughout the story, and prepares all their magical devices. She has a lot of roles at once and particularly the mentoring she does is an unenviable job. Her partner Artemis does the same work just for Sailor Venus. Luna, meanwhile, has 4 sailor guardians under her wing. Of which the titular Sailor Moon alone would’ve been more than a full-time job already.
While she sometimes comes off as a nagging mother, Luna quickly develops into a beloved character. One that stays relevant all throughout the Sailor Moon saga. Storylines about Luna are consistently some of the best in the series. Not to mention her major role in the events of the phenomenal Sailor Moon S movie.
#3 Kamineko – Azumanga Daioh
It was a tight race between the two cats of Azumanga Daioh. While Maya has a big role in the story of this classic comedy series and I absolutely love Iriomote cats… she is not nearly as iconic as Kamineko. I love this evil little bastard so much; it’d be wrong not to include him.
Kamineko is a grey-furred cat who haunts the neighborhoods surrounding the school Azumanga is set in. He is also known as “the biting cat” because that is his MO. He lies around looking all sweet and lovable, then chomps at anyone foolish enough to try and pet him. It is an iconic running gag of the series. It sounds so simple, but they constantly find new ways to keep Kamineko’s antics hilarious.
So, a bit of a personal anecdote. They don’t have any pictures of me at work, so for years now my profile image on every app we use has been Kamineko. Jira, Teams, Slack, GIT, everything. It has been the source of both confusion and bemusement for years now. I always refuse to explain the image, so many co-workers have made it their mission to find out “what Pokémon that is”.
#2 Sakamoto – Nichijou
It’s only fitting that one of the best comedy anime ever has one of the best cats ever. Sakamoto fled from his irresponsible owner and would eventually join the household of The Professor. She fashioned him a scarf that allows Sakamoto to speak like a human, which may have been a mistake.
Where other cats on this list are characterized for being cute and lovable, Sakamoto is a self-important prick. He fancies himself the head of the household and treats the girls more as servants. Behavior that many a cat owner will confirm is very true to life. Though Sakamoto can usually be reeled in whenever Nano or The Professor threaten to take his scarf away.
Another weak spot in Sakamoto is his innate playfulness. He wants to seem dignified and mature towards the girls, but is very easily tempted into silly games. He simply can’t control himself, allowing others to control him instead. This and his many other struggles make Sakamoto one of the most entertaining characters in Nichijou. I always look forward to his scenes.
#1 Haru – My Roommate is a Cat
The star of this week’s review, Haru is a lovable cat who is certain to leave an impression. Abandoned by her owners as a kitten, Haru grew up a stray until being adopted by social recluse Subaru Mikazuki. Though it’d be more appropriate to say that she adopts Subaru, as she becomes horrified by his miserable lifestyle.
Though it often looks like Haru is just doing nonsensical cat stuff, we get a different context when events are viewed from her perspective. A lot of the random mischief she causes is revealed to be attempts at helping Subaru. Their relationship is characterized by how impossible it is for either to fully understand the intentions of the other. Yet, as the story goes on, that barrier between them shrinks as they become the closest of companions. It is incredibly endearing to follow.
Not to mention, Haru is just so lovable. Goofy and cute, with a gorgeous design.