- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- In the fandom: Louise or the Baroness, a very minor character with only one shot and no lines during Nishi's telling of Baron's past in Whisper of the Heart, has become a fan favorite, with personalities ranging from evil, rival love interest with Haru for Baron, to sweet and kind rival to even Haru or Baron's sister in some fics. If she was a person, she'd either be totally insane or have Gollum-level split personality disorder.
- Also the Cat King, ranging from slightly senile old man(cat?) to psychotic, so obsessive over wanting Haru for his own he'll kill to do so.
- Contested Sequel: Whisper of the Heart may be better in terms of animation and story, but The Cat Returns (itself not a weak movie) is just as popular, if not more.
- Ear Worm: Kaze Ni Naru. Sweet dreams, listener.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Several years after Anne Hathaway starred in this movie about cats, she was cast as none other than Catwoman. Haru even comments, upon seeing Lune walking down the sidewalk with the box of fish crackers, "Cat burglar."
- A 2007 short features a possibly unintentional Baron Expy.
- Although Kristen Bell has more screen time voicing Haru's friend Hiromi than Elliot Gould does as Toto the crow, Gould is given on-screen credit on all English-dubbed theatrical copies of the film, while Bell has not. Even though Frozen later made Bell an animation superstar, she still gets no on-screen credit on Cat Returns theatrical screenings (but later gets prominent credit on Blu-rays and Dvds).
- More Popular Spin Off: It could be argued that this movie is more well-known and those who have seen this movie first might not know that it was an indirect sequel of Whisper of the Heart. It has more fanfictions and fanart in comparison to its first movie.
- Narm: Haru's over-the-top reaction to turning into a cat. Made even more hilarious in the Japanese version, in which she just screams "NEKO!" at the top of her lungs.
- OTP: Haru/Baron for a majority of the fans. All minor characters except Lune and Yuki are shipped with another of the opposite gender in at least one fanfic or fanart.
- Ships That Pass in the Night: Baron/Lune. No one knows why...
- So Okay, It's Average: It's good, but it really does feel like this when you hold it up next to many of the other movies from the studio. Not helping is how it had the unfortunate coincidence of premiering only a year after Spirited Away, a much more widely-acclaimed film with an uncannily similar basic template.
- Squick: As if the Cat King trying to marry Haru to his son Prince Lune wasn't enough, when the prince says no, he tries to marry her himself.
YMMV / The Cat Returns