The wonderful, wonderful cat.
Whenever he gets in a fix,
He reaches into his bag of tricks...
Felix the Cat,
The wonderful, wonderful cat.
You'll laugh so much, your sides will ache,
Your heart will go pitter pat,
Watching Felix, the wonderful cat!"
One of the longest-lasting animated cartoon characters, Felix the Cat, created by animator Otto Messmer, made his 1919 theatrical debut as one of several cartoon components in Paramount Screen Magazine split-reels, then graduated to a standalone series in 1922. He was the star of an experimental TV broadcast in 1928, and the basis for a classic (but unauthorized!) wall-clock design. Felix's adorable appearance, witty personality, love of high living, and comically versatile tail helped him achieve a level of popularity that he maintained until 1929, when Mickey Mouse's sound cartoons started to grow in popularity and studio founder/CEO Pat Sullivan refused to produce sound films, not helped by his descent into heavy alcoholism due to his wife's apparent suicide, and his subsequent death.
After a short lived attempt at a Felix revival with sound and color during 1936 via Van Beuren Studios, the cat's theatrical career was once again put on ice, but he still remained a popular character in newspapers and comic books. Eventually migrated to a popular TV series that ran from 1958 to 1961, run by former Fleischer and Famous animator Joe Oriolo, who had served as an assistant for Messmer on his Felix comics (incidentally, these cartoons were animated at Famous, by then named Paramount Cartoon Studios, an ironic twist given Paramount was Felix's original distributor). Despite having virtually nothing in common with the original cartoons, these TV shorts were a smash hit, and ultimately immortalized Felix as a pop-culture icon and introduced series mainstays like the Magic Bag of Tricks and the Professor. Jack Mercer, better known as Popeye, did all the character voices in the Trans-Lux Felix series.
Pat Sullivan, who ran the studio that made the Felix cartoons claimed during his lifetime to have invented Felix himself, but in truth he had virtually nothing to do with creating the character or actually drawing the cartoons or comics (according to Hal Walker, one of the original artists on the silent cartoons, he was barely ever present at his own studio). This conventional wisdom lasted until the 1960s, at which time the Sullivan estate's controlling interest in Felix was bought out. Due to no longer having to placate Sullivan's heirs, surviving staffers named longtime lead animator Otto Messmer as Felix's true creator. Tellingly, later Felix collections and shows give Otto Messmer full credit for creating the character (along with Joe Oriolo as the series "Godfather" for reviving the character) and give only a grudging mention of Sullivan in passing, not even listing him as a creator of Felix in the end credits of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat.
During the mid-1980s, Felix co-starred with fellow cartoon icon Betty Boop in a short-lived comic strip written and drawn by Mort Walker (better known as the creator of Beetle Bailey) and his sons. Felix also starred with his friends and foes in cartoon creation software shipped with Apple Macintosh Performa computers. In 1991, he got his big screen break in Felix the Cat: The Movie (which had already received a limited premiere in 1988 and 1989 but gotten shuffled back to The Shelf of Movie Languishment for two more years afterwards), written and directed by Don Oriolo in an attempt to bring the series back into the limelight. It was both a critical and box office flop but VHS rentals and TV airings allowed the film to gain a minor cult following.
In 1995, Don Oriolo teamed up with studio Film Roman to produce another revival of the Felix series, this one being an attempt to bring the series back to its urban, surrealistic roots, called The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. It was shown on CBS Saturday mornings after Felix appeared in commercial bumpers on that network. It was one of the most expensive shows produced by the studio, but it sadly underperformed in ratings, and was cancelled only 8 episodes into its second season. A comic book revival of the Joe Oriolo Felix, The New Adventures of Felix The Cat, was also attempted by Don Oriolo around this time, but it was cancelled after a mere seven issues, although various oneshot comics would follow in the years after.
After the end of Twisted Tales, the Felix series basically fell off the radar. It had a couple brief revivals, such as the Japanese/American-produced Baby Felix and Friends and the 2004 direct-to-DVD special Felix the Cat Saves Christmas, but nothing else came after that. There were a couple more direct to video holiday specials planned for the series, but they never saw the light of day, and then-series owner Don Oriolo's attempts to make a CGI TV revival went nowhere. In June 2014, the rights to Felix were bought by DreamWorks Animation (and then acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016 when they bought out DreamWorks Animation), but Don Oriolo says he is still involved with what they do with the character. So far, Dreamworks is only using the character as a fashion brand, and there don't seem to be plans to make a new cartoon series with the character, currently leaving the series hanging in limbo in the present. Until now, it was confirmed in December 2020 that Wildbrain and Dreamworks television animation are working on a new Felix the Cat TV series. Additionally, in 2021 Source Point Press announced a comic book series by Mike Federali and Tracy Yardley. However, in September 2022, it was announced that Rockership Entertainment would instead publish the comic which was released in November 7, 2023.
All extant Felix cartoons released prior to 1928 are currently in the public domain, with later entities set to enter it when 96 years pass since each cartoon's release.
Media Featuring Felix The Cat:
- Felix the Cat (Otto Messmer) (1919-30): The silent (and, by 1929, sound cartoons) that started it all. Paramount Pictures distributed the earliest cartoons from 1919 to 1921, while Winkler distributed the shorts from 1922 up to 1925, the year when Educational Pictures took over the distribution of the shorts. In 1928, Educational ended distribution and several shorts were reissued by First National Pictures. Copley Pictures distributed the sound cartoons from 1929 to 1931.
- Felix the Cat (Van Beuren) (1936): A brief three short revival of the series, made by the Van Beuren cartoon studio and distributed by RKO as part of Van Beuren's Rainbow Parade cartoon series.
- Felix the Cat (TV Series) (1958-61): Joe Oriolo's made-for-TV revival of the series, distributed by Trans-Lux. It ran for around 120 episodes, and was syndicated in the '90s.
- The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat (1995-97): A made-for-TV revival produced by Film Roman and aired on CBS, that attempted to be an amalgam of the Messmer and Oriolo eras of the series.
- Baby Felix and Friends (2000-01): A Spinoff Babies Anime series, animated by the now-defunct Radix for a release in Japan, lasting 65 five minute episodes.
- Felix the Cat (192366) The Felix the Cat newspaper comic strips, which ran for decades. A Sunday strip was also released alongside it, but was discontinued around 1943. The Sunday comics and comic books were always drawn by series creator Otto Messmer (although the newspaper comics up to 1929 were only partly drawn by Otto himself, with art recycled from the cartoons for artist Jack Bogle to use until Otto Messmer completely took over art duties from him) with artists Jim Tyer and Joe Oriolo moonlighting on them now and then. The daily strip ended in 1951, and Otto retired from the comic books around 1954, with his former assistant Joe Oriolo taking over the art work from then on.
- Felix the Cat (193847): The original Felix the Cat comic books, with stories occasionally released as part of Dell's Four Color comic series. Issues #15, 46, 77, 119, 135 and 162 feature Felix on the cover and have stories centered on him inside alongside other unrelated stories due to the comics anthology format.
- Popular Comics (1936-1948): Felix also made frequent appearances in this Dell anthology comic. All Issues from #98 to #142 had Felix stories included in them.
- Felix the Cat (194861): The second run of the Felix the Cat comics, upgrading to a standalone series. Initially distributed by Dell for the first 19 issues, but jumped to Toby Press for issues #20-#61, and then Harvey Comics for issues #62-#118.
- Felix the Cat And His Friends (1953) A three issue Spin-Off series, published under Toby Press.
- Felix's Nephews Inky and Dinky (195758): A 7 issue spinoff of the Harvey Felix the Cat comics, starring Felix's nephews Inky and Dinky. Published under Harvey Comics.
- Felix the Cat (1962): Dell started another short lived revival of the Felix comic series a year after Harvey ended their run on it, lasting only 12 issues.
- Betty Boop and Felix (198488): A crossover newspaper comic featuring Betty Boop, with Felix starring as her house pet in place of her dog Pudgy. The comic was distributed by King Features Syndicate and was written by Brian, Morgan, Greg and Neal Walker, the sons of Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker. Curiously, Felix does not talk in this comic, and the Magic Bag is absent.
- The New Adventures of Felix the Cat note (1991): A 7 issue comic revival of the series.
- The Nine Lives of Felix the Cat (199192): A five issue series distributed by Harvey Comics, reprinting classic Felix stories.
- Felix the Cat (Harvey Classics): A 7 issue series that also reprinted classic Felix the Cat comic books.
- Felix the Cat in Black and White: An 8 issue series, publishing new Felix comic stories in a cheaper B&W format.
- The Comic Adventures of Felix the Cat (1983): A pocket sized reprint of vintage Felix newspaper comics.
- Nine Lives to Live: A Classic Felix Celebration by Otto Messmer: A 1996 compilation book covering many of the 1920's and early 1930's newspaper comics.
- Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat Keeps On Walkin' (1991): A compilation of the 50's era Felix comic books.
- Felix: The Great Comic Tails: A compilation book by Yoe Books, bringing together several of the 50's era comic book stories.
- How to Draw Felix the Cat and His Friends (1992): A oneshot shot that tells you how to draw Felix and co.
- Felix the Cat Video Wizard (1992): A tie-in comic book to Hudson Soft's NES video game.
- Felix the Cat in True Crime Stories (2000)
- Felix Cat-A-Strophic Wrestling Spectacular! (2000)
- Felix the Cat's Blockbuster Movie Bonanza (2001)
- Felix the Cat's TV Extravaganza (2002)
- Amazing Colossal Felix the Cat (2003)
- Felix the Cat House of 1000 Ha Ha's! (2003)
- Felix the Cat: Buy This Comic! (2005)
- Felix the Cat Silly Stories (2005)
- Felix the Cat's Greatest Hits (2002): Reprint book published by Dark Horse Comics.
- Felix the Cat (2023)
- Felix: The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat (1991): An esteemed history book about the series and its artists prior to the early 90'snote authored by esteemed animator and animation historian John Canemaker.
- Felix the Cat Paintings: A book compiling Don Oriolo's own paintings of Felix the Cat.
- Felix the Cat (NES, Game Boy): A tie-in game developed by Hudson Soft and released in 1992 (with a Game Boy port following in 1993), based on the Joe Oriolo series.
- Felix The Cat By Dragon Co., AKA Felix The Cat 3 (NES): An unlicensed platformer by Dragon Co. starring Felix, released in 1998. The plot is based on the Van Beuren Studios Felix short The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg.
- Big Top's Cartoon Toolbox, starring Felix the Cat (1994): A cartoon maker starring the Joe Oriolo era characters.
- Baby Felix Creativity Center (1997): A PC art game.
- Baby Felix Halloween (2001): A Game Boy Color platformer game tie-in to Baby Felix & Friends.
- Baby Felix Tennis (PlayStation): A tie-in game based on the Baby Felix & Friends cartoon.
General Tropes for the whole Franchise:
- Adaptational Personality Change: Felix's personality is very inconsistent throughout the franchise. You have the rascally silent era Felix, the meek, kiddy Van Beuren Felix, the jovial and genial Joe Oriolo Felix, the teenager like Twisted Tales Felix, etc.
- Alternate Continuity: The Felix series is notable for the utter lack of consistency in itself, and it has several different continuities in it as a result. The only things that truly stay consistent with all of them is that they star Felix himself (and even then, his personality is frequently subject to change) and that they often (but not always) share the Magic Bag of Tricks between them:
- The Silent Era Felixnote , which is unmistakably set in a surreal, comedic caricature of 1920's urban culture, with some fairy tale and fantasy elements sandwiched in. Felix is portrayed as a nomadic Anti-Hero who acts on his own in the bulk of these cartoons, with recurring side characters being kept minimal and only sporadically appearing. The newspaper comics and comic books are all derived from this era, but there is an overlapping period between them and the Oriolo Felix due to Joe Oriolo taking over the art and writing chores for them around 1954 and running them up to the early 60's.
- The Van Beuren Era Felix (released as part of the studios Rainbow Parade cartoon series), which is set in Disney-esque, pure fairy tale settings with little of the surrealism and absolutely none of the urban nature of the Silent era shorts. This Felix is portrayed as a meek little kid who gets overwhelmed by large casts of oneshot characters. This is also the shortest running incarnation of the character, lasting a meager three short cartoons.
- The Joe Oriolo (and later, Don Oriolo) Era Felix (sometimes referred to as the Trans-Lux Felix), the longest running and most well known incarnation of the series. This era has such a different art style, tone, and set of characters and locales from the Silent cartoons that the only thing that ties them together is that they both star Felix the Cat, and even then, the Oriolo Felix has a considerably different personality than the Silent era Felix. Felix occasionally gets to use his surreal abilities from the silent cartoons (such as detaching his tail to use it as a disguise in "The Magic Bag", and morphing it into a fist to punch back arrows in "Felix Out West") but they're downplayed in favor of using the benefits offered by the Magic Bag of Tricks, which was introduced in this series. The Movie, Baby Felix & Friends, Felix The Cat Saves Christmas and the NES video game are also set in this continuity.
- The Twisted Tales of Felix series, which attempts to be an amalgam of the Silent and Oriolo eras of the series, being a retro cartoon throwback to the original Felix cartoons, as well as cartoons of the 1930s, such as those by Fleischer Studios. The Felix of this series is fully aware that he's a cartoon character.
- The Betty Boop & Felix newspaper comics, where Felix acts as a normal, non speaking house pet to Betty Boop, basically replacing Pudgy the dog from Betty's own cartoons. The Felix of this continuity was a lot closer in personality to Garfield in that he was given acerbic things to say via thought balloons. He never spoke and had neither a detachable tail nor his Magic Bag of Tricks. Betty was very much the Jon Arbuckle to Felix's Garfield, an owner & her pet cat, and a lot of the humor in this strip relied mostly on name-dropping current celebrities and puns. Betty herself was the main focus of the comic, with Felix himself usually being off to the side. Eventually, Felix was dropped from the strip altogether when King Features Syndicate realized they didn't actually have the rights to use him, making it a solo Betty Boop comic from then on.
- And then you have the oddity that is Felix the Cat Live!, a very obscure live-action TV show which has almost no ties to any of the previous continuities (although the classic theme song is still used), and portrays Felix the Cat in live action costume.
- Art Evolution: Felix has gone through several redesigns as the franchise ran its course. His early design was almost foxlike in appearance, with a big snout and corners that could poke out the eye of a tiger. By 1924, animator Bill Nolan redesigned Felix into his more familiar rubber hosed form in order to make him cuter looking and easier to animate. The design used in the Joe Oriolo cartoons and almost all Felix works afterward (save Twisted Tales of Felix, which reuses the Bill Nolan design) is a slicker take on Felix's classic rubberhose appearance, giving him longer legs and stylizing him more.
- Badass Adorable: Felix isn't necessarily the fighting type, but when push comes to shove, he can and will fight back, and he pretty much always comes out on top, with or without the Magic Bag.
- Bravado Song: In "Bold King Cole", Felix and King Cole sing, after escaping the ghosts, "We're not afraid of anything, we're not afraid at all! We're not afraid of anything, we're not afraid at all!". They're Instantly Proven Wrong, however, when they run in fear of two mice in armour fighting.
- Breakout Character: Felix was originally conceived as a oneshot character for the film Feline Follies, which was made solely because another animator was tardy with his work for the Paramount Screen Magazine, and Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer agreed to fill in with a cartoon of their own. Felix's debut was so well liked by audiences that it immediately took off as a hit, graduated to his own standalone series and became one of the most iconic and influential cartoon characters of all time.
- Captain Ersatz: Felix probably has the most ersatzes of any fictional character, including Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Foxy. Ironically, one of them (i.e. Mickey Mouse) would totally dethrone Felix in popularity. Ironically, Felix himself was heavily based on Charlie Chaplin.
- Cats Are Mean: Subverted. Felix is a jovial, helpful character in all of his incarnations, even in his rascally silent years, and rarely ever does anything that could be considered mean.
- Cat Stereotype: The "black cats bring bad luck" stereotype is subverted with Felix. Indeed, his very name (Latin for "luck") alludes to it.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: Felix has starred in decades worth of newspaper comics and comic books, which are based on either the classic era Felix (pre-1958) or the Joe Oriolo era Felix. The newspaper comics made prior to 1929 even reused artwork directly from the silent cartoons and lifted stories wholesale from them as a result.
- Cute Kitten: Felix is downright adorable looking, especially once he was redesigned.
- Disneyfication: The Van Beuren and Joe Oriolo era of the series gave this treatment to the franchise, throwing out the surreal and darker elements of the Silent era films in favor of more cutesy style cartoons and Black-and-White Morality. In fact, the director of the three Van Beuren shorts, Burt Gillett, was a former animator and director at Disney. The Joe Oriolo Felix is even given a Mickey Mouse-esque falsetto voice. Twisted Tales briefly tried to avert this by going into a more surreal, Denser and Wackier direction, but its failure in ratings and turbulent production (namely then-owner Don Oriolo's dislike of the first season and its utter lack of ties to his father's take on Felix forcing his hand into its creative process in the second season) ultimately caused the franchise to relapse back to the softer Joe Oriolo incarnation of the character, both before and after Twisted Tales was cancelled.
- Disney School of Acting and Mime:
- Felix the Cat is one of the earliest examples of using this in animation, and it's justified, since almost all of the original B&W films were silent cartoons. Otto Messmer had studied actor Charlie Chaplin extensively (even working on a cartoon series based on him prior to creating Felix) and realized how important it was to get this kind of expressive acting into drawings. While the cartoons do employ speech balloons for the characters to talk, a lot of the personality is conveyed through the broad, hammy poses and animation.
- The Joe Oriolo cartoons and its spinoffs avoid using this due to their shoestring animation budget.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Feline Follies is so different from the rest of the series, that one would be surprised to know its the debut of Felix, who is a relatively normal housecat named Master Tom in the cartoon. Heck, the silent cartoons are so drastically different from the rest of the Felix series in tone and style that the only thing that ties them together is that they all star Felix. Also, there was no Magic Bag of Tricks at first—that iconic element of the series wasn't introduced until the Joe Oriolo era, when the series was 40 years into its life. There are also very few major or recurring characters aside from Felix himself and Kitty Kat, and no recurring antagonists—often, there wasn't any real antagonist at all in the original films. An urban and topical subtext is often present in the silent cartoons, which is something that would end up being dropped in the post-b&w Felix shorts (save Twisted Tales) in favor of pure fantasy and surrealism.
- Excuse Plot: Plots are never the central focus of the series, which are always wafer-thin, simplistic setups for either the characters antics or the gags.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: In nearly all incarnations of the series, Felix's world has talking animals and humans living alongside each other in contemporary settings, with fantasy characters like King Neptune and Old King Cole appearing, surreal or sometimes supernatural phenomenon like ghosts, fairies and evil witches appearing, and Felix sometimes using a Magic Carpet as a transport. The Oriolo era keeps the fairy tale and fantasy elements, but also introduces science fiction elements like a mad scientist who wants Felix's Magic Bag of Tricks, a Brain in a Jar cyborg who lives on the moon, and the occasional encounter with friendly aliens like Martin Martian. It should be noted that these elements weren't quite as prominent in the silent cartoons as it was in the later Felix series, as the early cartoons were more of a surreal cartoon caricature of 1920's urban culture than outright fantasy, but there were a handful of episodes that were pure fantasy (I.e. Felix in Fairyland).
- Friend to All Living Things: One of the most enduring traits of Felix through the series is his kind hearted, altruistic nature; if someone is in need of aid, be it a kid baseball player who got wrongfully thrown in jail and needs a stand-in for his game, Uncle Tom at the mercy of Simon Legree, a clown about to commit suicide, a lost pet elephant who needs to be returned to her Rajah, or a Princess whose kingdom was overthrown by an evil dictator and his army of robots, he will not hesitate to help, and he shows virtually no signs of maliciousness or veangefulness (although he was a lot more rascally in his silent cartoons). At most, he just gets agitated at someone whenever they wrong him. He even holds no ill will towards his arch enemy, the Professor, and even helps him out if he winds up in trouble.
- The Van Beuren Felix plays this trait up even more; in the opening of "The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg", Felix is handing out gold coins by the bucketful to the local poor, thanks to the help of his golden goose and her endless supply of golden eggs. And when the goose gets kidnapped by Captain Kid, her eggs are the last thing on Felix's mindhe's genuinely concerned for her safety, and he even tries to put up a fight against the pirate before he captures her.
- In certain levels of the NES video game, Felix gets the ability to ride on turtles and dolphins if you grab a power-up, and they help him by attacking enemies for him.
- Four-Fingered Hands: Nearly all of the characters have their hands drawn this way.
- Funny Animal: Felix is this in virtually all incarnations of the series, save in his earliest appearances and Betty Boop & Felix, where he was portrayed as a normal housecat.
- Irony: He's a black cat who helps anyone he can, an utter defiance of the stereotype of black cats bringing bad luck. Granted, Felix doesn't always have the best luck himself (especially in the silent films), but it's the thought that counts.
- Long Runner: Felix has been around since 1919, making him the oldest surviving animated cartoon star, and he's done a lot to earn that reputation; are talking about a character who has starred in over 200 theatrical cartoons (most of which have not survived), well over 200 episodes during the Trans Lux era, two modern TV revivals (with a third one seemingly in the works), a feature length movie and a direct-to-video film, decades worth of newspaper and magazine comics, an absolutely monstrous amount of merchandise, and a live action kids' series to top it all off.
- Medium Awareness: The Silent era Felix is implied to be aware he's in a cartoon, considering he can manipulate the symbols and words he thinks up to his advantage, such as in "Felix Saves The Day", where he climbs up four question marks he created to reach a jail cell. Twisted Tales makes it absolutely clear that Felix knows he's a cartoon character—"The Underwater Kingdom" even has him remembering one of his past cartoon adventures, specifically the Van Beuren era short "Neptune Nonsense".
- Minimalist Cast: In the Silent and Joe Oriolo cartoons, the cast is basically reduced to Felix himself and a couple other characters at best, with the odd recurring extra. Felix is the only major character in the bulk of the Silent cartoons, as Otto Messmer felt it was important for the series to have his personality be the center of attention and not get overwhelmed by a cast of extras. Even the handful of recurring characters present, like Kitty Kat and Felix's nephews Inky and Dinky, were only sparsely used in the original cartoons. And the Joe Oriolo cartoons only have Professor, Poindexter, Rock Bottom and Master Cylinder as major recurring players. There's the odd side-character that pops up now and again, such as Vavoom and Martin the Martian, but their appearances are infrequent at best. The Van Beuren shorts had Felix alone as a major player, with a rotating cast of new side characters around him. Averted with Twisted Tales of Felix, as that series has a much larger cast of major and supporting characters.
- Minimalism: Both the silent cartoons and the Joe Oriolo cartoons have very simplistic cartoon artwork. The original cartoons in particular usually have backgrounds with almost no detail at all except for a few basic shapes.
- Negative Continuity: Nearly all of the Felix cartoons and comics have no continuity at all—for starters, Felix committed suicide in his first film, but is back no worse for wear in future films. The Oriolo era is the sole exception, varying between having some very light continuity going on in them to having no continuity at all, due to some of its episodes having story elements that completely contradict each other. Twisted Tales has the occasional continuity nod here and there, but it mostly falls back on negative continuity as well.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: Felix never has a consistent job throughout the franchise, due in part to the fast and loose continuity and varying settings and timelines of some of the cartoons. In Felix Turns the Tide, he works for (or lives with) a Deli shop owner, and joins up with the army in the same cartoon. In "Felix in Hollywood", he lives with a starving actor and eventually gets a job as an actor himself. In episodes that star Poindexter like "Felix Babysits", the Professor hires Felix as a babysitter, and in other episodes even hires him as a lab assistant. In "Stone Age Felix", he's briefly seen holding an office job, but in episodes like "Detective Thinking Hat" and "The Invisible Professor", he acts as a private detective. In an episode of Twisted Tales, "Five Minute Meatball", Felix works as a meatball delivery boy.
- Rogues Gallery: The silent cartoons rarely had any real villains at all, and certainly no recurring ones, but starting with the Joe Oriolo cartoons, the series started building up a modest group of villains to challenge Felix. The Professor, Rock Bottom and Master Cylinder, all hailing from the Oriolo cartoons, are considered the main antagonists of the franchise, accompanied by a few minor or oneshot villains like General Clang, Gulpo (King of the Blobs), the ranch owner Bart and The Duke of Zill. Twisted Tales added a much larger roster of new villains due to its liberal use of the Villain of the Week formula, such as Peking Duck, The Sludge King, Jeepers Creepers, Fuzzy Bunny and Oscar.
- Rubberhose Limbs: The Trope Maker, introduced by both Otto Messmer and Bill Nolan in the original silent cartoons. The standard character designs for the series rely on this, but some characters avoid the template, such as the stylized, UPA-esque characters introduced in the Oriolo era series.
- Shades of Conflict:
- The silent cartoons tended to have Grey-and-Gray Morality, since there are very few clear cut villains—most of the humans Felix encounters are jerks at worst (although there was the odd exception, such as Simon Legree in Uncle Tom's Crabbin) and Felix himself is mostly just fighting for survival or has a self serving agenda and is hardly an ideal hero, especially since he tends to earn the ire of humans or other animals (i.e. mice, chickens) by stealing their food or trying to eat them.
- The Oriolo cartoons, on the other hand, rely entirely on Black-and-White Morality in their conflicts.
- Significant Name: Felix's name is Latin for "Luck", which fits the characters defiance of the "black cats bring bad luck" stereotype.
- Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: The Van Beuren and Joe Oriolo series, as well as Felix The Cat Live and Betty Boop and Felix are all Type 1 (In Name Only) takes on the original Felix series, with elements of Type 3 (Pragmatic Adaptation) forced on the former two due to restrictions imposed on those cartoons that didn't exist during the original silent cartoons. Twisted Tales of Felix is a Type 2 (Recognizable Adaptation) take on the series, merging elements of the silent cartoons and Joe Oriolo cartoons together.
- Sliding Scale of Animal Cast: The series mostly falls into type 3 (Animal Cast With Humans As Minor Characters), but the Joe Oriolo cartoons fall into type 5 (Equally Human and Animal Cast), and Betty Boop & Felix and Felix the Cat Live fall into type 6 (Human Cast With Animal Protagonist).
- Sliding Scale of Animation Elaborateness: The silent cartoons are basically pre-TV Limited Animation, while the Joe Oriolo cartoons, Twisted Tales, Baby Felix & Friends and Felix The Cat Saves Christmas fall into the "Planned limited television Animation" side of the scale. The Van Beuren shorts and The Movie land on the "Traditional Animation in regular feature films" part of the scale.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The series mostly falls on the Funny Animal part of the Animal Anthropomorphism scale.
- Sliding Scale of Continuity: Most of the franchise falls into Level 1 (Negative Continuity) but the Joe Oriolo cartoons and Twisted Tales occasionally fall into Level 3 (Subtle Continuity) while still having mostly nonexistent continuity.
- Sliding Scale of Endings: The silent cartoons and Twisted Tales tend to end with bittersweet and occasionally downer endings, sometimes ending with either a Happy Ending or just No Ending at all. The Joe Oriolo cartoons always end with a Happy Ending without exception.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: It varies between each series. The silent cartoons and Twisted Tales varied between both sides, but mostly leaned towards the Cynicism side of the scale, but the Joe Oriolo cartoons land squarely on the Idealistic side of the scale.
- Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: Falls on the "Less Plot Than Characters" side. The series always relies on wafer thin plots that are a formality for the characters and their antics.
- Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: The series lands squarely on the Surreal end of the scale, especially in regards to the Silent cartoons and Twisted Tales.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Felix falls right on the silliness end of the scale.
- Sliding Scale of Visuals Versus Dialogue: The series zigzags between both ends of the scale. The silent and golden age cartoons are heavily dependent on visuals (especially the Silent cartoons by necessity, which only had sporadic dialogue in the form of speech balloons). The Joe Oriolo cartoons are heavily dependent on dialogue, since they used Limited Animation. Twisted Tales went back and forth between using both approaches.
- Spelling for Emphasis: In one episode, Felix is cheered on by people chanting, "Felix! Felix! F-E-L-I-X! Yay, Felix!".
- Suddenly Speaking: In the later B&W cartoons when they briefly upgraded to sound, he is technically given a voice, but it's a very unintelligible one. The three Van Beuren shorts and the Tras-Lux TV cartoons give him more consistent voice work, especially in the latter.
- Thinking Tic: Felix's famous "Thinking Walk", where he paces around, leaning forward with his arms behind his back while he thinks about what to do next. It's considered to be the first example of an animated character being shown to have thoughts and emotions rather than just existing for gags, and has appeared in virtually every incarnation of the character.
- Universal-Adaptor Cast: Felix can show up in any place or time, past or present, depending on what the stories demand. Otto Messmer cited this as a major aspect of why the series was so popular.Otto Messmer: "...he could be an alley cat one time, save the day for the losing Yankee Baseball Club the next, and then be the pet of a rich princess. He would go to Arabia, to Mars - not just the barnyard. That's what made him famous."
- Vague Age: Like many famous cartoon characters, Felix's age is never made clear in any of the cartoons. This is most notable in the Joe Oriolo series, where he is shown to be living by himself and is trusted by the Professor to look after his nephew Poindexter, but is occasionally referred to as a kid. The Van Beuren shorts consistently portrayed him as being kid like in personality, but apparently old enough to own his own house and run his own business.
- Vocal Dissonance: Felix has gone through numerous voice actors, and there is little if any attempt at all to keep the voices truly consistent with each other, most egregiously with the Twisted Tales Felix, who went through two completely different sounding actors across seasons.
- Walking the Earth: Felix is a nomad most of the time, frequently traveling all around the Earth, and he doesn't have a consistent place of residence in any of the series.
- Weirdness Magnet: Felix himself isn't too unusual of a character as far as a talking and walking cat goes, but he attracts a lot of bizarre events and characters his way throughout a lot of his cartoons.
- White Gloves: Felix is notable for not wearing them, and the numerous times his hands disappear against his body demonstrate the problem this trope addresses.