"Miss Kitty" is an older woman who runs a brothel and is heavily implied to be a former working girl herself. She's charismatic when necessary, but has no tolerance for rowdiness in her establishment and very often has a shotgun handy to make certain that her policy is enforced. She goes out of her way to make certain that no one mistreats her girls, and she runs a tight ship with them as well. She acts as mother-confessor for anyone in town and always has time to provide people with advice and common-sense wisdom. Occasionally, Preacher Man berates her for operating a Den of Iniquity, but most of the time he accepts her business as a necessary evil.
Initially, Bowdlerization restricted her activities to running a saloon or burlesque house. In today's media, it's usually much more obvious that she's running a brothel with ancillary booze service.
If the two are close in age, she will be the love interest of The Sheriff or the U.S. Marshal. She is the employer of the saloon girl and The Piano Player. The Bartender is always her trusted subordinate, if she employs one.
Miss Kitty is a staple of The Wild West and other types of frontier fiction. In fact, the trope was so pervasive in Western Canada in the post-World War I era that the phrasing "Miss Firstname" was (and to some extent, still is) used only to refer to madams and whores. This naturally surprises visitors from the southern US, for whom this phrasing is a respectable way to refer to mature women. Hilarity can ensue.
The Trope Namer is Miss Kitty, the proprietor of the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City in Gunsmoke. Should not be confused with the burlesque dancer in The Great Mouse Detective or former WWE Diva Stacy Carter, who used this name before changing it to The Kat.
Has nothing to do with Cat Girl.
- Poor Dixie Lee in Cimarron, who runs the local brothel, but mainly because she can't catch a break. She was orphaned as a teenager, taken advantage of and impregnated by a man who turned out to be a bigamist, and she was driven off the land she tried to claim in Oklahoma by the Moral Guardians.
- Madame Du Vere in Dead Again in Tombstone is an evil version who throws in her lot with Col. Boomer once she learns what his scheme, and allows him to use her brothel as a base of operations.
- Maudie in Howard Hawks' El Dorado.
- Ronda in The Far Country is this—older, sexy, owner of a saloon, wearing bright dresses, rather strongly implied to have once been a prostitute.
- Jenny in Frisco Jenny. The film begins in 1906 San Francisco.
- Nona Williams in Johnny Reno. After Reno left her, she became a prostitute. Saving her earnings, she eventually bought she own saloon.
- The Legend of Frenchie King: Amelie, Maria's aunt, is an experienced prostitute who runs her own brothel, much to the chagrin of her niece.
- Red (Helena Bonham-Carter) who runs the brothel in Hell on Wheels in The Lone Ranger. The shotgun she totes to ensure there is no rowdiness in her establishment is built into her ivory prosthetic leg.
- Peter David's Space Western Oblivion has a Miss Kitty who's a Cat Girl and, of course, she's actually called Miss Kitty. And she's played by Julie "Catwoman" Newmar.
- In The Return of Sherlock Holmes (2016), Sassy Black Woman Mrs. Burrows is shown to be a very indulgent madam, even hand feeding her girls treats.
- The owner of the titular salon in Tinto Brass' Salon Kitty even has the right name. Would be dead on this trope if it wasn't set in Nazi Germany...
- Stella "The Midnight Star" in Silverado. Unlike other examples she wasn't forced into the life by circumstance, she chose it because the night life most suited her. Hence the nickname: "She's always there but she only shines at night."
- In the Bardic Voices series, the Madam of the brothel that Rune gets a job at (as a musician playing in the common room) goes by the name of Amber. (Not her real name, just the name that all madams of that brothel goes by). She is a nice person and cares for all her employees, from the serving girls and boys in the common room to the ladies working upstairs.
- Dora Flood in Cannery Row is another Steinbeck example. In the sequel Sweet Thursday, her older sister Flora takes over, having changed her name to "Fauna."
- Madam later Tribune Cymnea is one of these in Jim Butcher's Codex Alera.
- Discworld: Mrs. Rosie Palm is one, having risen to President of the Seamstresses' Guild of Ankh-Morpork after working as a Seamstress herself. Seamstresses are referred to as "Miss" while the head of the guild is "Mrs". This causes Sir Samuel Vimes to commit a minor gaff in Night Watch when he travels back in time and comes across Rosie and calls her Mrs. Palm. At that point she was just another working girl and corrected him that it is Miss Palm.
- Cathy/Kate from East of Eden kills her mentor, who is one of these, and then takes over her brothel and becomes a completely vicious version of this trope.
- "La Señora" ("The Mistress"), one of Eva's caretakers in Isabel Allende's Eva Luna, is a former High-Class Call Girl and the owner of the most famous brothel in the capital.
- Flashman hooks up with one of these in Flash for Freedom and the first part of Flashman and the Redskins.
- Belle Watley from Gone with the Wind.
- La Señora is predated by the Older and Wiser Tránsito Soto from The House of the Spirits. She's also a rather interesting example in that she began as an mixture of Plucky Girl and Hooker with a Heart of Gold, then went to the city with help from Esteban Trueba, worked hard to become the most beautiful and respected High-Class Call Girl, was still a HCCG when she became a Miss Kitty, and only later fully took up the Miss Kitty roles.
- Miss Audrey in the Liaden Universe is a brothel owner in the Space Western equivalent of a frontier town. She's a canny businesswoman, and closer to being a respected community leader than the guys who are officially in charge. She even runs a school out of one of the back rooms.
- Gwen in The Riyria Revelations. Her efforts to become this is the secondary plot of the prequel book The Crown Tower.
- Chataya of A Song of Ice and Fire.
- Patricia Utley in Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, who takes good care of her "girls" and is a successful businesswoman, making sure that she only sends them out to high paying customers like celebrities and politicians.
- Her protegee April Kyle, on the other hand, was doomed from the start (at least in retrospect due to already being pretty fucked in the head before she even became a prostitute).
- The titular character from Jorge Amado's novel Tieta do Agreste is one of these, albeit she spent a good part of the book hiding this from her relatives and the people of her birth town, by letting them believe she is a boutique owner and a senator widow. But then again, no one asked her the right question.
- Willie in Out of the Easy runs a brothel in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and acts as surrogate mother to the protagonist, Josie.
- In Twig, Sy and Jamie seek refuge with one of these, herself a former Street Urchin who, now that she runs her own brothel, takes the opportunity to help children in need and provide shelter to those that need it.
- In one skit from The Armstrong and Miller Show, Alexander Armstrong discovers that his ancestor was a prostitute, and determines to find out whether she ever improved her lot in life. Apparently, she did: a later entry into the records he's examining instead lists her occupation as "brothel owner".
- Eva in Copper. The Contessa is her High-Class Call Girl equivalent uptown.
- Joanie Stubbs of Deadwood tries to be a Miss Kitty, along with her partner Maddie, but they fail.
- Nandi from the Firefly episode "Heart of Gold," though her establishment was less bar and more brothel (plus, she is officially shunned by the Companion Guild).
- The Trope Namer, Amanda Blake's Miss Kitty in Gunsmoke.
- Luci Prescott in Peacemakers.
- Psych had an episode set in a Wild West-themed tourist town, complete with a Miss Kitty. After the case is solved, the town's sheriff proposes to her, and Shawn is touched that she's agreeing to leave behind a life of sin until Gus reminds him that she isn't a real madam.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch got transported to a magical Wild West town. Aunt Hilda became Miss Hildy, the owner of the saloon.
- Mary Barrett from Wild Boys.
- On Adam Ruins Everything, Adam debunks the notion that the founding of the Wild West was all the doing of gritty white male cowboys. He meets up with a saloon owner named Pearl, and an actual historian, who explain that the towns on the Frontier were basically work camps, with no women. When women did come to the West, some of them found that there was a market for sex (and not many other options open to women)...and that it was a very lucrative one. The prostitutes of the Old West used their newfound wealth and power to transform those settlements from work camps to cities with schools, hospitals, etc. The gritty white male cowboy Adam was talking to is shocked and appalled.
- Mama Mabel from Luke Cage. She's long dead in the present day, but she was Mariah Stokes' grandmother and Harlem's crimeboss in the 70's and 80's by way of running a brothel and selling illegal arms.
- In Rick O'Shay, Sheriff Rick O'Shay's love interest, dance-hall owner Gaye Abandon, is a family-friendly version of the trope.
- Mona Stangley in the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. (Played by Dolly Parton in the film version.)
- William Shakespeare used this trope in the form of Mistress Quickly, a recurring character in both parts of Henry IV, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Her title is itself a possible sexual innuendo—she's a "quick lay"—and though she's an innkeeper rather than a "proper" madam, she fits the trope with her connections to crime, past as a former lady of the evening, status as a "pistol-proof" (read: menopausal) woman, and protective relationship with Doll Tearsheet, a young prostitute who frequents the inn. Mistress Quickly and Falstaff are longtime friends who love to prank one another—which is probably why she gets one of the saddest Shakespearean monologues in Henry V: she was with Falstaff as he died and recounts the experience of watching him go, breaking down and crying as she tells the story.
- In the Assassin's Creed games that take place in Renaissance Italy, Ezio finds allies in various brothel madams throughout Italy. Period setting notwithstanding, these women fit the Miss Kitty bill as shrewd, intelligent businesswomen who genuinely care about the women in their employ and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. At one point, Ezio's own mother and sister become madams of a brothel in Rome, in order to feed information to the Assassins.
- Miss Kitty from Fallout 2, the host of the most renowned brothel in the wasteland in New Reno.
- Fallout: New Vegas has "Pretty" Sarah. Once she was pretty... before she was burned and raped by the Fiend leader Cook-Cook and not necessarily in that order. She now lives in the Casa Madrid Apartments in Westside acting as a madam for her three prostitutes. She may be burned by she's much tougher than she looks and never likes people messing with her "merchandise". That .44 magnum is not just there for show.
- In the Western Arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, Morgan is the town's Miss Kitty and a Steam Punk genius to boot.
- Mama Gkika of Girl Genius appears at first glance to be one of these, running a (literal) underground establishment that caters to the Jaegers, and given the decor it is likely also a brothel. However, she's also one of the Jaeger Generals, and may in fact be a parody of this trope.
- The Prohibition-era Lackadaisy features Mitzi May, a Miss Kitty who actually is a kitty...
- Bart discovers and eventually ends up working for one of these women on The Simpsons (her business is called a burlesque house but it's heavily implied to be a brothel). Even though the show is set in modern America, the matron of the house plays this trope completely straight and makes Marge look foolish by comparison. This episode led to the Awesome Music — "We put the *spring* in Springfield."
- In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, there is a talking cat woman whose name is actually Miss Kitty. She is the head matron amongst the other "singers" in the saloon, and left her troubled past behind her in New York to go off to the west (but soon regrets leaving Tiger).
- Some urban examples from the well-documented world of Chicago prostitution of the period:
- When Carrie Watson was a middle-class girl in Buffalo, New York, she saw her older sisters work for substandard wages as shopgirls, and became determined to avoid that fate. Since her career options were limited by social mores of the time, she decided on an unusual career plan: become a prostitute, learn the business end, and open her own house that would cater to a high-class, moneyed crowd. After an apprenticeship, she gained enough money to fulfill her dreams. Between the 1870s and 1890s, Watson's house was renowned for its women and its customer service. Customers were greeted by a talking parrot which said "Carrie Watson's. Welcome, gentlemen." (Watson was quite discreet; the parrot and a small brass plaque were her only forms of advertising.) Watson invested in real estate and became rich. Her treatment of her girls was renowned in the community at a time when prostitutes were regarded as virtual slaves. When pressure came to centralize prostitution in Chicago away from Watson's house, she decided to retire and quietly faded away.
- Vina Fields had two handicaps in the 1890s: she was not only female, she was African-American. Her houses specialized in providing African-American women for white customers, although she didn't discriminate. In order to insulate her daughters from how she made her living, she sent them to convent schools. During the Panic of 1893, she provided thousands of free meals daily for out-of-work men. When she left the business, her departure was much-mourned.
- The origins of the women who called themselves Ada and Minna Everleigh are still in dispute, although a great deal of detective work has been done (most recently by Karen Abbott in her book Sin In The Second City). What is known is that they made a windfall profit in Omaha operating a high-class house, then took that money to create a dream establishment on Chicago's South Side. Opening in 1901, the Everleigh Club soon became world-famous for its opulence and its employment of beautiful, talented women, who were treated magnificently by Ada and Minna. The brothel was down-right palatial in its furnishings; among other things, it had a perfume fountain, a gold-plated piano, and a solid gold spittoon in every room. Not to mention that they got 25 world-class chefs and musicians to work for them. It was as exclusive as possible; new customers needed a letter of recommendation from an established patron to be admitted, they only took checks at a time when only the rich possessed checking accounts, and people who spent less than $50 (worth about $2000-$4000 today) are politely but emphatically advised to never come back, the average "dinner and a night" service costs more than $200. They even entertained royalty. The house was forcibly shut down in 1911, and the sisters went into genteel retirement in New York City.
- A literal Miss Kitty (Katharina "Kitty" Schmidt) operated a luxurious brothel in World War II Berlin, under the guise of the SD (SS's counterespionage department). She had to submit to them, after SS-Brigadeführer Walther Schellenberg himself had shown her clearly she had no other choice, charging her with money laundering and trafficking, using forged passports, other crimes linked to money laundering and forgery... and helping Jews to escape Germany, all of which could mean either a long prison term in a concentration camp or a summary execution at the hands of the SS. The entire house had been littered with state of the art surveillance electronics, and a large percent of the girls trained to register the slightest word which could mean a valuable secret. Despite prostitution being more or less legal in Germany and herself an agent of the state security, her house had always been more or less illegal, with no advertising and entrance via a password, to keep it exclusive and protect the VIP clients (nearly always married) from unfriendly eyes. Count Ciano while in Berlin used to go ostensibly to a cinema and sneak from the theater after the lights were off, to avoid anyone who might have snitched him to his all-powerful father-in-law, Mussolini.
- John Steinbeck based the character of Dora from Cannery Row on a Madam named Flora Woods who operated the Lone Star Café on what is now called Cannery Row in Monterey, California. By all accounts, she was a generous woman who cared deeply for her girls and gave large sums of money and food to charity.