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Thomas "Tom" Cat
One of the titular characters; a blue-grey house cat.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: In "Puss Gets the Boot" he's barely recognizable as a four-legged cat, and has only subtle anthropomorphic mannerisms. His duration of shorts through the forties would gradually evolve him into his trademark more humanoid design.
- Anti-Villain: There have been times where he does not start the conflict, only trying to protect the house, doing his job, or other things. His owners would also want him to catch mice so that they don't munch on their food. There was also an episode where Jerry tricked him out of anger into going to his owner's bed when Tom's snoring got on his nerves.
- Arch-Enemy: Jerry.
- Big Eater
- Butt Monkey: He rarely wins, and suffers all kinds of slapstick and cartoon violence.
- Cats Are Mean: Implied in most shorts, for better or for worse.
- The Chew Toy: A large number of episodes have Tom chasing Jerry strictly so that Jerry will not mess up the house he's living in, thus resulting in not only Tom not getting dinner, but being beaten with whatever is handy by his owner.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As clumsy and unlucky as Tom can be, Tom generaly does pose a credible threat to Jerry and has more than a few victories over him.
- Determinator: He never gives up going after Jerry, even when it would probably be wise not to do so.
- Did Not Get the Girl: When he loses his love interest to Butch in an episode. Sometimes he loses her to Jerry.
- Face Death with Dignity: "The Duck Doctor" has it happening to Tom. Having no way of escaping a falling anvil, Tom digs himself a grave, blindfolds himself and has a last smoke. Then the anvil hits him on the head (making him fall inside the grave, which makes the dug earth jump onto him, completing the burial) and falls into position to serve as a tombstone. In "The Bodyguard", he goes even further - after digging the grave and lying in it, he hastily scribbles a will, then clutches a flower while awaiting the inevitable.
- Failed a Spot Check: Tom seems to roll a lot of minuses on his spot checks. The number of misfortunes he suffers could probably be cut down by at least half if he would simply take the time to notice blatantly obvious dangers.
- Friendly Enemy: Tom can be very friendly and laidback towards Jerry when not chasing him.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Usually buffoonish, though to what degree varies. In some shorts he is completely outclassed by Jerry, in others he is a more feared persuer and can actually run circles around Jerry for a lengthy duration (or even score a victory).
- Hero Antagonist: Sometimes.
- Hidden Depths: Tom may seem like a typical clumsy cat, but he's been consistently portrayed as a decent musician.
- Iron Butt Monkey: So goddamn much.
- Jerkass: In episodes where he starts things off by abusing Jerry for no reason. Though as those of you who have had cats will know, they can be sadistic little bastards to their prey.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sometimes. He can be nice to Jerry when he wants to be, like in the shorts where they team up against a common enemy.
- Love Makes You Crazy
- Made of Iron: Tom has been crushed by anvils, pianos, and a lot of heavy things and manages to stay alive in most shorts.
- Motive Decay: In many early shorts he wanted to eat Jerry or chased him at his master's orders (even if enjoyed doing so either way). In many later shorts, he just seems to chase Jerry out of reflex or make him miserable just for fun.
- Never Trust a Title: According to his owner and other sapient characters, his name is Thomas.
- Punny Name: A male cat is called a "tomcat".
- The Rival: Butch (Depending on the Writer)
- Silent Bob: Like Jerry, he never talks.
- The Slacker: Tom is extremely lazy, when not chasing Jerry that is. Several cartoons have Tom be so much of a slacker that he doesn't even care about catching Jerry until his owners threaten to have him kicked out if he doesn't do his job.
- Simpleton Voice: When he's actually voiced.
- Smug Snake: At times, particularly in early shorts, where his blissful toying with Jerry was often his own undoing.
- Species Surname
- Super-Persistent Predator: He just doesn't know when to quit.
- Team Rocket Wins: Roughly 10% of the time, Tom actually got the last laugh on Jerry at the end of a short.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Tom has died in several shorts (being blown up by dynamite, crushed by a piano and even decapitated off-screen) yet is still shown to be fine the next short. It helps that he, like all cats, has nine lives.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: On a slightly more common level, he was allowed to occasionally end on a happy note or make a truce with Jerry. According to the Tom and Jerry Wiki, Tom wins in 24 cartoons (out of 164 shorts).
- Too Dumb to Live: A lot of his defeats were from his lack of preparation beforehand & he's ridiculously easy to fool, which is how Jerry gets away with torturing him on many occasions.
- Troll: Sometimes took toying with his prey to an elaborate degree. In the first cartoon for example he replaces Jerry's mouse hole with a painted on lookalike and watches him smack into it repeatedly.
- Villain Protagonist
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Butch (Depending on the Writer). Same thing with Jerry in some shorts where they hang a lampshade on their rivalry.
- Would Hurt a Child: Though probably not again after the beating Jerry gave him for hitting Nibbles. He has tried to catch and depose of Nibbles on several occasions afterwards. Jerry almost always stops him and turns Tom's attention onto him before he can act it out however.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Jerry is able to cross-dress to fool Tom sometimes, and Tom won't go after him because of this, until Jerry's dress falls down or something.
One of the titular characters; a brown domesticated mouse.
- Anti-Hero: He falls into this in many cartoons, as he's not always the innocent victim he's supposed to be. Technically, he's not supposed to be in the house eating human food in the first place...though it's a bit justified considering he loves cheese.
- Arch-Enemy: Tom.
- Badass Adorable: He may look adorable, but when threatened? Beware, especially if your name is Tom.
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Often ends up protecting younger trouble-making animals from Tom, including seals, ducklings, canaries, and Nibbles.
- Big Brother Instinct: Do NOT harm Nibbles.
- Big Brother Worship: More Big Cousin Worship. It's implied that Jerry has a close relationship with his older cousin. At one point, he even called him for help because Tom was more aggressive than usual.
- Big Eater
- Butt Monkey: Not nearly as bad as Tom, but there are times he takes as much as he dishes out.
- Friendly Enemies: In some shorts, Tom and Jerry actually coexist peacefully, either being forced into conflict by Tom's owner insisting on Tom doing his job as pest control since Jerry is technically a pest, if a mostly unintrusive one, or teaming up so that their live and let live situation can continue.
- Friend to All Living Things: Except cats (he makes an exception for kittens sometimes though). Many shorts involve Jerry befriending a one shot character, usually another stray animal.
- Good Is Not Nice: Neither Tom nor Jerry are innocent during most of their rivalries.
- The Hero
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath
- Honorary Uncle: To Nibbles.
- Jerkass: Very fond of Disproportionate Retribution in a lot of shorts. He enjoys it too.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is often empathetic to other animals, especially those victimized by Tom, and tries to help them out. There are also moments he is repentant after going too far with Tom or even teams up with him.
- Karma Houdini: At times when he's the bad guy and gets a way with things he shouldn't.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: There are several times, especially in the later era, where this comes back to haunt him as badly as Tom however.
- Karmic Trickster: In the original shorts. He became more of a Screwy Squirrel in the Chuck Jones shorts, though still has bouts of this.
- Killer Rabbit: He may be cute but he can bring really big troubles.
- Lovable Rogue
- Muscles Are Meaningless
- Moment Killer: More often than not the reason why Tom fails at dating.
- Nice Mice: Zig-zagged. A lot of his nastiness is in provoked self-defense from Tom, but some of it is just tormenting Tom for the hell of it. When it comes to other animals, though, Jerry is pretty universally nice. See Friend to All Living Things.
- Not So Different: Though generally more friendly and altruistic than Tom, Jerry can be every single bit as sadistic as him on numerous shorts.
- Obfuscating Disability: In "Love Me, Love My Mouse" he pretends to be defenseless to make Toots care for him.
- Only Sane Man: At the ending of "The Framed Cat".
- Papa Wolf: When it comes to Nibbles.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Harming Nibbles within his line of sight is a bad idea...
- Screwy Squirrel: In the later shorts of the series.
- Silent Bob
- Silent Snarker
- Species Surname
- Take-That Kiss: Tends to give these to Tom just to mess with him.
- A Taste of Defeat: Jerry usually got the last laugh every short. At times however he would lose or come to a bitter stalemate with Tom. These were almost always after he went too far in his retaliation and cost himself his Karmic Protection.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: He inverts them with the long eyelashes and cute face.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cheese, of course.
- Troll: Sometimes just causes trouble for Tom for no reason at all.
- Unscrupulous Hero
- Villain Protagonist: A few shorts like "The Year of the Mouse" have Jerry harassing an innocent Tom; these are typically the shorts in which Jerry loses.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: He sometimes takes advantage of the fact that Tom Wouldn't Hit a Girl, even if it's a mouse.
One of Tom's owners.
- Accent Adaptation: In the Mexican Spanish dubs, she normally speaks with over-the-top Cuban accent, as a way to remenber the audience she's black.
- Audience Surrogate: In the sense that she was written to be a bridge between the everyday human world and the insane antics of Tom and Jerry, and is often the only human character present in the shorts she's in.
- Butt Monkey: Sometimes, when she has to deal with Tom and Jerry's antics.
- Captain Ersatz: Of a very similar Disney character voiced by the same actress.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure: Often subjected to this.
- Eek, a Mouse!!
- The Faceless: And who never wanted to see her face as a kid? Come on, hands up! Her face is very briefly seen◊ in "Saturday Evening Puss".
- Jerkass Ball: When she ends up punishing Tom for something he didn't even do!
- Large Ham: "And when I says 'Out,' Jaspah, I means 'Out!' O-U-W-T, out!"
- Mammy: Though it wasn't made apparent whether she was a housekeeper who lived in a nice house or if that was her house. Given the time period, one would assume the former, but evidence such as the non-appearance of the white family she supposedly works for seems to indicate the latter would be more accurate.
- Only Sane Woman: Not that she has much choice, with Tom and Jerry in the same house.
- Put on a Bus: Her original character is replaced after 1952.
- Race Lift:
- In the recent Tom and Jerry Tales, Mammy Two Shoes became a white version of herself, whose accent now sounded like a mix between Irish and Southern U.S.
- In the 1960s edited for TV versions of some Tom and Jerry cartoons (done by Chuck Jones when was hired by MGM), Mammy was redrawn, usually as a white, Irish-accented version of herself (similar to the one that would be used in Tom and Jerry Tales). In "Saturday Evening Puss", however, Mammy was redrawn and redubbed as a teenaged white girl named Jeannie who's going out to dance with her boyfriend instead of playing bridge with her club. This is an odd decision given that her face was still kept off-camera (even going to the effort of keeping it obscured in the very brief scene where Mammy's face could originally be seen), and an even odder one given that the story now had a slim teenage babysitter breaking down a door with her bare hands.
- Sassy Black Woman: And how!
Nibbles / Tuffy
A young mouse that Jerry adopts.
- Big Eater: He has both Tom and Jerry beat in this department, which is quite a feat itself.
- Bilingual Bonus
- Canon Immigrant: Actually debuted in the comics before appearing in any shorts.
- Catch Phrase: The Mouseketeer shorts give him "Touché, Pussycat!"
- Composite Character: When he appears in modern Tom and Jerry adaptations, his name has usually reverted back to Nibbles but he still speaks in a French accent, a nod to the Mouseketeer shorts.
- Cousin Oliver: Though he doesn't seem to be widely hated for it. The fact that he only shows up in the occasional short may help.
- Doorstop Baby
- Gratuitous English: Slipped in a few English phrases in some of the Mouseketeer shorts.
- Gratuitous French: In modern adaptations where he's speaking English with a French accent.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Always wears what looks like either a pair of diapers or white shorts.
- Heartwarming Orphan
- I Have Many Names: Well, only two, and they haven't been used with much consistency. He was Tuffy in the comics, in the Mouseketeer shorts and some of the later shorts, but in his first animated appearances and in some of his modern ones he goes by Nibbles. They could also be two different mice, since the short Two Little Indians features two young gray mice drawn with the same exact character model as Nibbles.
- Kid-Appeal Character
- Silly Walk: One of his trademarks in his classic appearances is that he doesn't walk so much as he runs, and rather stiffly at that, shuffling his feet at a high speed. This trait is toned down for many later appearances, such as the Mouseketeer cartoons, but he still displays hints of it.
- Take a Third Option: One iconic short involves Jerry trying to teach him how to steal food and avoid Tom, while Nibbler simply asks Tom politely for food and befriends him instead.
A stern but occasionally dumb American bulldog who is particularly disapproving of cats, but a softie when it comes to mice and his son, Tyke.
- Androcles' Lion: He protects Jerry in a lot of shorts after Jerry does him a favor.
- Angry Guard Dog
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Some argue that instead of going after Tom, he should be guarding the house which is his job. TV Trash pointed out that at some point where he was beating on Tom, the house could have been robbed. In any case, he usually fails to notice Jerry causing problems, well intentioned or not.
- Berserk Button: Waking him up or taking his bone away. Usually if he has any new Trigger, Tom can find it.
- Breakout Character: He and Tyke had a very brief series of shorts to themselves in the fifties. They also have solo episodes in Tom and Jerry Kids and a short stint of comics.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: He's this with his pup, Tyke.
- The Brute
- Bully Bulldog: Though when given a personality he's usually a pretty nice guy, without one he's typically mean and angry at all times.
- Butt Monkey: Originally an inflictor of Misplaced or Disproportionate Retribution, but in most later shorts he usually goes through enough torment that it's easy to understand his contempt with Tom.
- Dogs Are Dumb: This is one incredibly dumb dog. On one occasion he couldn't tell between Tom and Tyke until Tom meows in a failed attempt at barking. Lampshaded by momentarily replacing him with a Jackass figure when he realizes he's been fooled. Also lampshaded in a short where Tom and his friends watch a Clip Show highlighting the times of Tom making a fool of Spike.
- Hair-Trigger Temper
- Hero Antagonist: Most of the time, from his perspective at least, the abuse he dishes onto Tom is provoked. Jerry sometimes exploits this however.
- Jerkass Ball: Happens to him a lot.
- Just Whistle: Makes this arrangement with Jerry on occasion, after Jerry gets him out of some sort of trouble.
- Nice Guy: Surprisingly. In episodes that feature all three of them starring together, Spike will usually be played as a lot nicer than either Tom or Jerry but constantly being forced to get angry. When there's an option to put aside their differences he's usually be all for it, if not the one trying to enforce the peace.
- Papa Wolf: Spike mellowed somewhat when they added his son, Tyke. But if you mess with him...
- Selective Enforcement: A recurring theme throughout most of the episodes that star him. Generally, he's just minding his own business, and ends up getting caught up in Tom and Jerry's antics. Even when he clearly sees Jerry causing trouble well, Spike always singles out Tom and places all the blame on him, which Jerry proceeds to milk for all its worth throughout the rest of the cartoon to make Tom's life miserable.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Especially prominent in later shorts where he (and sometimes his son) are often genuinely the Butt Monkey to Tom's antics.
- Unwitting Pawn: Most of his appearances consist of Jerry manipulating him into acting as a shield against Tom.
- Wild Card: Spike is usually a very neutral force - he only wants to be left alone and will only go after anyone (usually Tom, but on the rare occasion this can also include Jerry) if they bother him in some way, which leads to many of his appearances having him be an Unwitting Pawn as Jerry leads Tom do anger him. Likewise, he usually only helps someone (usually Jerry) if they help him in some way first. A few episodes have him being a danger to both Tom and Jerry, with Jerry being crafty enough to avoid pain while Tom is not.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: In both the comics and Tom and Jerry Kids, he is Suddenly Voiced and walks on two legs, with him and Spike more or less acting as Expies for Hanna Barbara's later creation Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy.
- Breakout Character: Shared with Spike.
- Chaste Toons: One of the scant few aversions in the Golden Age.
- Cheerful Child: He's just so happy and innocent, even when he's barking at Tom.
- Everything's Precious with Puppies: Goes without saying.
- Missing Mom: We never see his mother.
A black alley cat who is either an ally or enemy of Tom's.
- Big Eater: Eats Tom and Jerry out of house and home while pretending to be a Doorstop Baby in one short.
- Cats Are Mean
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Tom and Butch try to do this to each other whenever there's a woman involved.
- Jerkass: Like Tom except not at all sympathetic, and a double crossing louse besides.
- The Rival: To Tom (Depending on the Writer).
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tom (also Depending on the Writer).
Toodles Galore is an attractive white female cat, and is supposedly Tom's usual love interest, although Tom is a reputed playboy, and had other love interests before and after Toodles.
An attractive cat that Tom instantly likes.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: In Puss N' Toots, she began as a silent semi-anthropomorphic cat similar to Tom. In later appearances she is more humanoid and has speaking roles.
- Depending on the Writer: Toots can range anywhere between a Shrinking Violet who is visibly smitten by Tom or a Deadpan Snarker with a very blunt "No means no" approach.
An overly trusting duckling.
- Brown Bag Mask: When concerned that he's ugly in Downhearted Duckling.
- Cheerful Child: Usually.
- Driven to Suicide: In Downhearted Duckling, where just because he thinks he's ugly, he attempts to cut himself in half with an axe, and later tries to force Tom to eat him (and Tom is more than willing to oblige before Jerry stops him).
- Emo Teen: Quacker was Emo before Emo was in.
- Feather Fingers
- The Millstone
- Momma's Boy: Exploited by Tom, and then used against him in "That's My Mommy".
- Too Dumb to Live: Would spend most of his appearances obliviously walking straight into danger and requiring Jerry's protection.
Jeannie the Babysitter
A teenage babysitter.