Created By: neoYTPism on March 30, 2011 Last Edited By: Lythande on June 6, 2015
Troped

Cats Are Ninja

A cat, or feline species, uses their natural abilities to their advantage and becomes a ninja.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Cats are stereotypically stealthy, quick, graceful, and acrobatic. Ninja are stereotypically stealthy, quick, graceful, and acrobatic. So of course, in a work involving both cats (whether as literal Talking Animals, merely symbolic Animal Motifs, or something in between) and ninja themes, you should expect the ninja role to tend towards cats.

Cats in general have a reputation for being an adorable pet, as well as for being self-reliant, hunting down mice with either ruthless efficiency or sadistic pleasure, having nine lives, and trying to sneak around everywhere. Naturally, some works of fiction ignore the fact that cats tend to knock over household items and prefer to exaggerate their "stealthy" tendencies by turning felines into ninja.

Typically expect characters of this nature to be either Badass Adorable or Tall, Dark and Handsome (if not some version of Evil Is Sexy). They may be an example of Cats Are Superior, if they're portrayed as arrogant, or Cats Are Mean, if they feature as an antagonist.

This need not apply solely to household cats; it is possible for some species of big cat, such as tigers or panthers, to be portrayed as ninjas, although it is less common.

Not related to With Catlike Tread or to Classy Cat-Burglar. See also Cats Are Superior, Cats Are Mean, Animal Stereotypes (generally the cause of ninja cats), and Good Animals, Evil Animals (when the cat ninjas are evil). See also Female Feline, Male Mutt (in cases of overlap, you can usually expect a cat ninja and a dog bruiser).


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • From Bleach, Yoruichi was once head of the Onmitsukido (the ninja branch of the Soul Society) and can transform into a cat.

Comic Books

Fan Fiction
  • Blood And Revolution has Saitou assigning animal motifs to most of the characters; Aoshi - a literal ninja, last head of the Oniwabanshuu - is given a panther (made only worse once Aoshi becomes a vampire and developes cat eyes). To Aoshi's annoyance, he eventually evolves into a chaos demon, and because Your Mind Makes It Real his natural form does have a cat tail.

Film
  • Cats & Dogs references this with literal ninja cat antagonists, which contrast the heroic 'secret agent' dogs.
  • In Puss in Boots the cats (in particular Kitty Softpaws) are sometimes portrayed in a very ninjaesque way.

Literature
  • In the Discworld novel, Maurice and His Amazing Performing Rats, the titular cat, Maurice, is trapped in a dank underground cellar, pursued by massive killer rats operating under the eldritch direction of the evil Rat king. Maurice, a cat given human-level intelligence after a magical accident, has to pull off feats of Ninja-like combat to fight his way out and escape: these involve swimming through mud and sewage and wriggling through increasingly smaller spaces.

Video Games
  • The Legendary Starfy gives us Shurikit and Kittana, two rival cats who are constantly practicing their ninja skills against each other. Shurikit also teaches Starfy a few abilities.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the Khajiit, a humanoid cat species, are known for their excellent stealth abilities and proficiency in combat, so naturally many of them work as assassins outside of their home province of Elsewyr.
    • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, some of the Dark Brotherhood members that attempt to kill you are Khajiit, although none are in the core group. The Thalmor are also not above hiring Khajiit as assassins and spies, such as the one that stalks you in Riften and another that is hired to kill Malborn. If the Dragonborn is a Khajiit, they naturally get a +5 bonus to Archery, Lockpicking, One-Handed, Pickpocket and Alchemy, as well as a +10 bonus to Sneak, the ability to see in the dark for 60 seconds and the use of their claws; this makes them great for stealth-based playthroughs and assassinations.
  • BlazBlue: Taokaka the Cat Girl (it's not made clear how catlike she is under her hood, but she and the others from her clan definitely behave like cats) becomes an actual ninja (Bang's apprentice to be exact) in some joke endings.
  • Ninja Cat is a free online flash game at Kongregate, where you play a cat who is a ninja.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Adventure Time: In the episode "Jake vs. Me-Mow", a tiny mummy cat assassin named Me-Mow is tasked with killing Wildberry Princess. Armed with sharp claws, poison, and ninja-like ability, she proves to be quite a handful for Finn and Jake.
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • March 30, 2011
    StarryEyed
  • March 30, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Which is not about literal cats.
  • March 31, 2011
    SKJAM
  • March 31, 2011
    Bisected8
    In BlazBlue Taokaka probably counts (it's not made clear how catlike she is under her hood, but she and the other kaka definatly behave like cats). She even becomes an actual ninja (Bang's apprentice to be exact) in some joke endings. Her progenitor-via-cloning Jubei inverts this by being a cat Samurai and his daughter Kokenoe is a Cat Mad Scientist.
  • March 31, 2011
    arromdee
    Samurai Pizza Cats were I believe ninjas in Japanese.
  • March 31, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ You mean, "in the Japanese version of it" or something?
  • March 13, 2012
    Catbert
    I like this idea. Any more examples?
  • March 13, 2012
    Telcontar
    • In Puss In Boots the cats (in particular Kitty Softpaws) are sometimes portrayed in a very ninjaesque way.

    Also, the page image needs shrinking. A lot; 350 is the limit for width, but don't go too much beyond it in height either.
  • April 10, 2012
    SilentReverence
    My cat pressed the Bump key. Since she's as black as the laptop I didn't notice.
  • April 10, 2012
    Andygal
    there's a flash animation called "I'm gonna flip out like a Ninja", which has dancing ninja cats.
  • April 11, 2012
    Antheia
    Cats Are Ninjas sounds like a trope about how cats in general are like ninjas. Ninja Cat would be clearer.
  • April 11, 2012
    TBeholder
  • January 27, 2013
    Catbert
    Bump

  • February 27, 2013
    Catbert
    bump
  • February 28, 2013
    EdnaWalker
    Bonkers featured a parody of the Samurai Pizza Cats.
  • February 28, 2013
    Arivne
    Namespaced and italicized the example work names and put the examples under the appropriate headings.

    Some of the examples given are Zero Context Examples and need to be expanded upon before launch.

    The page picture needs to be adjusted or it's going to cause problems.
  • March 19, 2013
    AgProv
    Literature: In the Discworld novel, Maurice and His Amazing Performing Rats, the titular cat, Maurice, is trapped in a dank underground cellar, pursued by massive killer rats operating under the eldrich direction of the evil Rat king. Maurice, a cat given human-level intelligence after a magical accident, has to pull off feats of Ninja-like combat to fight his way out and escape: these involve swimming through mud and sewage and wriggling through increasingly smaller spaces.
  • December 31, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump to see if this goes anywhere
  • December 31, 2014
    DAN004
    • Rw By: Blake the cat Faunus has a lot of ninja theme in her; from his dark disposition, stoicism, nimble movement, kusarigama-esque weapon and her special ability to create body decoys.
  • December 31, 2014
    Daefaroth
    Not to get all fanboy/otaku, but the plural of ninja is ninja. One ninja, two ninja, a million-zillion ninja; all are still ninja.
  • March 16, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump, might gonna take this over
  • April 21, 2015
    Chabal2
    Buck Godot Zap Gun For Hire has a cat ninja along with a terrier secret agent.
  • April 21, 2015
    Lord-Jaric
    Manga/Bleach: Yoruichi is this literally. She was once head of the Onmitsukido and can tranform into a cat.
  • April 22, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Let me guess: Onmitsukido is a ninja branch of the Soul Society, amirite?
  • April 22, 2015
    Lord-Jaric
    ^ Pretty much
  • April 22, 2015
    DrNoPuma
    Video Games

  • April 24, 2015
    captainmarkle
    More Video Games Examples:
    • In The Elder Scrolls, the Khajiit, a humanoid cat species, are known for their excellent stealth abilities and proficiency in combat, so naturally many of them work as assassins outside of their home province of Elsewyr.
      • In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, some of the Dark Brotherhood members that attempt to kill you are Khajiit, although none are in the core group. The Thalmor are also not above hiring Khajiit as assassins and spies, such as the one that stalks you in Riften and another that is hired to kill Malborn. If the Dragonborn is a Khajiit, they naturally get a 5 bonus to Archery, Lockpicking, One-Handed, Pickpocket and Alchemy, as well as a 10 bonus to Sneak, the ability to see in the dark for 60 seconds and the use of their claws.

    I haven't played Morrowind and I sadly haven't finished Oblivion yet. Hope this helps!

    I'm not sure whether Purrloin from Pokemon would count. It fits the whole "dark Combat Pragmatist thief" idea but seems a stretch to me. It is used by the Shadow Triad, who are ninjas working for Team Plasma.
  • April 24, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Uh, I don't see any "cat" in that Elder Scrolls example.
  • April 24, 2015
    captainmarkle
    Khajiit are basically humanoid cats. Hope the edit helps.
  • April 24, 2015
    ferglie
    Um, as far as the title, what about "Nyanjas"?
  • May 7, 2015
    captainmarkle
    ^ My issue with "Nyanjas" is that the meme could fade out of the public conciousness eventually (doubtful, but it's possible). It also doesn't fully explain the trope at first glance, which I know caused some objections earlier. I would like to see a Nyan Cat ninja, now you mention it.

    Restored the YKTTW with permission from Ask the Tropers.
  • May 7, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Well, "permission" is a strong term, but I don't think you need permission in the first place, so yeah.

    Anyway, my cat is a ninja, so 10/10 would trope. He's a samurai, actually (we named him Jack for a good reason), but, eh, close enough.

    • Image needs to be moved over to the right (see, I think, Text Formatting Rules or a related page for image markup. If it's not on that page, that page should link to it somewhere near the top). (EDIT: Actually, you want Images In Wiki Pages. My mistake.)
    • Talking Animals Red Link should be written as {{Talking Animal}}s to link correctly.
    • All the examples that just say "X cat is a ninja" or "is ninja-like" are ZCEs, but the ones I'm familiar with are legit examples. They need to more clearly describe how the cats are shown to be ninjas. "Ninja" is not an action or a single trait that is self-explanatory; it's an aesthetic, it's a skill set, it's a type of behavior, an array of habits—you can't just say "ninja" and assume I can picture exactly what you're talking about.
    • I don't think the You Tube example is kosher, since it violates Keep It An Example by being in general about cat videos on You Tube. However, the Mean Kitty Song example, specifically, is a good example by itself.
    • The BlazBlue example reads like its author couldn't tell if it was an example or not. Either she's a cat, or catlike, or she isn't. Either she's a ninja or she isn't. Either the example states that she's catlike and ninja-like in some clear, quantifiable way, or the example needs to be cut.
    • The Ninja Cat example manages the impressive feat of being both a ZCE and an utter tautology. It needs to explain what it means by "ninja cat".

    Otherwise I think it looks good so far. I'm fine with Cats Are Ninjas for the title; Nyanjas is very witty and concise but for anyone unfamiliar with Nyancat, it lacks in clarity, which is the most important trait for anything on the wiki.

    EDIT: Also, it looks like this YKTTW has been discarded (which is why it says it has been launched at the bottom). We'll need to unlaunch it. And I have no idea how to do that, but I know it can be done.

    EDIT EDIT: Thanks to whoever unlaunched this! :)
  • May 12, 2015
    ferglie
    Haha, hmmm... I wasn't actually thinking of Nyancat in particular when I mentioned Nyanjas; it's just that the Japanese version of "meow" is "nyan" ("nyancat" is based on this), and ninjas are a Japanese thing, so... yeah. But anyway, I guess then maybe that's too obscure for most people to get at first glance. Thanks for the responses, captainmarkle and Solip Schism :)
  • May 12, 2015
    Lythande
    I have a ponderance: would this include the inverse, whereby Ninjas Are Cats? (That is, a ninja with an Animal Motif is identified with a feline.) I noticed the Bleach example way up yonder seems to be this, with a person able to take a cat form.

    For my two cents I think that it should, because the symbolism stays the same: ninja = cat = ninja.

    Edit: Haha, I'm totally lame, I should have read the first paragraph a few more times...
  • May 13, 2015
    Laevatein
    Not sure if it fits, but at one point in The Golden Princess, Orlaith contemplates how people who describe cats as quiet don't seem to have been around them when they don't want to be quiet.
  • June 5, 2015
    Lythande
    I fixed most of what Solip Schism brought up, but I can't do anything about the Puss In Boots or Blaz Blue ZCE.
  • June 6, 2015
    TimG5
    Western Animation
    • Adventure Time: In the episode "Jake vs. Me-Mow", a tiny mummy cat assassin named Me-Mow is tasked with killing Wildberry Princess. Armed with sharp claws, poison, and ninja-like ability, she proves to be quite a handful for Finn and Jake but they are able to stop her in the end.
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