"Scaredy Cat" is a 1948 Looney Tunes cartoon short featuring Sylvester and Porky Pig directed by Chuck Jones. The short is the first of the Porky/Sylvester "horror vacation" trilogy, followed by Claws For Alarm in 1954 and Jumpin' Jupiter in 1955.
The plot begins with Porky Pig and his pet cat Sylvester arriving at their new house in the middle of the night, which Sylvester finds scary. But as the unfazed Porky only wants to get a good nights sleep, the easily frightened Sylvester discovers that a cult of murderous mice inhabit their new house and plan to make the new owners their next victims.
This cartoon is also notable for being the first use of the name "Sylvester".
Edited into 1977's Bugs Bunny's Howl-oween Special, where clips from it and Claws For Alarm where combined and re-arranged into one narrative, with Witch Hazel shown as being responsible for the horrific events while Porky and Sylvester are staying at her hotel.
"Scaredy Cat" provides examples of:
- Bowdlerization: Cartoon Network's and Boomerang's American feed have aired two versions of this short, each with violent parts edited:
- One version has the Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies title card and cuts the scenes where Sylvester gets a pistol from a dresser drawer and threatens to kill himself if Porky does not let him stay to protect him from the mice and the scene where Porky bends over to pick up a scared Sylvester and nearly misses being shot by a mouse in a black hood. This was also how the scene was cut when aired on ABC (as part of The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show) and the former WB! network.
- A rarely shown 1998 dubbed version, which first aired on a 4:00am showing of the Cartoon Network compilation show Bugs and Daffy in 2003 and aired again on a New Year's Day marathon of Looney Tunes cartoons on January 1, 2010, has the original title cards and credits and reinstates the scene where Porky bends over to pick up a scared Sylvester and nearly misses getting shot by a mouse in a black hood, but still edits the scene where Sylvester withdraws a pistol from a drawer and threatens to kill himself with it and fights with Porky over the gun. In contrast to the usual "dissolve-edit" version that aired frequently on Cartoon Network, the newly edited version cuts from Porky asking Sylvester to leave his bedroom to Sylvester crying and Porky chastising him for being a crybaby before relenting, and crops the shot of Porky chastising Sylvester for crying so the gun behind Porky's back is never shown. As of 2011, this newly edited version is the version that used to air on Cartoon Network and now airs on Boomerang.
- Color Failure: After being lowered into the basement, Sylvester comes out white from the shock.
- Cowardly Lion: Sylvester, of the cat variety.
- Cruel Twist Ending: After Sylvester saves Porky, the executioner mouse appears, and bludgeons Sylvester with a mallet. Though there's certainly plenty of room to indicate that our two main characters will be fine, as the mouse only got Sylvester, he's only knocked out, and he recovered from far worse already.
- Guardian Angel: Sylvesters appears to him when he runs out on Porky about to be murdered execution-style.
- Haunted House: a non-supernatural example.
- Heart Beats out of Chest: A variant occurs after Sylvester witnesses the killer mice carting away a tied-up cat: his heart visibly pounds in his throat but only stretches it from side-to-side instead of forward.
- Hidden Harasser: Porky doesn't catch on to the mice trying to kill him. He just thinks Sylvester is overreacting, or worse, is the one actually trying to kill him.
- Malevolent Mice: The mice who take up residence in Porky and Sylvester's new home are vicious, heartless murderers.
- Nothing Is Scarier: We never find out what happened to Sylvester in the basement, other than the fact that it went on for four hours, and it absolutely horrified him. It's all the more terrifying because of this.
- Possession Presumes Guilt: Sylvester catches an anvil aimed for a sleeping Porky Pig. When Porky wakes up, he sees Sylvester holding the anvil above him and assumes the cat is up to no good. Justified, as Porky previously saw Sylvester's previous attempts to warn him of the killer mice as causing trouble.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Sylvester runs away after the mice capture Porky. Fortunately, his guardian angel convinces him to return.
- Take Our Word for It: We never find out what Sylvester saw when he was lowered down into the basement, but whatever it was, it scared him so much it turned his fur white.
- Talking with Signs: Porky goes down to prove that Sylvester is just seeing things. He is next seen tied up by the mice holding a sign that reads "You were right, Sylvester."
- Telephone Polearm: Sylvester grabs a tree branch to attack the mice with, but then reconsiders and takes the whole tree instead.
- Took a Level in Badass: After his guardian angel inspires him to save Porky, he uproots a freaking tree, and single handedly destroys that death cult to save his master.
- The Voiceless: Sylvester notably does not speak in this short.
- You Have to Believe Me!: The trope that drives all three shorts in the trilogy, tho at least in this one Porky finally gets it (albeit only once the mice have him completely tied up and on the way to his execution).