Western Animation: Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats
(fan art of) The main cast. Heathcliff's the cat with the big shiny nose.
Heathcliff is a streetwise orange house cat with thin black stripes. The Catillac Cats are a gang of alley cats run by Riff Raff. Together, they prowl the streets of Westfinster and get in trouble. (Though other than in the closing credits, Heathcliff and Riff Raff never actually met...)
This was a syndicated cartoon series of The Eighties
based on the Heathcliff
comic strip. It ran in a two shorts
format. Hilarity Ensues
in every short.
The show is actually called simply Heathcliff
. The expanded title is used probably to distinguish it from the previous (and lesser known) Ruby-Spears
version from 1980. Additionally, "The Catillac Cats" (an original DIC Entertainment
creation) are officially known as "Cats & Co." (They're referred to as such in the closing credits
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Almost all the furry characters.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Iggy, Heathcliff's young human owner, was significantly redesigned from his appearances in the comic strip and the 80s Saturday Morning cartoon; the most noticeable change was from curly blond hair under a hat, to straight brown hair.
- Adaptation Expansion: Quite a lot more characters were added in comparison to the strip's small cast.
- Affectionate Parody: "Monstro vs. the Wolf Hound" sends up 1930s horror movies, complete with Riff Raff as a Mad Scientist, Wordsworth as The Igor, Mungo as Frankenstein's Monster and Leroy as the Wolf Man.
- All Just a Dream: The endings of "Monstro vs. the Wolf Hound" and "Prehysteric Riff Raff".
- Animesque: The show was mostly animated in Japan (the first season primarily by TMS Entertainment), so that's a given. The second season seemed even more animesque than the first. And this was before anime was even a blip on U.S's radar.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Each episode ended with Heathcliff giving a pet care tip.
- Arab Oil Sheikh: The prince in "Harem Cat".
- Atlantis: Parodied by "In Search of Catlantis".
- Bragging Theme Tune: "So join in the jubilee / The cats are great, they'll all agree / Find in each calamity / the cats' superiority!"
- Cats Are Mean: All the cats had their moments, but Heathcliff especially.
- Mungo was mostly an aversion, though.
- Cat Stereotype: Heathcliff (an orange male cat) and Sonya (an all-white female cat).
- Christmas Episode:
- "Christmas Memories", a Whole Episode Flashback detailing how the Catillac Cats met.
- Heathcliff had his own Christmas Episode: "North Pole Cat".
- Civilized Animal:
- Most of the cats and dogs shown in the series were at this level.
- Most of the plots with heavy human involvement were used in Heathcliff's side of the series, often through the device of Iggy and the Nutmegs, his owners.
- Clingy Jealous Cat: Heathcliff, Sonja, Riff Raff and Cleo all had a tendency to get horribly jealous whenever their significant other showed interest in someone else. One of the fastest ways to earn Heathcliff's ire was to flirt with Sonja, and she in turn was never pleased if Heathy even alluded to another female feline.
- Cool Car/Transforming Vehicle: The Catillacs are named after their main ride, a red and white Cadillac convertible that can somehow transform into several other vehicles, like a boat or a RV camper.
- Crossdresser: Done by all the Catillac Cats in "Debutante Ball", including Cleo in a powder blue tux. And gag glasses.
- Heathcliff's father had done this once to hide from the police after escaping from jail.
- Cross Over: Heathcliff and Riff Raff never actually meet, but Heathcliff has bumped into Hector, Wordsworth, and Mungo a few times. They never really got along when that happened.
- He did, however, team up with the trio a couple times to tackle common foes or deal with a mutual problem.
- Plus there's this exchange from the Heathcliff segment "Soap Box Derby":
Wordsworth: Hey, but we can't play 'cause Riff-Raff's away.
- Diet Episode: "Lard Times".
- Divide and Conquer: "Divide and Clobber" sees Leroy turning the cats against each other during one of his not so harmless moments. (Ted Ziegler played Leroy and Mungo, so guess which one of the cats he mimicked first...?)
- Dogs Are Dumb: Leroy, the watchdog who guarded the junkyard where the Catillac Cats lived, was hopelessly outmatched when he tried to stand in the gang's way.
- Bush, the sheepdog who guarded the music store where Cleo lived, Butt Monkey to Riff Raff.
- Also, several episodes feature the Catillacs defeating one-shot canine opponents.
- Spike however, is the most notable, having the honor of being Heathcliff's main victim.
- Easy Come, Easy Go
- Enemy Mine: Sometimes Leroy helped the Catillac Cats defeat that episode's rivals. Particularly in the episodes involving sports.
- Heathcliff once teamed up with a pet bird of a mansion to stop a pair of burglars, after the fat dog whom the bird supported fell down a flight of stairs. A similar truce happened after Heathcliff joined up with a parrot in a supermarket when he outsmarted the security.
- The Eighties: Cleo's legwarmers are a betrayal of the time period in which this show was made.
- Episode Title Card
- The Family for the Whole Family: Hector runs afoul of them while managing Heathcliff's wrestling career, when they want to ensure Heathcliff loses to Boom Boom Pussini.
- Fat Cat: Heathcliff.
- Five-Man Band: The Catillac Cats.
- Furry Confusion: Just in case the issue wasn't confused enough by some animals being the same height as the humans and all the non-anthro cats, dogs and other animals running around, a Flashback in "Debutante Ball" shows Cleo and her friend Muffy as non-anthro kittens... with Cleo still sporting a full head of blonde hair.
- Frequently showed up in the Pet Care tips. Well-intentioned or not, there's something rather disturbing about Heathcliff cheerily explaining how to care for a pregnant cat...
- Gadgeteer Genius: Wordsworth.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Cleo pulled this off a lot.
- Wordsworth spends the entirety of "Debutante Ball" "exhausted from listening to rock-n-roll nonstop for a week straight".
- The premise of "Kitten Around": Riff Raff convinces Cleo to "go steady" in a scene that plays out like a marriage proposal (lacking only a ring); he then immediately starts seeing new girl Roxy behind her back. Not to mention how he says going steady would mean less time spent chasing her for "inte...lligent conversation"
- See What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? on the YMMV page.
- In "Scaredy Cats", Riff Raff is jealous of an artist Cleo expresses interest in.
Cleo: Renfield knows all about painting, dance, music, poetry...
Riff Raff: I know poetry, too! Wordsworth, tell Cleo some of the poetry I know.
: There was an old cat from Des Moines/ Who put fleas in his sister's-*Cleo shoves him off screen* Ooh!
Cleo: That wasn't quite what I had in mind.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Any furry character who wears clothes at all.
- Humanoid Female Animal: Interestingly, while Cleo was a straight example of this, most of the other cats and dogs were at the exact same level. Aside from Riff Raff, all of the shorter cats who were treated more like cats were found in Heathcliff's cartoon — including his girlfriend, Sonja.
- Roxy from "Kitten Around" is another straight example.
- Humiliation Conga: Spike does this to a reformed Heathcliff in "Spike's Slave."
- I Want My Jetpack: Played with in the episode "House of the Future", an unofficial remake of a MGM short. When are we going to get an animatronic kitchen where a meal is automatically prepared for us with just pressing a button?
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Heathcliff and Riff Raff.
- Junkyard Technology: The Catillac Cats thrived on this trope.
- Love Triangle: Riff Raff, Cleo, and Hector.
- Miles Gloriosus: Riff Raff and Hector both fell into this from time to time; Hector was more likely to be proven a Dirty Coward.
- Mock Millionaire: Riff Raff does this to impress his mother in "Riff Raff's Mom".
- Moment Killer: Whenever Riff Raff and Cleo tried to get some alone time or go on vacation together, Hector, Wordsworth, and Mungo would try to tag along and interrupt.
- The Movie: Though it's more like a Clip Show.
- To be exact, it's an "anthology film".
- Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Cleo liked to claim this whenever she got bored of the junkyard, wheedling Riff Raff into taking her on vacation.
- Pan Up To The Sky Ending: The final shot of the Catillac Cats episode "Life Saver".
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: "Leroy's a jerk."
- Radish Cure: A second season episode series involved a (court-ordered) attempt to get Heathcliff to stop stealing fish from the fish store using this method (otherwise, he would have to go to jail). It ends up working too well...
Grandpa Nutmeg: Heathcliff not only doesn't want to eat fish, he can't even stand to hear the word fish.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Amateur poet Wordsworth spoke almost exclusively like this, at times drifting into Painful Rhyme territory.
- Scare Dare: In "Scaredy Cats", The Catillac Cats are dared into spending the night at a Haunted House.
- Shout-Out: Inspector Gadget is frequently referenced.
- Sphere Eyes: Heathcliff and Sonja.
- Symbolic Blood: In one episode, Hector wearing a radiator as a suit of armor gets stabbed in a way that makes it leak coolant.
- The Starscream: Several episodes revolved around Hector trying to lead or take over the Catillac Cats. And failing. Miserably.
- íThree Amigos!/Terrible Trio: Hector, Wordsworth, and Mungo.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Riff Raff and Cleo. She's nearly twice his height.
- Walk Into Camera Obstruction:
- "Heathcliff Surprise" with Heathcliff as he is angrily walking inside his house to his bed.
- Walk This Way: Wordsworth (as The Igor) keeps saying this in "Monstro vs. the Wolf Hound", but no one takes him up on it.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In the episode "Terrible Tammy'", it is an Invoked Trope: Tammy, a female cat who's trying to bully Heathcliff and take over his territory, uses a conniving ploy on him so he couldn't hit Tammy because his honor would be tarnished. He does not want to fight her, but he doesn't back down from Tammy, either. His girlfriend, Sonja, however, doesn't have any qualms about giving Tammy a full-scale ass-kicking, the kind that Heathcliff would usually dish out upon Spike the bulldog!
- Your Cheating Heart: Riff Raff tried chasing after other girls at times. Never ended well.
- Proven in the episode, "Kitten Around".