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Heroic Canines, Villainous Felines

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In many works featuring dogs and cats, the dogs are on the side of good and the cats are on the side of evil. Sometimes, the cat or cats are just meaner than the dog or dogs in general.

Works featuring mouse characters often use this trope even though there are dogs bred to hunt mice and rats. For example, mouse characters and dog characters partner together against cat characters. Kittens tend to be exempt from this trope, due to them stereotypically being seen as more cute and innocent than adult cats; consequently if a dog is chasing an adult cat the dog is often depicted as the "hero", whereas if a dog is chasing a kitten the dog is often the "villain".

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In many subversions that feature cats and dogs in the same team or fighting on the same side, especially when the team or side is good, tend to have cats in the lower ranks than the dogs.

See Cats Are Mean and Heroic Dog. Subtrope of Cat/Dog Dichotomy and Good Animals, Evil Animals. Female Feline, Male Mutt is a sister trope.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inverted in Asobi ni Iku yo! (Cat Planet Cuties), there are two races of invading Little Bit Beastly aliens. One wants to make friends with humans, the other have a more sinister agenda. Guess which is which. This is probably because in Japan cats are seen as lucky and kind in contrast with Western stereotypes that cats are bad luck and mean.
  • Also inverted in Akame ga Kill!. Leone is one of the main protagonists, and her Imperial Arms gives her cat-like abilities. Meanwhile, Seryu Ubiquitous has an Imperial Arms resembling a small dog— and she's one of the nastiest villains in the series.
  • This is the general rule with familiars in Lyrical Nanoha. The two characters who have a wolf familiar (or Guardian Beast) are unambiguously heroic figures, while the two characters with cat familiars were the Big Bad of their season and a Well-Intentioned Extremist respective. Note that this only applies to familiars, and only within the main continuity, since there are plenty of characters with pet cats or cat-themed devices that are good people, and the movie continuity has another heroic character with three cat familiars.

    Comic Books 
  • In Art Spiegelman's Maus, the Allied American troops are done as dogs as dogs drive away cats and the Allies (like Americans, Australians, and British) fought the Axis (like Nazis and Imperial Japanese), the Nazis are done as cats as cats prey on mice and Nazis are antisemitic and killed 6 million Jews, and the Jews are done as mice as mice are prey to cats and Jews are traditionally vulnerable to oppression.
  • Shaky inverted example from Warren Vampirella: Pantha (werefeline) vs. Slandra, leader of the alien Lupae (werewhatever). We will never know for sure what species she was ("If I wouldn't be so weak, I'd show you!"), but by ironclad naming conventions, Lupae are obviously werewolves.
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    Comic Strips 
  • In Get Fuzzy, Satchel the dog is friendly but dimwitted, while Bucky the cat is a constant Jerkass.
  • Peanuts: Snoopy the dog is one of the two main protagonists, while the Unseen Character, World War II is a pretty mean cat, always taking a swipe at Snoopy and his doghouse.

    Fan Works 
  • Inverted in Catwoman: Showdown in Shibuya, a prequel for the Dusk to Dawn series. Catwoman is an Anti-Hero up against through-and-through villain Kaito Mori aka Hellhound, a ninja with an Inugami motif. He returns as her apparent Arch-Enemy in the Grand Finale, Batman: Darkest Hour.

    Films — Animation 
  • Averted in 101 Dalmatians, where the only cat character, barn-cat Seargeant Tibbs, is brave and loyal. As is common for these aversions, he's subordinate to his farm's dog, The Colonel.
  • In Cinderella, Bruno the dog is loyal and on the side of good and Lucifer (the name should speak for itself) the cat is mean and on the side of evil, being Lady Tremaine's Right-Hand Cat. The movie also features Nice Mice, most notably Jaq and Gus, who help Cinderella out and whom the cat likes to chase.
  • In Lady and the Tramp, most of the dogs are good and come off as roguish at worst, barring the three rabid street-toughs, but the only cats that appear, Si and Am are devious and willfully wreck the stuff in the house, try to eat the pet canary and fish, and annoy Lady.
  • Taken to the extreme in All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, where the dogs (except for Carface) are the good characters, some of them being from Heaven, while the main villain is actually SATAN as an anthropomorphic cat. However, the spinoff cartoon shows there are other evil dogs as well and that some of them are demonic minions of the Satanic cat.
  • In the Disney film, The Great Mouse Detective, Toby is Basil's pet dog who helps him solve mysteries, and Felicia is Ratigan's pet cat, who is used to execute anyone who gets on his bad side.
  • Inverted and Zigzagged in Oliver & Company, which revolves around a sweet little kitten trying to find food and shelter. Most of the dogs are Lovable Rogues and, while brazen and rough in places, are allies to Oliver. However, Syke's guard hounds are menacing antagonists.
  • In An American Tail and its sequels most of the cats are either villains or are assumed to be until proved otherwise. The dog in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West is a good guy.
  • In Titanic: The Legend Goes On a dog saves some steerage mice from being eaten by some cats.
  • Inverted and Played With in The Aristocats. Duchess and her kittens are perfectly nice. O'Malley and Scat Cat's gang are "kinda rough around the edges"note , but are ultimately on the side of good. The bloodhounds Napoleon and Lafayette exemplify Dogs Are Dumb and cause trouble for Edgar, but otherwise have little effect on the plot.
  • Rugrats Go Wild!: Spike, the affectionate dog, goes up against Siri, a vicious clouded leopard who wants to eat the babies after Spike repeatedly torments her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Cats & Dogs, the cats are evil and the dogs are good. There are good cats in the sequel, but the villain is still a cat. The sequel also reveals the existence of evil dogs, but does not show anynote .
  • Inverted in The Island of Doctor Moreau with Fairuza Balk as a heroic Cat Girl and Azazello an evil Dogman.

    Literature 
  • Subverted in Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones. The cats in Sirius' new home are at first jealous and try to set the Evil Matriarch against him. After he saves one of them from her wrath, however, they become some of his best allies.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The plush toy moon cats are heroic beings helping the Senshi as typical of Sailor Moon and one of the villains, Mio Kuroki, has a plush dog named Choppi. The dog itself is more of a Companion Cube than an antagonist, though.

    Theater 
  • In The Blue Bird, Tylette the cat hates being in thrall to humans and betrays the children, while Tylo the dog is faithful throughout.

    Video Games 
  • In both the Earthworm Jim video games and the cartoon series, despite turning into a big, hulking monster when you push one too many of his Berserk Buttons, Peter Puppy is a really nice guy who is the sidekick of the titular hero. Evil the Cat on the other hand, lives up to his name.

    Western Animation 
  • Underdog:
    • The titular protagonist is a Heroic Dog, and one of the villains is a cat named Overcat.
    • Inverted in the Klondike Kat segments of Underdog, however. There is a mouse and a dog working together to thwart the titular cat, but the cat is the hero protagonist. The mouse, Savoir Faire, is the villain and the dog, Malamutt, is his sidekick.
  • Krypto The Super Dog:
    • The dogs are heroes and the cats are villains except Streaky, Squeaky, and the Supercat Fanclub members. The three Junkyard Dogs may not be so heroic, but they are not outright villainous.
    • Notably, one of the villainous cats in the show, Snooky Wookums, is a kitten.
  • Inverted in Felix the Cat. Felix is the protagonist and Rock Bottom the dog is The Professor's (the villain in the TV cartoons) bumbling sidekick.
  • Inverted with Waffles the cat and Chainsaw the dog in Goof Troop as the cat is nicer than the dog.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • Goofy is a nice, if bumbling and clumsy dog and Pete is a usually either a mean and villainous or a Jerkass cat.
    • Played with for Pluto and Figaro. Figaro is a Bratty Half-Pint who usually bothers Pluto, but he himself is occasionally bad tempered and selfish. Both have Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments and usually end each short on better terms (only "Pluto's Sweater" has the standard "cat bullies dog and gets a comeuppance for it" formula).
    • Also played with for Pluto and the Siamese cat, Milton. They are rivals, but neither is portrayed as morally worse than the other. Milton is even a loyal servant to Pluto in the latter character's dream in "Plutopia".
    • Played straight in "Pluto's Kid Brother" with dogs Pluto and KB being on the side of good and a Jerkass alley cat Lucifer (not to be confused with Lucifer of Cinderella). Lucifer bullies KB and Pluto saves KB from him.
    • Inverted in "Figaro and Frankie." The cartoon starts with Figaro trying to catch Frankie the canary, but when Frankie falls from the window from trying to fly, Butch the Bully Bulldog starts trying to catch him too. After being faced by his good angel, Figaro saves Frankie from Butch.
  • Inverted with Ren & Stimpy. Ren the dog is a Jerkass and Stimpy is a nice, if dumb, cat.
  • Depending on the Writer, in Tom and Jerry, Spike the Bulldog may act like a hero while Tom can be the antagonist. Also, Jerry the mouse, who can be the protagonist, allies with Spike to defeat Tom.
  • Played straight with Helen's pet dogs, Martha and Skits, and Ronald's pet cat, Nelson in Martha Speaks. Inverted in one of T.D.'s comics, where the cats are the heroes and the dogs are the villains.
  • In Arthur, the titular character's pet dog, Pal, and Francine's pet cat, Nemo, are like this in episodes focusing on Pal and Kate.
  • Inverted in Bad Luck Blackie. The dog is a villainous Bully Bulldog and the cat and kitten are heroic.
  • In Rugrats, Tommy's loyal pet dog, Spike, and Angelica's pet cat, Fluffy are like this.
  • Looney Tunes: Often Inverted by Chuck Jones.
    • In "Fresh Airedale", a duplicitous weasel of a dog is treated like a hero while the heroic cat gets no respect
    • In "Go Fly a Kit," a flying kitten, who raised by a mother eagle, saves another kitten from a Bully Bulldog
    • In "Chow Hound", where an enslaved cat is used by a big hulking dog to get a steady supply of meat (in this one, revenge is brutal and sweet). A mouse who is also enslaved by the dog sides with the cat in the revenge scene.
  • Roobarb is a good natured dog (if somewhat eccentric) with Custard, the next door cat, usually acting as a snarky bully, (if prone to occasional kinder moments).
  • In Doug, Porkchop is own by the protagonist Doug Funnie while Stinky is owned by Roger Klotz.
  • One episode of The Simpsons inverts this. After Homer gets into a scrape, Santa's Little Helper leaves him to his fate while Snowball II saves him.
  • In Rescue Rangers, the rangers (two of whom are mice) face several villainous cats, Fat Cat being one of their biggest foes. There are no reoccurring dog characters but there are one-offs that are friendly, including Dale's idol Flash the Wonder Dog. Subverted with the kittens encountered in the show though, as they are not one bit villainous.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog:
    • The title canine was always trying his best to protect Muriel and Eustace from all the villainous foes who were out to do them harm, including Katz, who was the show's most frequently used villain. Shirley (supposedly a chihuahua) was one of Courage's only allies.
    • Also explored and eventually subverted in "The Mask", in which Kitty holds contempt for Courage and constantly inflicts severe pain and injuries on him for her bigotry towards dog — but the problem was Mad Dog stole her best friend away from her, showing that there are some evil dogs out there. Courage still manages to defeat Mad Dog, and bring Kitty and her friend Bunny back together, giving Kitty a lesson in not all dogs are bad.
  • What-a-Mess: The titular character imagines himself as "El Perro" ("The Dog") dealing with a persistent, if totally inept, army of feline soldiers in a Zorro setting.
  • Quite noticeable in Samurai Jack. Among the first friends that Jack makes in the future are a team of dog archaeologists, and in the fifth season he is represented by a white wolf. Meanwhile, the Imikandi are a race of Cat Folk hired by Aku to kill Jack, and in the fifth season the Daughters of Aku are represented by tigers. Even the otherwise friendly titular Creature from "Jack and the Creature" plays into this trope: it takes on a more feline appearance, with fangs and pointed ears, when it gets angry.
  • Inverted in Thunder Cats with a group of heroic feline superheroes facing villainous characters of different species, but the Big Bad Mum-Ra has a pet bulldog and one of the most prominent mooks are the Jackalmen.
  • In Foofur dogs are mostly good (except for Pepe) and cats are mostly evil (except for Fencer).
  • Inverted in the Top Cat's movie Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats as most of the main characters are cats, the villain's sidekick is an evil dog.
  • Inverted in the Spanish series Around the World with Willy Fog: heroic characters are felines and villainous characters are dogs.

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