Cat Coat Color and Pattern Artistic License

In cartoons, comics, animated movies and TV shows, and other fictional media (even more realistically drawn cats like in Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter), there are cats with coat colors and patterns that would be impossible in real life. This doesn’t need to be an outright green, blue, purple, or magenta cat, which are clearly impossible in real life. It could just be a solid orange cat or an all-white cat with a black nose.

General Examples of Cat Coat Color and Pattern Artistic License Include:

  1. True solid orange and cream cats (Red/orange/ginger and cream cats can be genetically non-agouti or solid, but even they still show the tabby pattern at least a little. Orange and cream cats that don’t show the tabby pattern much are said to have “low-contrast” patterns.)
  2.  Black noses on all-white cats and any cat without solid black or seal point Siamese fur (i.e., an orange, cream, cinnamon, fawn, chocolate, lilac, or grey cat with a black nose.), with or without white spotting.
  3.  Tabby cats with stripes on the back and not on the legs. (Tabby stripes on a mackerel tabby cat are usually more distinct on the legs, and there are tabby cats with stripes on the legs and not on the back.)
  4.  The variation of the white spotting pattern the fictional cat has doesn’t show up in real life. Examples include:
  • The black, grey, tabby, orange, cream, e.t.c. cat that has the whole belly and/or chest be white but the feet are left colored (A cat can have a white locket or button marking on the throat, chest, and/or belly without having white paws though.)
  • The cat is white but the paws, face, muzzle, and/or belly left colored (The white part of the white spotting pattern starts on the chest, belly, and paws. The last areas of the body left colored are the tail, top of head, and ears.)

Specific Examples of White Spotting Pattern Artistic License:

  • Penelope Pussycat from Looney Tunes is a black cat with a white chest, belly, and muzzle but not feet. Real life cats with white chests, bellies, and muzzles also have white feet.
Specific Examples of Nose Color Artistic License:
  • Heathcliff and his girlfriend, Sonya in Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats have a black nose even though they are an orange cat and white cat respectively. Orange cats and white cats have pink noses in real life.
  • The titular character of Top Cat and the five other members his gang all have black noses even though none of them are black cats.
  • Tom of Tom and Jerry is a grey or blue and white cat with a black nose. Realistically, he would have a pink because he has a white muzzle or as grey fur is a dilute of black fur, his nose should be the dilute of a black nose, which is grey.
Other Specific Examples:
  • Sawyer from Cats Don’t Dance is an all white cat with a cream-colored face. Real life cats that appear all white with cream faces are cream point Siamese and also have cream colored paws, ears, and tail. Also, since they are Siamese point cats, they would have blue eyes in real life, instead of Sawyer’s orange eyes.

Female Animal Characters Without Stereotypical Feminizing Gender Signifiers

So many female animal, monster, and alien characters have stereotypical feminizing gender signifiers distinguishing them from the male ones, but there are a few who don’t. Many of the few who don’t tend to be mistaken for male, but not all of them are.

Female Animal Characters Without Feminizing Gender Signifiers

  1. Terk the gorilla and Sabor the leopard from Disney’s Tarzan
  2. Joanna the goanna monitor lizard and Marahute the giant wedge-tailed eagle from The Rescuers Down Under
  3. Blue, Magenta, and Green Puppy from Blue’s Clues
  4. Chirp the robin from Peep and The Big Wide World
  5. Martha, the titular dog from the Martha Speaks books and TV series
  6. Chi, the titular kitten from Chi’s Sweet Home 
  7. Matilda the White Bird from Angry Birds
  8. Tina the Tyrannosaurus rex in The Amazing World of Gumball
  9. Kitty, the titular cat from the Bad Kitty book series
  10. Linny guinea pig from Wonder Pets
  11. Tigress from Kung Fu Panda
  12. Mama Buzzard from the Looney Tunes cartoon “Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid.”
  13. Giant Realistic Flying Tiger from Uncle Grandpa
  14. Freddi Fish, the titular yellow fish from the Freddi Fish game series.
  15. Butter, the baby otter from PB&J Otter
  16. Precious the pug from The Nut Job
  17. Olive the titular Jack Russel Terrier from Olive the Other Reindeer
  18. Snowball I, Snowball II, and Snowball V the cats from The Simpsons
  19. Kevin the bird from Disney/Pixar’s Up.

In the original series of three 10 minute films of Peep and The Big Wide World, Peep the yellow chick was female and Chirp the baby red robin was male, but in the main series, Peep is male and Chirp is female.

The main cast of the Cartoon Network show, Uncle Grandpastill follows the Smurfette Principle because the only female character in the main cast of five is the static photographic cutout of a tiger, Giant Realistic Flying Tiger. Unlike most examples of the Smurfette Principle, she is no more marked with stereotypical feminizing gender markers as not male than the four male characters (Uncle Grandpa, Belly Bag, Pizza Steve, and Mr. Gus) are marked as not female.

In Angry Birds, there is Female White Bird, who is basically White Bird, but with with feminizing gender markers (a bow on her head, eyelashes, rose cheeks, and lipstick on her beak). But since the original White Bird, Matilda, is female, Female White Bird would be a “Ms Female Character” instead. In the cartoon series,  Angry Birds Toons, Matilda the White Bird has been feminized and given pink accents on her head and tail feathers, rose cheeks, eyelashes, and much thinner eyebrows to make it clear that she is female, but she keeps her original, masculine look in the games. 

There is even a female alien character without any feminizing gender signifiers. Her name is Kodos, who is from The Simpsons. She not only doesn’t have any feminizing gender signifiers distinguishing her from her brother Kang, she even looks the same as him. Kodos is not a “Ms Male Character” the way so many other female alien, animal, and monster characters are.

Sadly, female animal, alien, and monster characters not distinguished from male characters by stereotypical feminizing gender markers are the exception rather than the rule.

“Animal” Roles and “Human” Roles

There are five basic types of anthropomorphic animals based on the role they play in their world.

Type 1) These anthropomorphic animals stay on all fours or otherwise keep the stance of their species. They also stay within the trappings of their species behavior-wise and play mostly or mainly “animal” roles. Some of them are speech capable, some are not.

Type 2) Like Type 1, these anthropomorphic animals stay on all fours or otherwise keep the stance of their species. However, they talk, act more like humans than Type 1, and can play a mix of “animal” and “human” roles or mostly “human” roles.

Type 3) These anthropomorphic animals talk, walk on two legs, and act like humans at least to some extent, but like Type 1, still play “animal” roles.

Type 4) These anthropomorphic animals talk, walk on two legs, and act like humans. These animals play a mix of “animal” and “human” roles.

Type 5) These anthropomorphic animals not only talk, walk on two legs, and act like humans they play mostly or mainly “human” roles as well.

“Animal” Roles: Roles animal characters play that are like the roles their species usually have in real life. (i.e., chickens living in a chicken coop, ducks living in and near a pond, rabbits living in a burrow)

“Human” Roles: Roles animal characters play that are like the roles humans usually have in real life. (i.e., having a “human” job or career, owning a house)

Guide to the Levels of Animal Anthropomorphism

This animal anthropomorphism guide outlines thirteen levels of physical anthropomorphism in animal characters.

Level #0: Complete natural body type of their species; move completely like their real counterpart; is quadrupedal if a naturally quadrupedal species; have completely natural stance depending on the species; paws and hooves don’t have the ability to gesture or grasp things the way human hands can; birds have completely naturalistic wings that gesture like normal bird wings; has facial expressions completely like respective species

Level #1: Complete natural body type of their species; move completely like their real counterpart; is quadrupedal if a naturally quadrupedal species; have completely natural stance depending on the species; paws and hooves don’t have the ability to gesture or grasp things the way human hands can; birds have completely naturalistic wings that gesture like normal bird wings; like Level 0 but has the full range of facial expressions that humans have

Level #2: Complete or near complete natural body type of their species; move completely or mostly like their real counterpart; is quadrupedal if a naturally quadrupedal species; rarely walks on two legs in most cases and not able to walk that way as well as they can on all fours; can sit up on their haunches (depending on the species in question), stand with their knuckles on the ground (if a nonhuman ape or a generic cartoon monkey), or stand with a typical natural stance; paws and hooves can have either a full or limited ability to gesture and even grasp things the way human hands can; birds have naturalistic wings that can gesture and even grasp things like human arms and hands

Level #3: Body largely, mostly, or completely keeps the naturalistic or basic shape of their respective species, despite being partly bipedal; naturally four-legged animals can walk on two legs as well as they can walk on all fours, but like Level 2, they can’t run on two legs as well as they can run on all fours; can sit up on their haunches (depending on the species in question), stand with their knuckles on the ground (if a nonhuman ape or a generic cartoon monkey), or stand with a typical two-legged stance, whether with bent or straight legs; paws and hooves gesture and grasp things like human hands; birds have naturalistic or partially arm-like wings that grasp things and gesture like human arms and hands

Level #4: Body largely, mostly, or completely keeps the naturalistic or basic shape of their respective species, despite being bipedal; naturally four-legged animals can walk and run on two legs as well as they can on all fours; can sit up on their haunches (depending on the species in question), stand with their knuckles on the ground (if a nonhuman ape or a generic cartoon monkey), or stand with a typical two-legged stance, whether with bent or straight legs; paws and hooves gesture and grasp things like human hands; birds have either naturalistic or partially, mostly, or nearly arm-like wings that grasp things and gesture like human arms and hands; seldom has human-like breasts

Level #5: Body has a basic or simplified bipedal shape; body can keep some or a little of the respective species’ shape; can sometimes have humanlike shoulders; naturally four-legged animals can walk and run on two legs as well as they can on all fours; can sit up on their haunches (depending on the species in question), stand with their knuckles on the ground (if a nonhuman ape or a generic cartoon monkey), or stand with a typical two-legged stance, whether with bent or straight legs; paws and hooves gesture and grasp things like human hands; birds have either naturalistic or partially, mostly, or nearly arm-like wings that grasp things and gesture like human arms and hands; seldom has human-like breasts

Level #6: More anthropomorphic variant of Level 5; Body has partially, largely, mostly, or even nearly human-proportioned, but not humanoid arms and legs on a body that otherwise keeps either the basic shape of their respective species or a basic Level 5 body type; can sometimes have humanlike shoulders; quadrupedal animals can walk and run on two legs just as well as they can on all fours; stand with their knuckles on the ground (if a nonhuman ape or a generic cartoon monkey), or stand with a typical two-legged stance, whether with bent or straight legs; can either have human-like breasts even if not a mammal or not have them; birds have either naturalistic or partially, mostly, or nearly arm-like wings that grasp things and gesture like human arms and hands; occasionally has human-like breasts; compromise between Levels 5 and 7

Level #7: Body partly like their respective species and partly humanoid; either humanoid legs and non-humanoid torso, a humanoid torso and non-humaniod legs; or semi-humanoid all over; male ones with a humanoid torso and partially humanoid or non-humaniod legs sometimes have top heavy torsos; often have humanlike shoulders; quadrupedal animals can walk and run on two legs just as well as they can on all fours; stand with their knuckles on the ground (if nonhuman ape or a generic cartoon monkey), or stand with a typical two-legged stance, whether with bent or straight legs; birds have either naturalistic or partially, mostly, or nearly arm-like wings that grasp things and gesture like human arms and hands; can either have human-like breasts even if not a mammal or not have them; compromise between Levels 6 and 8

Level #8: Looks like the animal’s head and tail (where applicable) on a body that looks like a fur, feather, scale, or otherwise animal accented human body; body shape can reflect the animal’s species a little, but has to be human-shaped; head that is either completely, largely, or half the shape of that of the respective species; have the muzzle, beak, or bill of their respective species; feet are either plantigrade or digitigrade (or unguligrade if a hoofed animal); feet are normally shaped completely mostly, or largely like that of their species; feet can be nearly, mostly, largely, or partially human-shaped, but has to be animal-accented; usually has human-like breasts even if not a mammal

Level #9: More anthropomorphic variant of Level 8; has a largely, mostly, or nearly human-shaped head with the animal’s ears and full or partial muzzle, beak, or bill; has animal-accented, completely human-shaped hands; completely humanoid body shape; has human-proportioned, plantigrade, animal-accented feet that are either completely, mostly, or largely human-shaped; usually has human-like breasts; compromise between Levels 8 and 10

Level #10: Looks like an animal-accented human face and body frame with the animal’s ears, nose, tail (where applicable), markings, and often fur, feathers, scales, or sembance thereof on a nearly human-shaped head with some, little, or no semblance of their species’ muzzle; can have a human nose bridge, but has still has the animal’s nose, completely human hand and foot shape; has the beak or bill respective to their species that is small regardless of their species if a bird; usually has human-like breasts and humanlike hair (or hairlike feathers if a bird)

Level #11:  Looks like an animal-accented human face and body frame with the animal’s tail (where applicable), markings, and sometimes a sembance of fur, feathers, or scales on a nearly human-shaped head with no semblance of their species’ muzzle; has largely, mostly, or completely human ear position, but either have the animal’s ear shape or some semblance thereof; can either have a completely human nose or have the animal’s nose on a human nose bridge; can have claws, fangs, and/or horns of the species; has completely human hand and foot shape; can have a catlike shape to the lips if a cat, can have a beaklike shape to the lips if a bird; usually has human-like breasts and humanlike hair (or hairlike feathers if a bird)

Level #12: Looks completely human with completely human skin, but with the animal’s ears, tail, and sometimes claw, fangs, and/or horns of the species; has a completely human nose; has no semblance of the animal’s muzzle; can have a catlike shape to the lips if a cat or cat-based; ears can have either partially or mostly humanlike position (between human ear position and that of most mammals), a completely humanlike ear position, or ear position mostly or totally like that of the respective species