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Webcomic / Catena

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Catena was a weekly webcomic produced by DeBray and Tracy Bailey. Tracy began it in 2003, before their marriage, and afterward became a team effort. It follows the adventures of a household full of anthropomorphic cats. Rarely serious, the strip includes abundant pop culture references and snarky, punny humor.

The main cast includes:

  • Treiss — A mild-mannered but quirky snow leopard, who moved to California because she hates the cold. She's essentially the protagonist, and the world is mostly seen through her eyes.
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  • Belle — The chatelaine of the feline manor. Beautiful, confident, and a bit of a Tsundere; it's anybody's guess why she tolerates her boarders.
  • Bear — A thick-chinned black-and-white Manx cat with aspirations of world conquest.
  • Patches — Bear's younger sister, a less-than-brilliant blonde who seems to think it's permanently 1984.
  • Buddy — A surfer dude Maine Coon, Bear's best friend.
  • Beau — Buddy's older brother, one of the angels who hangs around the house.
  • Mr. Cuddles — A purple tarantula who is theoretically Buddy's pet. He wants to free his fellow spiders from oppression and return them to their rightful place as the dominant species.

Other recurring characters:

  • Bryony — The other angel, Patches and Bear's sister. She has pink wings.
  • Hank — The friendly dog next door, who hangs out with the guys a lot.
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  • Ivy — An old schoolmate of Bear and Patches, now an actress.
  • Annie — The daughter of the pet shop owner from whom Buddy purchased Mr. Cuddles. She's younger than the other characters and doesn't show up as often.
  • Reaper — As in the Grim. Other than as the object of Bryony's affections, it's hard to say why he's here. It's okay, though, because he doesn't seem to understand why he's here either.

In fall 2011, the comic went on hiatus as the creators prepared to give it a Retool. The revamped comic returned to regular updates in August 2012, with a more consistent, less pun-driven storyline; additionally, the angelic characters were remade as being alive, while Mr. Cuddles appears only as a plush animal. This new format did not last, however, and due to the increasing demands of the creators' other projects, the webcomic stopped production in 2015. Tracy has since joined the team at The Dreamland Chronicles.


As of September 2015, the original strips no longer show up in the archives, but may still be found through the Wayback Machine

Catena provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The strip takes place in modern times, but Patches has yet to notice that The '80s are long gone, and Treiss regularly dresses like she's just come from the Renaissance faire.
  • Anime Hair: All of the cats were originally drawn with this, before the series began; of the original cast, only Belle and Bear kept the look. Bryony, Annie and Ivy, who all came in later, also have it.
  • Art Evolution: Originally, the characters were drawn in a slightly more cartoony, slightly Disney-esque manner, and the strip was in black and white. First, color was added in, and eventually there was a rather dramatic style shift to a slightly more anime-esque style. The most noticeable aspect of the shift was Bear, who went from simply having a slightly large chin to having a chin that makes up half the volume of his head.
    • After the Retool, the strip was drawn in grayscale, with a more realistic style.
  • Art Shift: Seemingly at random or when someone is dreaming.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Belle in a flashback had squealing girls.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal
  • The Beautiful Elite: Belle is one of these. Just ask her.
  • Big Brother Instinct: It is... unwise... to speak badly of Patches, or to even give Bear the idea that you're thinking negatively of her. She drives him crazy, but you don't mess with Bear's sister.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Beau. He actually is Buddy's big brother, but also tries to be one to the rest of the crew at times, which they don't always appreciate.
  • Big Fancy House: Catena Manor, judging by Treiss's initial reaction.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Well, almost. Patches is blonde; Treiss is a brunette; Belle has pink hair.
  • Call-Back: In the very first strip, Treiss reads an ad for a vacancy in Catena Manor, which leads to her living with the housemates. In the first strip of the Retool, she reads the exact same ad - and scoffs at it, wondering who would fall for a setup like that.
    • She later gets side tracked by a couple of pretty outfits in a store window... namely, her old outfits from before the retool.
  • Camp Gay: Harry the hairdresser. All but confirmed later.
  • Cats Are Mean: Generally averted, although Belle has her moments.
  • Christmas Special: Every year. There were usually special strips for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and occasionally Valentine's Day and Easter as well.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Ivy behaves like one of these when she realizes Bear is paying attention to another girl.
  • Dada Comic: The comics during Patches's dream possibly count. It gets weirder as it goes.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Annie
  • The Ditz: Patches
  • Dream Sequence: Bear has a rather epic one in which he's in Oblivion with Buddy. Later in the series, Patches takes the entire cast on one through various anime.
  • Fanservice: The beach scenes in particular.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Mr. Cuddles the vicious tarantula. He's not as vicious as he actually wants to be, though, crossing this with Deathbringer the Adorable.
  • Funny Foreigner: Treiss is of some unspecified Eastern European background, a fact which only becomes evident when her wacky parents come to visit.
  • Gamer Chick: Subverted. Annie isn't a very good gamer, but she's enthusiastic, and eventually "bribes" her way into Bear's gaming group... with a medieval flail.
  • Genre Savvy: When Bear falls asleep playing Oblivion, he dreams he is in the game. He almost immediately realizes what's going on:
    Bear: Oh. I get it. This is like when Gilligan falls asleep and there's a humorous Dream Sequence where everyone else on the island is some wacky character in his dream. *Beat* I always hated those episodes. Fortunately, I'm a master of lucid dreaming. Time to have some fun...
    *Emperor Uriel Septim VII (who is voiced by Patrick Stewart) appears*
    Bear: Say "Make it so"! Just once! PLEASE?
  • The Glomp: Bryony is, according to Beau, the only one who has ever dared to do this to Reaper.
    Beau: Poor fellow has this dreadful twitch now.
  • The Grim Reaper: Looking a bit like an oversized blue-eyed Orko, he appears for comedic effect at odd moments.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Litter-mates Bear and Bryony are extremely similar in appearance, except for Bear's chin and Bryony's pink wings.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bear has one when Beau tells him of the existence of his sister Bryony.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Annie turns into a little pink cyclone when she eats too much sugar. Literally.
  • Insistent Terminology/In-Series Nickname: Bear refuses to refer to or address Treiss as anything except "chinchilla." This is a Call-Back to how they met.
  • Interspecies Romance: Treiss, a snow leopard, has feelings for Hank, a German shepherd, who is clueless. Bryony has a fairly obvious crush on Reaper, who doesn't seem to know how to respond.
  • Jumped at the Call: Treiss did this to start the strip. The call came in the form of Belle's newspaper ad, trying to find one more tenant for the household.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: The creator herself has one in a corner of a strip where Bear and Buddy observe some hens wearing biker duds.
    Bear: Look! Biker chicks!
    Tracy: *sobs* I didn't write that!
  • Late to the Punchline: The recurring feature "You Had To Be There!"
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Beau invokes this trope to describe the bickering and teasing between Bryony and Reaper.
  • Mall Santa: Beau performed a stint as one in the first year of the comic. It was a small CMOH.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Belle does it both willingly and unwillingly. A lot.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Belle is a savage beast until she has her morning coffee. Literally.
  • No Fourth Wall: The characters occasionally address the readers directly, usually to announce hiatuses or for other similar purposes.
  • Oblivious to Love: Hank the dog is completely unaware that Treiss has a crush on him.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Treiss wears one just about every day, and in one storyline, Belle drags her to the mall for a more modern one.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Beau and Bryony aren't exactly standard angelic fare.
  • The Plan: Bear comes up with one on the spot to end up watching the Super Bowl on Hank's television. It works.
  • Poke the Poodle: The 'angels' in a Neon Genesis Evangelion parody literally do this.
  • Shipper on Deck: It's made clear at times that Beau is sort of a closet Bryony/Reaper shipper. Ivy is also perfectly happy to jump to conclusions.
  • Shirtless Scene: Sort of inverted. One has to wonder if Bear or Buddy even own shirts. note 
  • Shout-Out: Often. Past shout-outs include those made to Star Wars, Star Trek, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and The Legend of Zelda.
    • My Little Pony: Patches and Bryony play with these, as does (on occasion) Mr. Cuddles.
    • Peanuts: Buddy recreates the menu from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving as a welcome dinner for new neighbor Hank.
  • Stealth Pun: In one strip of the reboot, they show a moving van with the silhouette of a mule on it... pack mule, anyone?
  • Take Over the World: Both Bear and Mr. Cuddles the tarantula have this as their basic life goal.
    • Buddy is Bear's second-in-command-in-training, by the looks of it.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Played for Laughs when Treiss's parents came to visit. Hank, who is LARPing with Bear, is wearing a Nazi SS uniform. Then again, it was pretty funny.
    • Surprisingly though, it's also an example of No Swastikas, as while Hank is shown wearing the little red armband, the swastika itself is never shown, with the arm its on being not in frame, or being covered by something else. The most you see of it is a little black squiggle in the center of the white circle.
  • Totally Radical: Buddy tends to speak like this.
  • TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life: One of the comments on a filler comic specifically noted, " ate my brain."
  • Unsound Effect: BEEF! and *EMO* - among others.
  • Valley Girl: Patches, like, talks this way.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Bear and Bryony do!
    • Belle and Annie are black cats with pink hair.

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