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When the fiancee is away, Tina Foster will play. Rowr.
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The playful counterpart to the Cheshire Cat Grin, often used by The Ditz, the cute Kawaiiko or a more normal character being playful or mischievous rather than manipulative or creepy. This expression is often seen on The Gadfly, and is often a warning that they're about to pull their antics on someone. The Manga style is just more often played as cute or as crackful. They're different in that the Cat Smile rarely shows teeth (except Cute Little Fangs, if the character has them), while the Cheshire Cat Grin shows too many. Also known as "Colon Three Smile". That is, :3. There is also the "Lion Smile", also known as >:3.

The Cat Smile often overlaps with other Japanese Media Tropes and facial expressions, like Puppy-Dog Eyes for pleading. Oddly, this is not usually the default expression for Cat Girls. It's fairly common to see Eyes Always Shut with a Cat Smile for characters who are more "passively" happy or a tad ditzy/confident in their shenanigans. Half lidded eyes bring the Cat Smile its closest to the Chesire Cat Grin.

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We have an emoticon for this on the TV Tropes Forum, parsed with "[[waii]]".

A subtrope of Manga Effects.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Acchi Kocchi: Mayoi Hakase is always seen with this.
  • Ah! My Goddess: Keiichi's sister Megumi maintains this as a default expression, though it's a subtle curve rather than a complete alteration of human anatomy.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Tina Foster (pictured above) does this from time to time whenever she's feeling a little...frisky around Kaoru.
  • Aokana: Four Rhythm Across the Blue: Tobisawa not only does the cat smile but has a tendency toward cat naps and meow puns.
  • Bamboo Blade: Kirino Chiba does this occasionally, when she's at her most cheerful and energetic.
  • Ban G Dream!: This is Lisa Imai's default expression, thanks to the way her lips are designed.
  • Berserk: Isma, one of Guts’ later companions dons one of these smiles when she turns into her Merrow form.
  • Black Cat: Unsurprisingly, Train does this in his sillier moments.
  • Of Blend-S, one of the favorite expressions of Hideri.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Kero's default expression. Unless he's mad.
  • A Certain Magical Index: It's practically the default smile for titular heroine, Index. And she smiles a lot.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: Kuroko often has this expression, usually just before planning something perverted. This usually involves her Onee-sama Mikoto.
  • Chrono Crusade: Rosette makes this expression occasionally.
    • And Shader, the Cat Girl Demon has this expression almost constantly.
  • CLANNAD: Youhei Sunohara has one whenever he's in one of his lighter moods.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Edward has one when she looks up at Spike while telling him that Jet asked her to take care of his bonzai trees.
  • Denki-gai no Honya-san: Kameko has a perpetual cat smile. Fittingly, she's one of the more sly members of the cast.
  • A Devil and Her Love Song: Kanda Yuusuke.
  • Digimon Adventure: Gatomon. And as implied from her name, it's a literal cat smile. However, it also serves to visually reinforce that she's mischievous character.
  • Dog Days: Nanami does this on occasion, quite appropriate since she's the chosen hero for a kingdom of cat people.
  • Otaku Erika Karisawa from Durarara!! often sports one of these.
    • Kururi Orihara has one when she's looking for Kasuka from the TV broadcast.
    • Izaya also gets in on the action when taunting Anri. Taken Up to Eleven in the Minidura parody manga where he's almost constantly doing this.
  • In the horror manga Emerging, Mori surprises Onotera with one of these while he's raging about Japan's lack of preparedness for a major disease outbreak... he's even further surprised when she starts gushing over the possibility that she could get a chance to study a disease as rare and deadly as Ebola.
  • Fate/stay night: Fujimura Taiga (Tiger) does this a lot.
  • FLCL: One of Haruko's expressions.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: When the animation is Super-Deformed, Alphonse's helmet can appear to have one of these.
  • Togusa from Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human Error Processor. He expresses this to gloat his seniority and experience over his newbie partner Azuma, whose overconfidence ended up angering a woman they were transporting home.
    • The Fuchikoma occasionally sports one while being mischievous. An impressive achievement, considering it lacks a mouth.
    • Batou tends to have one whenever he's in a good mood, and even Aramaki, of all people, sports one now and then when he's really sticking it to a political opponent.
  • Gunsmith Cats: Minnie-May Hopkins, whenever she's feeling sneaky and/or amorous.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: Ayumu Nishizawa sports one in episode 37 in the first season while gloating that she has a photo sticker with Hayate.
    • Hayate also gets one in episode 39.
  • Hellsing: Schrodinger would do several of these, given that he's a Cat Boy
  • In an episode of the Hetalia: Axis Powers anime, England uses it in a slightly mean-spirited way towards America, laughing a little behind his hand.
  • The High School Life of a Fudanshi: Rumi and Sakaguchi tend to have this type of smile when they're really happy.
  • Himouto! Umaru-chan: Sylphynford Tachibana has one of these as her default smile.
  • Hitomi-chan Is Shy with Strangers: Kaoru sometimes sports one, especially when she's mischievously peeping on Yuu and Hitomi having a cute moment together.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Killua does this frequently. Sometimes, he even gains Sprouting Ears and a cat tail.
  • Hyakko has newspaper photographer, Koma.
  • I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying has Hajime whenever he's really happy.
  • The Idolmaster - The Futami Twins do this sometimes, mostly of the smug variety. And THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls has Cat Girl Miku Maekawa sporting this expression, often with Cute Little Fangs. But the one who sports this smile the most is Genki Girl Kirari Moroboshi, who is almost never seen without it!
  • In/Spectre: Kuro Sakuragawa does this frequently when she's feeling smug or happy.
  • Jormungand: Koko has this as a frequent expression.
  • K: Neko has this as her default facial expression, given that she's a cat or can at least morph into one, it's appropriate.
  • Kanon: Sawatari Makoto shows off her cat smile many times in the 2006 anime version, usually whenever she's getting ready to prank Yuichi. This is also the default expression of her pet cat, Piro.
  • Yui Hirasawa in the K-On! Omake.
  • Kuroko's Basketball: Shinji Koganei sports the Cat Smile constantly in a rarer male example.
  • Alister Agrew in all incarnations of Last Exile, being much more playful and mischievous that it would be suggested by her outward appearance, constantly sports it when no one's looking.
  • Love Live! Sunshine!!: The eccentric, wealthy half-Japanese and half Italian-American Mari Ohara has this as her default expression. The times she doesn't wear it tend to fall under OOC Is Serious Business.
  • Lucky Star:
    • This is Konata's default expression, fitting with her playful nature and her tendency to be The Gadfly (especially towards Kagami). When her eyes are shut, her expression is more like ¦3.
    • Konata's cousin Yui also has one by default, fitting with her Genki Girl personality. Her younger sister Yutaka will sometimes have one as well, though not nearly as often.
    • Akira tends to sport a cat smile whenever she's putting on her Genki Girl facade, but it disappears when she shows her true colors.
  • Lupin III is a rare MALE example. When he's smiling without showing teeth, it's a playful, long lion smile. When he shows teeth, it's a Cheshire Cat Grin.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: This is the default expression of Mokona. If he/she/it isn't smiling like this, it's a sign something serious is about to occur (especially in the manga.)
  • Lotte from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, typical for a genki catgirl. Image
  • Manabi Straight!: Mika Inamori has this as her only expression. Along with the way her ever-present ribbon looks, it may point to a certain design motif.
  • Genki Girl Kana in Minami-ke almost always has one of these.
  • Mon Colle Knights: Rokuna.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: "Chimp" Sarutobi has a constant cat, or in this case, chimp smile due to his admittedly ape-like appearance and behavior.
  • My-Otome: Used almost constantly by Dark-Skinned Blond Mahya Blythe. Strangely, it's Akane who winds up in a Cat Girl costume, and she never does this trope.
  • In Naruto, Deidara has one at one point.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: This is how Ken Akamatsu draws Kuu Fei.
    • In her case, it's more signifying her naivete or complete lack of understanding.
    • Nagase Kaede as well, who also sports Eyes Always Shut.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Misato does this during her trademark habit of screaming and shuddering after downing an entire can of beer in one go.
  • Ninja Nonsense: Shinobu spends about half an episode perpetually doing this while dressed as a Cat Girl.
  • Nyoron Churuya-san: Churuya, the Super-Deformed fan-character version of Tsuruya from Haruhi Suzumiya, has this as her only facial expression, nyoro~n.
  • Ojojojo: In chapter 21.1, Haru of all people does this when she realizes that Akane has a crush on Chris.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In the episode "Ditto's Mysterious Mansion", Misty does this briefly while making a snarky comment.
    • Pikachu has this as his default expression.
    • Cilan, but only in Pokémon Adventures. Sun in the SM arc sports this too.
  • This is practically a trademark for Bkub Okawa, as illustrated in Pop Team Epic.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Kyubey wears this expression at all times, even when something unspeakably horrible is going on.
  • Ranma ½: Ryoga does this a couple of times in the episode where he's possessed by Maomolin the ghost cat.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi Tsukino gives one to Luna in Episode 31 when she playfully mocks the latter's words of wisdom from earlier at the start of the episode.
    • She sports another one in Episode 107 when she finds out that Chibiusa has a crush on one of her classmates in her art class.
  • Saki: Strengthening her Cat Girl image, Kana has a cat smile that rarely goes away.
  • Sankarea: This seems to be Furuya's default expression.
  • Sgt. Frog: Koyuki wears this smile nearly as often as Konata does.
    • Tamama also does this too...that is, until something ticks him off.
  • Sket Dance: Sasuke Tsubaki in his cat costume has it as a fixed expression.
  • Soul Eater: Blair often sports this expression when she's in a good mood or seducing Soul, this also alludes to her Cat Girl status.
  • Sunday Without God: Dee sports this expression when she's feeling particularly mischievous or whimsical, and sometimes even has a Cute Little Fang to go with it.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Ryoko does this several times in the OVAs, most notably during the "crash landing" sequence at the beginning of the series.
  • Trigun: In the anime, Vash does this when the fights are being played for laughs (reads, just the first few episodes).
    • Milly gets one near the start of the seventh episode while drunk and half-asleep, claiming to have an unusual physiology including "a separate stomach just for cake and ice cream!"
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-: During comedic moments, Fai often wears this expression, and considering that he's been identified as "kitty" on several occasions (once using it as his alias in a race), it makes perfect sense.
  • Tsukihime: Default facial expression of Neco-Arc. Arcueid pulls this off herself on occasion. Surprisingly, Shiki manages this as well in the manga. Although it's very subtle, to his credit.
  • Merle, a Cat Girl from The Vision of Escaflowne does one of these when she first sees Hitomi's pendant, and of course Merle attempts to steal it.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Botan would often make this face... in pretty much every occasion too.

    Asian Animation 
  • Careless S. from Happy Heroes sometimes makes this smile when he's content.
  • In Nana Moon, the characters' mouths often turn into this shape. In Keke's case, it might be to go with her cat cap.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Sixie from episode 32 of Flying Island: The Sky Adventure is often shown with this kind of smile.
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Makkhi Makkhi!", Samosa's smile morphs into this shape when he gives Laddoo Havaldar a hug.

    Comic Books 
  • Ocelotina in #4 of Empowered (see p155, you may miss it)
  • In Superman #338, Supergirl does the cat smile when Brainiac hits himself with his shrinking ray and disappears.
  • In Who is Superwoman?, Alura In-Ze's chief of security and secretary -Thara Ak-Var and Lyra Kam-Par, respectively- are having an argument which lasts until Alura tells Thara off. Lyra leaves the room, but not without first turning around and giving Thara a cat-like "You're in hot water now" smirk.
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    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: In chapter 64, after playing in front of a crowd Asuka kissed Shinji, informed him that he and she had a date with a bed right now and grinned a grin that "would have done credit to a Great White shark."
  • Advice and Trust: Asuka displayed a very playful, smug and self-satisfied grin after being kissed by Shinji in front of all their classmates in chapter 8.
  • Evangelion 303: Asuka wears one when she is feeling real naughty (usually with Shinji). Some examples hereand here.
  • In Children of an Elder God, Asuka smirked wickedly after kissing Shinji for first time.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Asuka has a huge scary grin when her daughter Ryuko receives a prize for her musical accomplishments:
    Far from looking bored, in this picture Asuka had a maniacal grin on her face, holding her daughter in a headlock while she flashed the camera a V sign with her other hand.
  • X-Men: The Early Years: In "Can't Fight This Feeling", Hank and Bobby grin mischievously when they decide to ruin Warren and Candy's make-out session.
    "What should we do?"
    "We could always go bother Warren and Candy in the parking lot?" Hank suggested, an evil gleam in his eye.
    Bobby grinned maliciously. "Oh! This is going to be the best birthday ever."

    Film 

    Literature 

    Role Playing Games 

    Video Games 
  • Shinobu from Ensemble Stars! does this in some of his card art and CGs, highlighting his childish enthusiasm, excitability or mischievousness, depending on context.
  • Pascal from Tales of Graces does this from time to time, mostly when she's trying to "touch" Sophie or playing matchmaker between any of the party members.
    • While her Fujishima artwork and ingame model don't display one, most of Rose's in-game artwork (from both Zestiria and Tales of Link among others) shows her with a cat smile by default.
  • Twisted Wonderland has Chen'ya and Cheka, both of them feline beastfolk with mischievous and sunny dispositions respectively.
  • The Civilian's character portrait in Castle Crashers.
  • Etna from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is shown to have this face very often. It could also be said to be her default face.
  • There is a stuffed headcrab toy that has this expression. Headcrabs don't even have faces!
  • Minato, of all people, gets one after Yukari tells him and Junpei not to look up her skirt during their monorail mission in the manga adaption of Persona 3.
  • NOVA, the comet from Kirby Super Star that grants wishes, has its mouth shaped like this.
    • This is also Chef Kawasaki's default expression. In Super Star Ultra (but not plain old Super Star), he has this smile in each one of his animations, even after you beat the mustard out of him.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Shizune is seen using this expression several times.
  • One of Satori's expressions, from Touhou Project
  • Mad Scientist Cat Girl Kokonoe from BlazBlue, for obvious reasons.
    • Ditzy, distracted Cat Girl Taokaka occasionally has this face.
    • In a similar vein, squirrel girl Makoto Nanaya will sometimes have this expression plastered across her face. Sometimes, combined with very large, glistening Puppy-Dog Eyes.
  • Acerola, the Ghost Trial Captain and eventual Elite Four from Pokémon Sun and Moon is often seen sporting one.
  • Super Robot Wars Compact 2: Excellen Browning. Especially in the Inspectors.
  • Recette from Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale displays a subtle one in the pause menu.
  • Some of the Podoboos in Yoshi's Island. raocow has taken to calling the latter "Catoboos" as a result.
  • Porings and their kin from Ragnarok Online.
  • Chocolat of Solatorobo does it most often, despite being a Caninu (dog person). Elh also does one once or twice, though any Felineko is likely capable of it.
  • Lampshaded in don't take it personally babe, it just ain't your story when Nolan asked if this kind of face is even posible. Akira shows him that it is, but the player never sees it.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the world inside the Pyro's eyes contains a cat, a dog and a hamster with these.
  • The protagonist of They Bleed Pixels smiles like this every time she transforms. Depending on your viewpoint, it's either oddly cute or incredibly eerie (particularly given that as a human, she's a Perpetual Frowner.)
  • 9-Volt from WarioWare. Also his mother 5-Volt in Game & Wario.
  • Duke Crabtree from Ambition has this expression.
  • Data from Mega Man Legends has a constant one.
  • Demonoid!Akira from Shin Megami Tensei IV also has this as his default expression.
  • In Undertale:
    • Muffet has this as her default expression.
    • Toriel, Asgore, and Asriel have one occasionally, likely as a consequence of their facial structure.
    • Undyne, of all characters, makes one a few times.
  • Karen from Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D has it, but she's not the only one. You can make your custom characters sport this smile too. There's even a variation where the smile is much wider.
  • The Starcatchers sport one in Insaniquarium.
  • Nev:3, the resident Cat Girl of Atlas Reactor. The :3 stands for both her test number and this trope.
  • Particularly happy Miis will sport such smile in Miitopia.
  • Almost all your squids in Squid Ink sport one such smile, not just Catamari (who's a Mix-and-Match Critter between a cat and a squid). The only squid who appears to lack one is Griffin until he gets the ability to temporarily turn visible.
  • Ferdinand von Aegir from Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a mild form of this as his pre-timeskip "happy" portrait and default and happy post-timeskip portraits, although it's more due to the shape of his mouth combined with the game's art style
  • Dynamis and Serah in Silhouette Mirage have them.
  • Hat Kid in A Hat in Time sports one along with Dreary Half-Lidded Eyes in her famous "Smug Dance".

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 

     Real Life 
  • Astronaut Neil Armstrong [1].
  • Sebastian Stan, which has led to several people comparing his Bucky Barnes to a cat.
  • Natalie Dormer has mild Bell's Palsy, giving her a crooked smile that looks like a clever, catlike smirk. This often factors into the personalities of her characters.
  • Christine "Moose" McGlade, known for her tenure on You Can't Do That on Television, sported a natural cat smile most of the time, which went quite well with her Deadpan Snarker persona.
  • Guest from the Future star Natalia Guseva smiles like a cat.
  • Singer/actress Tomomi Itano, formerly of AKB48, is known for her cat smile.
  • This was the trademark grin for Clark Gable, which added to his sex appeal. So much so, when any other actor made a similar face, they could (and would) be compared to him, which could arguably make him a trope codifier for actors of his time.
  • Actress Kate Hudson has quite a smile very similar to a cat.
  • Actor Daniel Bruhl is rather infamous for having a cat smile.
  • Actor and singer Froy Gutierrez also has one of these.
  • This is a common smile that Irene Dunne sported. She used this smile to her advantage in a lot of her films, usually when her characters were being flirty or particularly smug. Despite her usual character type, critics have noted how much these women made Dunne an unconventional Ms. Fanservice for a variety of reasons. With a grin like hers, and those dimples, it isn't hard to see why.
  • Professional basketball player Derrick Rose is usually known for wearing this when he smiles.
  • Political commentator David Pakman also sports one.
  • Spanish football manager Roberto Martinez has a cat smile.
  • Dutch tv presenter Geraldine Kemper is known in part for her perpetual cat-like smirk.
  • Many, many Twitter threads have been made comparing figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu to cats, but this one showcases his Cat Smile right at the top.


 
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Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Colon Three, Colon Three Smile, Cat Grin, Neko Smile, Kitty Smile

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Otter With a Dark Side

Luz makes this smile, or at least an otter version of it, when she considers wearing her otter suit to Grom.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (28 votes)

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Main / CatSmile

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