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T.C. and the gang (and Dibble) note 

Top Cat!
The most effectual Top Cat!
Who's intellectual
Close friends get to call him T.C.
Providing it's with dignity!
Top Cat!
The indisputable leader of the gang!
He's the boss, he's the pip, he's the championship!
He's the most tip-top, Top Cat!
Yes he's the chief, he's the king, but above everything...
He's the most tip top, Top Cat!
Top Cat!
— Theme song

Hanna-Barbera produced this Animated Series for ABC in 1961. Unlike the studio's earlier series, Top Cat was set in the midst of New York City. Even before the first episode was broadcast, Bill Hanna knew that Top Cat was going to be popular.

Top Cat is a Lovable Rogue who leads his gang of alley cats through one Zany Scheme after another, keeping the cats ahead of Officer Charlie Dibble, the local beat cop. The series took a page from The Phil Silvers Show, with "T.C." (as his gang called him) based on Phil Silvers' Sgt. Ernie Bilko. Maurice Gosfield, who played Pvt. Doberman on The Phil Silvers Show, provided the voice of Benny the Ball.

In the late 1980s, Arnold Stang reprised his Top Cat role in the syndicated series Yogi's Treasure Hunt and the Made-for-TV Movie Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (part of the "Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10" series). In 1990, T.C. and Choo-Choo had an entry in the Fender Bender 500 segment of Wake Rattle And Roll. Top Cat and his gang have also appeared on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

A Flash animated Top Cat movie with CGI backgrounds has been released in 2011 in Mexico, where the show has been especially popular in the past decades where it's known as Don Gato y Su Pandilla (Don Gato and His Gang). A prequel was made which uses CGI entirely and released in 2015. The cast also appears as recurring characters on the 2021 HBO Max animated series Jellystone!.

The original series provides examples of:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: The episode "Rafeefleas" has T.C. collecting money for a pizza from the gang (as part of a scheme to get free pizzas for each of them), and Brain has thirteen cents.
    T.C.: Thirteen is an unlucky number. Get rid of that hoodoo! (Brain drops the money in T.C.'s hat)
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Spook and Fancy, who only wear ties or collars.
  • Advertising-Only Continuity: In a Corn Flakes ad, Top Cat appears behind a wooden fence, eyeing a police officer conversing on a telephone, carrying a grocery bag with a box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. As the officer hangs up, he turns to see Top Cat standing on a box, positioning his hands in the shape of a screen as if he is a film director. Top Cat woos the officer with promises of fame. Meanwhile, a cat appears with a makeshift fishing rod made of a broom. Three more cats appear, solidifying the illusion of a film production set. One of the cats slaps the officer with an enormous powdering pad, creating an explosive poof of makeup. Top Cat reaches through the makeup cloud and snatches the box of cereal and holds it as if still filming for the make-believe camera. Top Cat asks if the officer likes Corn Flakes, and the officer says, "I do!" Top Cat says "Cut!" Thanking the officer for his participation in the commercial, Top Cat walks away, and the officer thanks Top Cat, and walks away with his grocery bag, then shakes his head and snaps to, realizing his box of cereal is missing. The group of cats now sit at a table next to the fence, enjoying bowls of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. The police officer walks up to table, grabs the box of cereal, placing it back in his grocery bag, and asks Top Cat if he is being paid for this "commercial." The powder makeup cat returns, slapping powder on the officer, leaving another cloud looming upon the officer's head. Top Cat yet again reaches into the makeup cloud and takes the box from the officer, walking away.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Sri Lanka dub has a completely different theme created by Titus Thotawatte.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The cats have interesting fur colors (T.C. is bright yellow, Benny is indigo, Choo-Choo is pink, Fancy-Fancy is cinnamon brown, Spook is olive-green and Brain is orange).
  • Animation Bump: Most of the series is in the typical Hanna-Barbera limited animation style — except the opening and closing title animation, which although still limited seems to have had more care and attention lavished on it. It was not the only H-B show of the era whose intro was more fluidly animated than the main show; those of Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw were as well, along with their interstitial segments.
  • Annoying Patient: In the episode "The Late T.C.", Dibble overhears part of a conversation between Top Cat and a doctor and mistakenly believes Top Cat is dying. T.C. takes advantage of this to make Dibble bring him food, throw him parties, etc.
  • Apes in Space: In the "Space Monkey" episode, the feline heroes help a monkey astronaut by sending his rocket into his home Africa.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Farewell, Mr. Dibble", Officer Dibble is replaced by an even stricter police officer, who is so zealous that he is drawing public complaints to his superior for being excessive. To get rid of him, T.C. convinces said officer that the city's mayor is Cha-cha Charlie, a gangster wanted by police for extortion, smuggling and leading a dance school without permission.
  • Automobile Opening: In the opening of the show, T.C. is seen presumably being driven in a limousine. When the limousine turns around, we see he's actually riding on its rear fender.
  • Big Applesauce: The series is set in New York City, where the gang has their alley.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: In the episode "Rafeefleas", Spook ends a billiards game by shooting all the remaining balls in all the pockets in one shot.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Benny. Also Dibble in the show, but he gained sclerae in modern depictions, as seen above.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Though not the laziest bum in the box, T.C. tends to rely on the others to do the manual work while he does the mental work.
  • Buffoonish Tomcat: Brain, in stark contrast to most of the rest of the gang.
  • The Butler Did It: "The Missing Heir" features butler Chutney trying to do in Benny in order to obtain a fortune that Benny's mistakenly believed to be an heir to.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dibble and sometimes Benny.
  • Captivity Harmonica: Lampshaded in one episode. The gang is tricked into robbing a warehouse, and are sent to prison. Choo-Choo whips a harmonica from hammerspace, and begins playing it. When T.C. questions it, Chooch explains, "They always play harmonicas in prison movies", upon which T.C. reminds him that This Is Reality.
  • The Casanova: Fancy-Fancy, in a PG-rated sort of way.
  • Casting Gag: Benny's voice actor had previously starred in The Phil Silvers Show as Private Duane Doberman, and was fittingly voiced by Doberman himself, Maurice Gosfield.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted — Top Cat may be a con artist, but he's also a pretty decent guy, as demonstrated in "The Con Men" where he helped an immigrant hot dog vendor who had been conned (unbeknownst to the vendor) by another pair of swindlers (although he was planning on scamming him himself...)
  • Cats Are Snarkers: T.C.
    T.C.: [to Dibble] I'd suggest a battle of wits, but you're only half-prepared.
  • The Charmer: T.C., big time.
  • Coin-on-a-String Trick: Seen in the opening credits, with T.C. snatching the coin back from a doorman after he's tipped him.
  • The Con: The Landmark Scam variant is used as a Brick Joke in "The Late T.C." — T.C. goes to the doctor after a nasty fall. When Choo-Choo mentions this to Dibble, the latter snidely remarks that T.C. will try to sell him the Brooklyn Bridge ("I didn't even know it was for sale!" replies Choo-Choo). Sure enough, when the doctor begins discussing his fee, T.C. then tries to pay him with a "business opportunity": "I can't mention any names but it's about a certain bridge..."
  • Cool Cat: Top Cat and company, particularly Spook.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Officer Dibble. Top Cat can make him look like a moron, but Dibble proves himself a very brave, competent cop whenever facing a seriously dangerous criminal; he actually gets into gunfights with bank robbers and other delinquents, usually arresting them in the end.
  • Denial of Animality:
    • In "Dibble Sings Again", TC leaves one of his gang as collateral for a loan. The lender is perplexed: "A human collateral?" Then again, the only time in the entire series when the gang actually behave like cats is in "The Long Hot Winter", where they spend the winter at Dibble's, and they all jump into the only bed, crowding Dibble out and pushing him onto the floor: anyone with a cat knows what THAT's like.
    • The episode "The Million Dollar Derby" has this line.
      Benny: I like animals. Some of my best friends are animals.
  • Depth Deception: Twice in the opening credits — first, Top Cat can be seen riding in a limo, only for it to turn and reveal he's actually riding on the fender. Soon after, he's seen apparently sitting at a table on a restaurant's patio, only for the next bit to show he's actually sitting on a box on the other side of a hedge next to the table.
  • The Ditz: Brain. As T.C. says of his intelligence (or lack thereof) in Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, "He's a terminal twit."
  • Door Judo: "Hawaii — Here We Come" has Benny go on a cruise, prompting the rest of the gang to tag along. At several points, Officer Dribble, the ship's captain, and a counterfeit artist try to barge into the cabin... only to end up running right off the ship, having to cling (unsuccessfully) to the side of the hull.
  • A Father to His Men: Top Cat is hinted to be this to his gang.
  • The Fettered: Officer Dibble. He's passionately devoted to his duty, even when his duty causes him great grief and makes him the butt of all jokes.
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison: The episode "Rafeefleas" has Choo Choo explaining to T.C. what Benny the Ball was doing at the museum:
    Choo Choo: He was in front of a display with a big sign that said "Watch This Space."
    T.C.: So?
    Choo Choo: So, Benny was just standing there...
    Choo Choo and T.C.: Watching the space!
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Episodes feature this happening a few times. The most notable one is "The Tycoon", where a millionaire gives Benny a check to give to T.C for one million dollars after he finds out how rough the gang has it. When the merchants' association finds out, T.C and the gang are treated like royalty. In the end, it all goes away because Top Cat, who didn't give Benny a chance to explain about the million dollars, tore up the check. To be fair, Top Cat thought that Benny had been tricked into accepting a ticket for a 25 cent raffle, so he didn't know any better.
  • Friendly Enemy: T.C. and Dibble. The former will always find a way to humiliate the latter, while the latter is deliriously happy at every opportunity to arrest T.C. But they'd give their lives for each other just as quickly.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The episode "A Visit from Mother" features Penelope Jean Brook-Ball, also known as Mrs. Ball, Benny the Ball's mother. In contrast to her son's Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal status, she wears a hat, dress and Victorian-era styled boots.
  • Funny Animal: T.C. and the gang straddle the line between Funny Animal and Civilized Animal. They wear clothes and can communicate with humans in English, but are otherwise function and are treated as members of their respective species.
  • Garbage Hideout: T.C. lives in a garbage can. It may be squalor, but with his method of thinking and conniving, it's practically a mansion.
  • Gaslighting: In "Top Cat Falls in Love", Top Cat faked an illness so he could be waited on by a Hospital Hottie, but once she went away to get married and he was left with a much less pleasant nurse he got out of her care by making her think the Christmas decorations around his room (in Summer) are only in her head.
  • Gesundheit: Variant in the episode "Space Monkey", where Top Cat and his gang help Eek-Eek, a chimp from a space program, to escape and get home. Later on, when talking to Officer Dibble who's none the wiser about their scheme, they are delivered a crate of bananas and a letter signed by Eek-Eek.
    Top Cat's gang: Eek-Eek!
    Officer Dibble: What's all this "Eek-Eek" stuff?
    Top Cat: Guess the boys just have a touch of indigestion.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Four of the gang wear tops — Top Cat (who wears a vest), Benny (who wears a shirt), Choo Choo (who wears a white sweater) and Brain (who also wears a shirt) — but no pants.
  • Half-Hour Comedy: An animated example.
  • Handbag of Hurt: In one episode, a female cat sends Fancy-Fancy flying with her handbag.
    Fancy: Oh boy, she's weakening! Last time, she hit me with her fist.
  • Hero Antagonist: Officer Dibble, an honest cop who regularly opposes the gang's schemes to earn money in dishonest ways.
  • Human Ladder: In the episode "The Late T.C.", Top Cat tries to watch a ball game at Yankee Stadium by having his gang stand on top of each other so he can peek over the fence.
    Choo-Choo: I heard of supporting your team, but this is ridiculous.
  • Identical Stranger: In the episode "The Missing Heir", when reading the heir's physical description in the newspaper, the cast realizes that Benny matches that description perfectly. Unsurprisingly, by the end, it's revealed Benny is not the heir, but the real one is near identical, outside of a birthmark on his foot (the matching birthmark on Benny turning out to actually be a piece of chewing gum).
  • Ill-Timed Sneeze: Dibble sneezes while disguising himself as a statue when a curator dusts his face (curator says "Gesundheit"), Choo-Choo gives the gang away when they are hiding from gangsters (T.C. stops him with the finger trick, but then lets go) and Benny sneezes thrice in the show: first time he explodes a barrel, second time he explodes a safe and the third time he explodes a building.
  • Ironic Name: The dimmest member of T.C.'s gang is named Brain. The Latin American Spanish dub managed to make it more hilarious by renaming him "Demostenes", after the Greek philosopher.
  • It's a Small World, After All: In the episode "Rafeefleas", T.C. plans an all-you-can-eat pizza binge for him and his pals but picks the wrong pizza shop to do it:
    T.C.: A thousand pizza parlors in New York and we had to pick the one run by Officer Dibble's cousin!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: T.C. (who is very close to his friends despite his sarcastic attitude) and Officer Dibble.
  • Late to the Punchline: Getting the core joke of the series really required an understanding of period American street culture and of the likes of Damon Runyon. A lot of kids probably only understood that it was a show about a street gang full of colorful hoods some years later.
  • Laugh Track: Like other Hanna-Barbera prime-time cartoons of the time, the show sports one. The Mexican dub removed it, however.
  • Lazy Bum: The entire gang. Proudly so. They even simultaneously shriek in horror when Dibble suggests they find jobs.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The cats are treated on par with humans and they behave like humans. No one thinks twice of a bipedal cat talking to a human.
  • Literal-Minded: Benny the Ball is implied to be this in "Rafeefleas" when Choo Choo tells T.C. that Benny was at the museum:
    Choo Choo: He was standing in front of a display with a big sign that said "Watch This Space."
    T.C.: So?
    Choo Choo: So, Benny was just standing there...
    T.C. and Choo Choo together: Watching the space!
  • Lovable Rogue: Top Cat and his gang, of course. They're always out to get cash to get rich and afford food, but they're really nice guys at heart who don't hurt anyone except other scammers.
  • Malicious Misnaming: A running gag on the show was Top Cat calling Dibble Dribble. However, it was more in a cheeky teasing sort of way, rather than malicious. This was carried over in the Mexican dub, where "Oficial Matute" would sometimes be referred to as either "Patute" or "Matate", depending on the episode.
  • Maintain the Lie: In the episode "A Visit from Mother", Benny the Ball has told his mother that he's the mayor, so when she visits, T.C. and the gang arrange a mayoral reception.
  • Market-Based Title: In Britain there was once a Top Cat brand of cat food. This led to The BBC changing Top Cat to Boss Cat up to the late '80s. Seeing as they only changed the show's title, and not its theme song, or the lead character's name, it was rather a token gesture. The show was called by its proper title by the '90s.
  • Master of Disguise: "Dibble's Double" has a criminal who can do this, and used his talent to disguise himself as Officer Dibble.
  • Meddlesome Patrolman: Officer Dibble provides the trope picture, always trying to interfere in the gang's plans to earn money through underhanded means.
  • Mistaken for Dying: "The Late T.C." has Officer Dibble mishear a conversation between T.C. and a doctor about a broken clock and think T.C. only has one week to live. After a few more misunderstandings, T.C. figured out the situation and tries to take advantage of it. Of course Dibble eventually finds out and gets quite angry at this development.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: "The Maharajah of Pookajee" has a maharajah with a habit of giving out rubies, who's going to be staying in town at a fancy hotel. Top Cat, on learning of this, has the gang disguise themselves with the aid of some towels and a bag of fake rubies so they can get past Dibble, who's guarding the hotel entrance, then look for the maharajah and get some real rubies. In the hotel lobby, though, the receptionist mistakes T.C. for the real maharajah, so T.C. goes along with the charade and gets to stay in a luxury suite. Amusingly enough, when the real maharajah shows up, Top Cat ends up mistaking the real deal for another impostor.
  • Mistaken Identity: Benny is subject to a few of these, such as being mistaken for the heir to a fortune in "The Missing Heir".
  • Mock Millionaire:
    • In "The Con Men", T.C. pretended to be a Texan millionaire to out-con a couple of con artists who had tricked an immigrant hot dog vendor (who T.C. was apparently going to con himself) into investing in some worthless stock.
    • In "The Maharajah of Pookajee", a maharajah with a habit of handing out rubies is going to be staying in town at a fancy hotel. T.C. impersonates him, with the help of a bag of glass beads. Later, T.C. ends up running into the real maharajah, but assumes he's just another impostor pulling the same scam and ends up throwing the bag of "fake" rubies the maharajah gives him into the bay.
  • Morality Chain: On a few occasions, T.C. is seen willing to go a little too far in his schemes, but the rest of the gang will object and convince him otherwise.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the episode "The Tycoon", a millionaire in search of a needy person to receive a million dollars from him learned from Benny how badly off the gang was, so he wrote out a check to Top Cat. As a result, when all the merchants found out, Top Cat and his bunch were treated like royalty. But in the end, they lost everything again because Top Cat tore up the check, thinking it was for a 25-cent raffle.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Fancy's voice is basically Cary Grant.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Brain is not very smart. In the comics, however, he's just as intelligent as his name implies.
  • On One Condition: In "The Missing Heir", a rich person's disappeared cat had a deadline to reappear or else the butler would get the inheritance. Benny was mistaken for the missing cat, turning him into the target of the butler's ire. The real cat then appeared and got the money despite having missed the deadline. The viewers were left to assume that it was because it was the butler who caused the disappearance in the first place.
  • Only Known by Initials: Top Cat is often (but not always) known as T.C. (though according to the theme song, it's reserved for close friends).
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: In "The Late T.C.", Dibble overheard Top Cat's doctor saying the ticker was shot when TC tried to pay with a clock, and thought Top Cat was dying. Also, Dibble overheard the Chief talking about getting rid of the old wrecks (the worn out police cars) and thought he was going to be laid off.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Top Cat uses conniving and hucksterism to keep his gang fed in an otherwise impoverished organization.
  • Pet the Dog: Dibble's repeated failures in "The Long Hot Winter" drive him to tears and thinking he should just quit his job. Top Cat feels so bad for him that he confesses to having had an overdue library book for a few months and figures that's gotta at least be a misdemeanor. He is promptly arrested.
  • Playing Cyrano: Top Cat does it for Choo-Choo in "Choo-Choo's Romance". As usual with this plan, it does not end well, partly because of the lady cat's jealous boyfriend.
  • Princess for a Day: In "A Visit From Mother", the gang rally round to convince Benny the Ball's mother that he's Mayor of New York, just like he said in his letters home.
  • Punny Name: The Mexican dub excelled at giving these to main characters and one-shots. The original version was more straightforward.
  • Real Vehicle Reveal: In the opening credits, Top Cat appears to be riding in the back of a limousine. However, as the car turns a corner, it is revealed he is actually riding on the fender.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: In "Choo-Choo's Romance", while trying to help Choo-Choo woo a lady cat, TC ends up drawing pistols at high noon with the lady's actual boyfriend. Of course, he rigs the duel beforehand and has Benny replace everyone's bullets with blanks, and then he feigns a fatal injury so his "Heroic Sacrifice" would get him back into everyone's good graces. Turns out, though, that Benny didn't have time to switch out the bullets, at which point T.C. stares at the bullethole going through the middle of his hat and faints dead away.
  • Recycled Premise: T.C. and the gang's trying to put numerous schemes over on Officer Dibble is reminiscent of The Phil Silvers Show, with Maurice Gosfield appearing on The Phil Silvers Show as Private Doberman and on Top Cat as Benny the Ball.
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Officer Dibble, every time he speaks to his superiors (or someone else) over the phone.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: In "A Visit From Mother", in which Benny's mother shows up, she attempts to "christen" a ship by whacking it with the bottle, but whacks Officer Dibble instead. Later, when she cuts the ribbon to "open" a bridge, a similar incident happens to Dibble.
  • Ring Around the Collar: As typical of the Hanna-Barbera output, the character designs make use of this trick, which is why the cats wear clothing.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Happens in "T.C. Minds the Baby" when the gang adopts an abandoned baby, only to have to give him back when the mother reclaims him.
    Top Cat: What's the matter? Ain't you never seen a guy with somethin' in his eye before?
    Choo Choo: Sure we did, T.C., but not you.
  • Serial Romeo: Choo-Choo. Poor guy.
  • Short-Lived Leadership: In "All That Jazz", the new cat in town, A.T. (All That) Jazz, takes over the pool hall, steals Top Cat's girlfriend, sways the gang, and gets on Dibble's good side by cleaning up the alley. This sparks a contest between Jazz and T.C., each trying to trick the other into getting out of town. When a movie producer shows up at the alley, offering T.C. a part in a Hollywood film, he assumes it's another trick, as does Jazz. Benny accepts the offer and is cast in the starring role in "The Thing from the Alley." He leaves for Hollywood in a limo, accompanied by T.C. and the gang in the guise of Benny's manager, valet, vocal coach, tailor and chauffeur. Jazz consoles himself with the thought that at least the alley is now his. Not long after, Dibble catches Jazz using the police phone. He declares that Jazz is "just as bad as Top Cat" and makes Jazz and his buddy Beau keep the alley clean for thirty days.
  • Shout-Out: Lots.
    • In "Farewell, Mr. Dibble", Top Cat paraphrases Finian's Rainbow.
    • In "Rafeefleas", the cats sneak into a museum and see statues of Fred and Barney. Choo-Choo even says that he's seen the statues on television, but he can't remember where.
    • In "King for a Day", Top Cat and the gang appear on the titular game show, which is basically a Gender Flipped Queen for a Day.
  • Sleep Mask: T.C. dons one before going to sleep in his trash can, as seen in the closing credits.
  • Sliding Scale of Animal Cast: Type 7 (Equally Human and Animal Cast) — Mr. Dibble the human character is as important a character as the cat characters are.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Closer to 1 than to 2 — no real continuity, but it never really contradicts itself.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Benny had four episodes dedicated solely to him, and there were several more episodes where something he did got the ball rolling. Not to mention that in Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, he got the spotlight again.
  • Stray Animal Story: The main characters are a gang of Funny Animal stray cats.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Officer Dibble, who's generally pretty good at his job, friendly with the people on his beat, and has more than once arrested some genuinely dangerous crooks single-handed and under gunfire. He just can't get the better of Top Cat... most of the time. He also has a soft spot a mile wide for T.C. and tends to get along with him just fine if he's behaving himself. At his most officious, Dibble only wants to book him on legitimate charges to win the battle of wits.
  • Talking Animal: The main cast, a gang of cats who speak perfect English.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: "The Long Hot Winter" in a nutshell. With the city covered in snow, the gang needs a warm place to stay for the winter. With Dibble's wife out of town, Top Cat gets the idea to crash at his place by exploiting an obscure law and Dibble's need to look good to his boss. Despite Dibble's best efforts to get out of this, T.C. and the gang spend four months living in his apartment.
  • Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change: The Brazilian dub changes the original New York City setting to Brazil's federal capital of Brasília.
  • Title Scream: As the intro goes:
    "Yes, he's the chief, he's a king, but above everything, he's the most tip top... Top Cat! TOP CAT!"
  • Title Theme Tune: "Top Cat, the most effectual Top Cat".
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: T.C. exploits this as one of his get-rick-quick schemes. He sees a modern-art painting hailed as a masterpiece, so he ties a paintbrush to a turtle's tail, lets the turtle wander over a sheet, and passes the result off as the work of a great artist.
  • True Companions: T.C. and the gang, who've always got one another's backs and refuse to abandon one another.
  • Unexplained Accent: The Mexican dub became famous due to the use of different Mexican accents for each of the cats. Probably one of the reasons behind its broad popularity in Latin America.
  • Villain Protagonist: T.C. is only this in the loosest sense of the term. He runs a street gang of cats and constantly schemes to get rich, but he rarely does anything evil.
  • Violin Scam: An amusing variation happened in "The Con Men", when a pair of con artists trick an immigrant hot dog vendor from the neighborhood into buying worthless stocks in a floundering Nova Scotia oil company. T.C. then tricks the scammers into thinking he's a Texan millionaire. While they are meeting in his "office" (the alley, only spruced up), T.C. leaves for a moment only for the "teletype" (the output of which actually comes from Benny hiding under a table with a typewriter) to state that the well struck oil and the value of the shares skyrocketed. The scammers then rush to the hot dog vendor and buy back the shares at triple the price. In other words T.C. managed to pull the violin scam for a worthless item the marks had previously owned!
  • Wraparound Background: Well, this is Hanna-Barbera, after all.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: In one episode, Benny the Ball demonstrates what he would do to some guy using a garbage can as a model. He performs an airplane spin and is readying to do "the ol' bodyslam" (He names the move!), but he loses his balance and hilarity ensues.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The show was renamed "Boss Cat" in the United Kingdom since "Top Cat" was already used there by a then-popular brand of cat food and the show was broadcast on The BBC, which frowns upon the mention of trademarks. However, this applied only to textual mentions of the title in the opening and closing credits: a rather jarring and noticeable edit was carried on both to remove said mentions, with a title card using the revised name being inserted after the opening credits. The theme song and the dialog still mentioned "Top Cat", which led to the show being known as "Top Cat" by UK audiences anyway. By 1999, the cat food brand had been discontinued, making the point of the rename moot: the title was reverted to "Top Cat".
  • Xanatos Gambit: T.C. is a master at these, even when they devolve into Xanatos Speed Chess. When his plans go terribly wrong, Top Cat never ends up worse than when he started, and someone, whether Officer Dibble or one of his gang, always comes out better off.
  • Xylophone Gag: Used in the episode "The Missing Heir" in an attempt to kill Benny via a rigged xylophone set to explode when he hits a certain note, only the tune used is "While Strolling Through The Park One Day".
  • Zany Scheme: The gang is always concocting these to try and get cash through various dishonest methods.

Comic adaptations contain examples of:

  • Community-Threatening Construction: T.C. and the gang guest-star in a crossover comic with Scooby-Doo, "Reigning Cats and Dogs", in which the villains are a pair of realtors who aren't actually doing anything illegal, but they're jerkasses who don't care about the people whose lives they're ruining with their plans. T.C. and the gang, along with Officer Dibble, work together to stop their plan.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Issue #16 of Cartoon Network Presents features the story "It's a Wonderful Strife", in which both T.C. and Officer Dibble, tired of putting up with each other, wish they'd never come to the city. The both of them are then shown alternate realities by their guardian angels, played respectively by Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss. Huck shows T.C. that, without guidance from a crafty leader, his gang has to resort to crime for sustenance, and Snagglepuss shows Dibble that if he never became a police officer, T.C. would be an anarchist bossing around the entire police force.
  • Scarecrow Solution: T.C. and the gang guest-star in "Reigning Cats and Dogs", a crossover comic with Scooby-Doo, in which two realtors are doing a project that threatens the local suburbs. Since what they're doing isn't illegal, no matter how despicable they are, Officer Dibble pulls the Bedsheet Ghost trick to get rid of them. It takes some time to convince them it's a real ghost since Top Cat had previously tried the trick to keep his illegal gambling operation a secret and dressing up as a ghost is the first thing they teach at realtor school and, when they're finally convinced, they flee not in fear of the ghost itself but of how unprofitable the land they want becomes because of it.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: T.C. and the gang guest-star in "Reigning Cats and Dogs", a crossover comic with Scooby-Doo, in which a developer says dressing up as a ghost is the first thing they teach at realtor school. Ironically, neither of the two developers in that story pull the trick. The first two ghosts are Top Cat's gang trying to keep Officer Dibble from catching Top Cat's illegal gambling scheme, and the other ghost is Officer Dibble using a Scarecrow Solution to prevent the developers from destroying a suburb.