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Playing With / That Poor Cat

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Basic Trope: When something is thrown, crashes, falls, explodes, etc. the screech of a random offscreen cat is heard.

  • Straight: Somebody throws an object offscreen, and the sound of a cat's screech is heard, for no particular reason.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The cat screech happens near-constantly, even in places where cats could not survive, let alone plausibly be standing and getting hit.
    • Instead of a domestic cat, it's a tiger, lion or other member of the genus Panthera.
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    • The cat's screech occurs during the crashing, and a chain reaction is created where more and more cats are hit. At the end of the whole situation, the camera pans to a giant ball of cats rolling down the street.
  • Downplayed: Someone is rummaging through drawers trying to find something, throwing clothing behind them. A cat previously following them lets out an annoyed screech from off screen.
  • Justified: This occurs in a place where there could very likely be a cat standing offscreen.
  • Inverted:
    • Instead of a cat screeching, we hear either a human or a different animal screaming.
    • A cat is thrown offscreen and makes a very un-catlike noise upon impact.
    • The onscreen cat is hit with a random object from offscreen.
    • Somebody tosses a fish or a wad of catnip offscreen and a delighted purr is heard.
    • The room is full of meowing cats. When something goes crash, they go silent.
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    • A cat causes a loud crash, during which a person shouts.
  • Subverted: Somebody throws an object offscreen in a series where this trope is frequently used. Dead silence follows.
  • Double Subverted: An object is thrown offscreen, and besides crashing sounds, nothing is heard... until a few seconds later, when the cat cries out.
  • Parodied:
    • All the dogs in the area turn to look for the cat in question when this trope occurs, and end up thoroughly confused.
    • Alice is trying to record a cat screech for a scene like this in a Show Within a Show she's making. However, the cat just stays quiet or purrs or gives a nonchalant meow instead of screeching.
  • Zig Zagged: An object is thrown offscreen. A cat cries out. The hero, who has a soft spot for little kitties, looks dismayed...but the camera pans over to where you think the cat would have been, and there is no cat. It's then revealed that the object narrowly missed the cat, who is now up a tree. Later, the cat is seen throwing the object back at the person who threw it in the first place.
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  • Averted: Objects go crash, get thrown, etc. and no screeching cats are heard.
  • Enforced: It's a Running Gag and is Played for Laughs.
  • Lampshaded: "Agh, is there a cat in here?"
  • Invoked: A hero decides to bring his cat with him to provide appropriate comic screeching when things start to crash around.
  • Exploited:
    • The hero is starving and desperate for a meal throws stuff off-screen to try to get food.
    • Alternatively, it's the villain who's trying to kill the cats.
    • The villain wants to scare away all the cats because cats can defeat him/her.
    • Alice and Bob want to get a recording of a cat screeching.
  • Defied: The hero doesn't want any animals harmed and makes sure not to hit any hidden offscreen cats and cause their screeching as he goes about his adventures. He also makes a point of not almost hitting them either because he's on a stealth mission.
  • Discussed: "You know, it's kinda weird that we keep hearing that sound; it's like a weird comedy, and we don't even have any cats around here!"
  • Conversed: "That's kinda stupid that we hear a cat screech. This episode takes place on an alien planet, there aren't even cats. Is that how universal the sound effect is?"
  • Implied: The camera shows the POV of Cute Kid Charlie as a chain of Disaster Dominoes gets set in motion. Before it can get to the cat, the video and audio is abruptly cut off by someone covering Charlie's eyes and ears.
  • Deconstructed:
    • An object is thrown offscreen, a cat cries out, the camera moves to show the injured cat in question, and it's actually a rather depressing sight. The cat is either severely injured or dead.
    • An Animal Wrongs Group comes in and charges the thrower for cruelty.
  • Reconstructed: ...but it turns out that the cat was faking severe injury as part of an insurance scam. As soon as this is revealed, it gets run over a second time.
  • Played for Laughs: The off-screen cat noise is followed by the cat in question leaping onscreen at the thrower, unhurt and pissed off.
  • Played for Drama: The cat was yowling because he/she was injured and the thrower is saddened by the fact that he accidentally injured a cat.

Back to That Poor Cat. (tosses link offscreen, loud cat screech)