kitten standing up with its paws on top of a board.

Have you ever noticed that cats are often underrepresented on TV? While dogs may be a common sight on the small screen, cats are much less likely to make an appearance. But why is this?

Why No Cats?

Well, there are a few reasons why cats may not be as popular as dogs when it comes to TV casting. For one, cats are generally harder to train than dogs. They’re not as responsive to commands, and they tend to have a mind of their own. This can make them less predictable on set, which can be a challenge for producers and directors trying to get a scene just right.

Cats also require more set time to work with. They need breaks to rest and eat, and they may not be as cooperative as dogs when it comes to performing tricks or following a specific script. All of these factors can make it more difficult to include cats in TV shows.

Challenges of Cats in Hollywood

In the show “30 Rock,” the writers couldn’t get a scene with a cat to go as planned, so they ended up using a stuffed animal instead. And on the set of “Gilmore Girls,” a cat named Paul Anka refused to leave the coffee shop set, causing production delays.

Michael Jamin, Hollywood Screenwriter, even talks about working on the set of Maron which is based on the story of Marc Maron who famously had a lot of cats. Wanting to incorporate that, he and the TV show writers rewrote an episode where Maron is supposed to be eating dinner alone and they wanted to write in a cat hopping on top of the table. While most of the time you can’t keep a cat off of the table (especially when dinner is salmon), the crew had a really hard time getting the cat to perform in a TV show set environment and it took a full hour to get the cat to get on the table.

Seeing that one hour of production time only got them five seconds of screen time when it could’ve otherwise gotten them a few minutes worth, you can see that using cats can sometimes seem pretty inefficient.

You can check out the full Maron cat story here:

Which TV Shows & Movies Have Cats?

That being said, cat’s aren’t completely off limits in Hollywood. In fact, there have been some notable exceptions. The popular sitcom “Friends” featured a white Persian cat named Snowball, who belonged to Ross’s ex-wife. In “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” Salem, a talking black cat, played a central role in the show. And who could forget Mr. Bigglesworth, the white Persian cat belonging to the villainous character Dr. Evil in the “Austin Powers” movie franchise? The key is to keep their roles simple.

Want to Learn More Fun Facts About Hollywood?

If you’re an aspiring screenwriter or want to work on a TV or movie set one day, you should definitely check out Michael Jamin’s podcast, “Screenwriters Need to Hear This”. You’ll learn what it takes to make it in Hollywood, valuable career tips, and fun stories from an experienced Hollywood careerist.

Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Phil Hudson

Phil Hudson is the Co-Host of Screenwriters Need To Hear This with Micahel Jamin. He's worked on TV & Film projects like Rhett and Link's Buddy System, Quasi, and Tacoma FD, where he is an Associate Producer. Phil has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Film - Story Development from Santa Fe University of Art & Design, where he was a Robert Redford Scholar.

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