31/05/2022

Get Your Cat Fix with Anime About Cats

Header Image: ©こなみかなた・講談社/こねこのチー製作委員会

Not sure what to watch next in your long list of planned to watch anime? Why not something about cats? In this article, we introduce anime about cats, have cat(s) as a main character, or just cat(s) for eye candy. From big titles like Natsume Yuujinchou and Fairy Tail, to Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki and other lesser known series.


Table of Contents

  1. Intro: Anime About Cats, With Cats as Main Characters, and Cats as Minor Characters
  2. Anime About Cats
    1. Chi’s Sweet Home
    2. My Roommate is a Cat
    3. A Whisker Away
    4. Ore, Tsushima
    5. Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki
    6. Bananya
  3. Anime with Cat(s) as a Main Character
    1. Natsume Yuujinchou
    2. Fruits Basket
    3. Fairy Tail
    4. Cardcaptor Sakura
    5. Re:ZERO - Starting Life in Another World -
    6. Sailor Moon
  4. Anime with Cat(s) in Minor Roles
    1. Kuro from Ao no Exorcist
    2. Metako from Machikado Mazoku
    3. Karupin from Prince of Tennis 
  5. Studio Ghibli’s Cats in Animation 
    1. Kiki’s Delivery Service
    2. Whisper of the Heart
    3. The Cat Returns
    4. My Neighbour Totoro
  6. Takeaway

Intro: Anime About Cats, With Cats as Main Characters, and Cats as Minor Characters

To help you easily find what you’re looking for, we have separated this part of our article into 3 categories: 

  1. Anime About Cat(s) - Plot is focused on the cat.

  2. Anime with Cat(s) as a Main Character - Cat is one of many main characters.

  3. Anime with Cat(s) in Minor Roles - Cat is not the focus, just a side character or to look cute.

Skip this part for Cats in Studio Ghibli Works.

Anime About Cats

Anime whose storyline is focused on the main character who is a cat. 

Chi’s Sweet Home

Chi’s Sweet Home (チーズスイートホーム), by manga authoress Konami Kanata (こなみ かなた)., is an adorable series following a sweet black striped gray and white kitten named Chi and her everyday life. The manga that ran from 2004-2015 spanned 12 Volumes and is enjoyed by both Japanese local and international readers. There are several anime adaptations starting with Chi’s Sweet Home, which is followed by:

  • Chi’s Sweet Home, Chi’s New Address (2009)

  • Chi’s Sweet Home, Chi Meets Kocchi (2010) (OVA)

  • Koneko no Chi, Ponpora Daibouken こねこのチー ポンポンらー大冒険 (2016)

  • Koneko no Chi, Ponpora Dairyouko こねこのチー ポンポンらー大旅行 (2018)

Image Credit: ©2009 KODANSHA Ltd. Publishers

The episodes are fairly short; Chi’s Sweet Home and Chi’s New Address are 3 minutes per episode, and both Koneko no Chi Ponpora are 12 minutes per episode. Adorable, funny, heartwarming, and easy to watch, Chi’s Sweet Home is great if you’re looking for something lighthearted and family fun.

Koneko no Chi, Ponpora Explained

Koneko no Chi, or Chi’s Sweet Adventure, is done in a 3D CG style as compared to the classic anime style in the previous series. Daibouken, the first season, adopts the manga’s storyline but second season, Dairyouko, is an original plot written by manga author, Konami Kanata.

Are you a fan of the new design? We recommend watching the Original first before the 3D CG version and making the comparison yourself.  

Available On: Crunchyroll (Chi’s New Address); Amazon Prime Video, VRV (Koneko no Chi); Bookwalker, Kodansha (Manga)

TIP: Great for beginner to intermediate Japanese learners! Try watching without subtitles to train your Japanese listening skills and comprehension.

Chi’s Sweet Home Official Homepage
※ MyAnimeList, “Chi’s Sweet Home

My Roommate is a Cat

My Roommate is a Cat is a collaboration web manga by storywriter Minatsuki Tsunami (皆月 つなみ) and artist Futatsuya Asu (二ツ家 あす). The manga has been adapted into a 12 episode anime series in 2019. 

The series’ original title is actually “Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki Atama no Ue 同居人はひざ、時々頭のうえ。” which translates to “My Roommate is On My Lap and Sometimes On My Head” which sums up living with a cat perfectly. 

Image Credit: ©みなつき©二ツ家あす/COMICポラリス

My Roommate is a Cat is a comedy and slice of life anime/manga centred on novelist, Mikazuki Subaru (朏 素晴) and his newly adopted tuxedo cat, Haru (陽). Their antics are adorable with Subaru struggling with his shy and introverted nature to get things done for his cat, and Haru just being a cat - adorable yet mischievous. The best thing about the series is its relatableness for cat owners and the insight into Haru’s (cat’s) thoughts

As a plus, onboard the cast for voice actors are a number of famous names including Ono Kensho 小野 賢章 as main character Subaru with famous roles like Kuroko Tetsuya (Kuroko’s Basketball), Akutagawa (Bungou Stray Dogs), Giorno Giovanna (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures), etc.  

Available On: Crunchyroll, Funimation (Anime); LeZhin Comics (Manga) 

Dokyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki Atama no Ue Anime Official Homepage

A Whisker Away

A Whisker Away is a Netflix Animated Film released in 2020. The film’s original title is Nakitai Watashi wa Neko wo Kaburu 泣きたい私は猫をかぶる, meaning “The Me that Wants to Cry Hides Behind a Cat”. It is known better as Naki Neko 泣き猫 in Japan. 

Image Credit: © 2020 「泣きたい私は猫をかぶる」製作委員会

A Whisker Away is a romantic comedy movie about highschool girl Sasaki Miyo (笹木 美代), who at that age was (as most highschool girls are) obsessed with boys. Or more specifically one boy, Hinode Kento (日之出 賢人) who has his own complex background. Shot down numerous times by Hinode, Sasaki succeeds by approaching Hinode in the form of a white cat he affectionately names Tarou. 

Available On: Netflix

Nakitai Watashi wa Neko wo Kaburu Movie Official Homepage

Ore, Tsushima

Image Credit: ©︎おぷうのきょうだい・小学館/俺、つしま製作委員会2021

Ore, Tsushima (俺、つしま) is an anime adaptation of a Twitter manga series of the same name that has been collected by publisher Shogakukan into 3 manga volumes. A comedy slice of life series featuring a Japanese Garfield named Tsushima, a fat tabby stray cat that is adopted by an old lady. 

Ore, Tsushima consists of 12 short 1-minute only episodes that are available to watch on the producer, Asmik Ace’s Youtube Channel (below) with English subtitles (turn CC on). It is a humorous super short series following fat cat Tsushima and his new family.

Available On: Youtube (Anime); Manga not available in English

Ore, Tsushima Anime Official Homepage

Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki

Image Credit: © 樹るう/竹書房 ちくば市役所

Adapted from a 4-Koma manga of the same name, Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki (ポヨポヨ観察日記 PoyoPoyo's Observation Diary) is as its title suggests a series of short 3-min episodes about round cat Poyo’s daily life. 

Poyo was found by businesswoman Satou Moe (佐藤 萌) who after getting hopelessly drunk, ended up falling asleep on the streets using him as a pillow. She affectionately named the ball of a cat Poyo which means squishy or bouncy

Available On: Chrunchyroll (Anime); Bandai Channel, Niconico (Anime, Japanese Only, Free Up Till Episode 5); Manga not available in English

TIP: Great for beginner Japanese learners! Short episodes with simple everyday life dialogue. 

Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki Anime Official Homepage

Bananya

Bananas meet cats, or bananas are cats, cats are bananas (?) in original anime series Bananya (ばなにゃ). Bananya is another short anime series about Bananyas, a mysterious alien species of bananas with cats living inside the yellow peel. There are 2 seasons of Bananya:

  1. Bananaya: Bananya and his fellow mates that live on a kitchen counter.

  2. Bananya and the Curious Bunch: Prequel series about the Bananya’s home planet. 

Image Credit: © ばなにゃふれんず, Q-lia.

Almost every episode introduces a new Bananya character and its unique personality. An interesting thing to note about Bananya is that many of the characters are voiced by renowned voice actor, Kaji Yuuki (梶 裕貴) who is most famous for voicing Eren Jaeger in Attack on Titans.

Available On: Crunchyroll, Funimation (Anime)

TIP: Great for beginner Japanese learners! Slow narration with simple Japanese words used. Fun and easy way to practice listening and understanding simple sentences. 

Bananya Official Homepage

Anime with Cat(s) as a Main Character 

Anime that are not focused on cats but have a cat (or cat-like creature) star as one of the main / important characters.

Natsume Yuujinchou

Image Credit: ©緑川ゆき/白泉社・「夏目友人帳」製作委員会

Nyanko-sensei (ニャンコ先生)・Madara (斑) is a powerful Yokai that usually takes on the form as a seemingly harmless household cat that resembles a Maneki Neko (招き猫 Fortune Cat). As part of his agreement with Natsume, he’ll be Natsume’s bodyguard in return for the Book of Friends upon Natsume’s death. 

For more about Natsume Yuujinchou and Cat Yokai, we recommend:
Nekomata & Bakeneko, The Mystical Cat Demons of Japan and Anime Featuring Cat Yokai

Available On: Netflix, Crunchyroll (Anime), VizMedia (Manga - Ebook edi. available)

Natsume Yuujinchou Anime Official Homepage

Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket, or its short form furuba / fruba, is a hit romance drama fantasy manga series about the Chinese zodiac by renowned manga artist, Takaya Natsuki 高屋 奈月. Spanning a whopping 23 volumes, Fruits Basket follows protagonist Honda Tooru (本田 透) as she encounters the Souma (草摩) family and learns of their tightly kept secret. 

Image Credit: ©高屋奈月・白泉社/フルーツバスケット製作委員会

Souma Kyou (草摩 夾) bears the curse of the cat zodiac. Just like his fellow curse-bearers, he transforms into an orange cat when hugged by a person of the opposite gender. Short-tempered and stubborn, Kyou keeps to himself or at least tries. He hates garlic chives (or Nira in Japanese) but loves his martial arts master cum adoptive parent figure.

Available On: Crunchyroll, Funimation (Anime); YenPress (Manga - Ebook edi. available)  

Fruits Basket Anime Official Homepage

Fairy Tail

Popular long-run anime and manga series Fairy Tail is a fantasy anime of the Shounen demographic alongside other similar anime/manga series like Bleach, Hunter x Hunter and Naruto. 

Fairy Tail starts with novice mage Lucy Heartfilia, user of Celestial Spirit magic, on the search for a mage guild she can join. She sets her eyes (and heart) on Fairy Tail, renowned as one of the strongest mage guilds anyone can join. Teaming up with Dragon Slayer Natsu Dragneel and Magical Cat Happy, the three form Team Natsu to solve missions, save the world, enhance their magical powers, and expand their team. 

 

Image Credit: ©真島ヒロ・講談社/フェアリーテイル製作委員会・テレビ東京

Happy is a magical cat with the ability to talk and can temporarily manifest wings to fly. He is one of the main characters of the Fairy Tail series. His Guild Mark which is green in colour is on his back and covered up, most of the time, by his green backpack. A cheerful and loyal friend, Happy grew up with Natsu making the two the bestest of friends. Later down the series, Happy discovers his true identity and his original homeland.

Available On: Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu, Netflix (Anime); Kodansha (Manga)

Fairy Tail Anime Official Homepage

Cardcaptor Sakura

Image Credit: © CLAMP・ShigatsuTsuitachi CO.,LTD./講談社 © CLAMP・ST・講談社/NHK・NEP © CLAMP・ST/講談社・NEP・NHK

This series probably doesn’t need an introduction considering its HUGE popularity around the world. What does need explaining is that Kero is not a bear or mouse!

Kero, full name Ceroberos (ケルベロス), is the guardian of Clow Cards - which he failed spectacularly at when the cards were accidentally released by Kinomoto Sakura (木之本 さくら), our lovely protagonist. He appoints Sakura as cardcaptor and tasks her to find and recapture all the escaped cards. Kero most oftenly takes on a more “compact” form resembling that of a teddy bear plush. In actual fact, Kero’s true form is that of a lion - technically a cat

Available On: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Funimation (Anime); Kodansha (Manga)

INFO: 16 years after the conclusion of Cardcaptor Sakura, the adventure continues in Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (カードキャプターさくら クリアカード編). A 22-episode anime adaptation was also released in 2018. The manga is still ongoing as at time of writing this article, we hope to see an anime adaptation for the rest of the story in the near future. 

Clear Card is Available On: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Funimation (Anime); Kodansha (Manga)

Cardcaptor Sakura Official Homepage

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-

Adapted from a light novel written by Nagatsuki Tappei (長月 達平), and more commonly known just as Re:ZERO, Re:ZERO is an Isekai (otherworld) themed fantasy, thriller, and psychological anime. When our protagonist, Natsuki Subaru (ナツキ スバル) leaves a konbini, he finds himself isekai-ed. 

In this new world, Subaru discovers many things including a beautiful silver-haired beauty, magic and monsters exist, dying hurts a lot, and dying repeatedly drives people (specifically himself) insane.

Image Credit: ©長月達平・株式会社KADOKAWA刊/Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活製作委員会

Puck is Emilia’s spirit familiar that usually takes on the form of a small grey cat with white socked paws, a white tail tip, and white from the face and down the belly. One of his ears also flops down with a hooped earring in it. Puck has very strong ice powers. He is very fond of Emilia and treats her as his daughter, sometimes calling her as such.

INFO: Re:ZERO Movie Frozen Bond or Hyouketsu no Kizuna (『氷結の絆』) is a prequel movie about Emilia, Puck, and the contract/relationship between them. 

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Official Homepage

Sailor Moon

I’m sure you know about Sailor Moon and its iconic magical girl transformation scenes.

In the name of the moon, I'll punish you!

- Sailor Moon

Image Credit: ©武内直子・PNP/劇場版「美少女戦士セーラームーンEternal」製作委員会

Luna is Tsukino Usagi (月野 うさぎ), aka Sailor Moon’s partner. Luna is a talking black cat with a crescent moon on her head. In the original Sailor Moon series, she had red eyes but in the reboot Sailor Moon Crystal this was changed to blue eyes to remain faithful to the manga series. Aside from just talking, Luna also has special abilities like summoning magical items and awakening the Sailor Guardians powers.  

Anime with Cats in Minor but Very Memorable Roles

Anime with cat(s) in a minor role; some are more significant but still minor roles, some don’t do much but are still memorable.

Kuro from Ao no Exorcist

Image Credit: ©加藤和恵/集英社・「青の祓魔師」製作委員会・MBS

Kuro (クロ) is a Nekomata, or Cat Sidhe, that was once worshipped as a guardian deity for silkworm farmers. Kuro can transform into a giant-sized version of himself that wields incredible strength. He first appears in Episode 10 of the anime when Yukio is sent to exterminate him.

For more about Nekomata and other cat Yokai, we recommend:
Nekomata & Bakeneko, The Mystical Cat Demons of Japan and Anime Featuring Cat Yokai

Metako from Machikado Mazoku

Image Credit: ©伊藤いづも・芳文社/まちカドまぞく 2丁目製作委員会

Metako (メタ子; bottom left of above image) is magical girl Chiyoda Momo (千代 田桃)’s navigator. Although he’s supposed to share prophecies and omens, all he can do now is say “Toki wa kitta (時は来た The time hath come)” ominously in a deep voice.

Karupin from Prince of Tennis

Image Credit: © 許斐 剛/集英社・NAS・新テニスの王子様プロジェクト

Karupin (カルピン) is the Echizen family’s pet cat. A fluffy Himalayan cat with blue eyes, short but memorable scenes of Karupin basking in the sun or playing with toys are some of our favourite parts of Tennis no Ouji-sama. Karupin is extremely fond of the protagonist Ryoma, and the feelings are mutual. He is not very fond of Ryoma’s dad who he frequently bites or scratches.

Episode 27 Karupin’s Adventure (カルピンの冒険) is dedicated to Karupin who follows Ryoma to school in pursuit of his favourite toy that accidentally got in Ryoma’s bag. 

There are many other cats in minor roles that we have not covered like Meowth from Pokemon, Yoruichi from Bleach, Blair from Soul Eater, and more. Not to mention there’s always new anime with new cats to add to the list, so just hang in there we’ll cover them in due time.

Studio Ghibli Cats in Animation 

Last but not least, Studio Ghibli Cats deserve their own special section in this article considering how superbly iconic they’ve all been. 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Image Credit: © 2005-2022 STUDIO GHIBLI Inc.

The best companion for a witch? A talking black cat of course. Jiji is Kiki’s sassy feline companion whilst she trains to become a full fledged witch. Kiki frequently confides in Jiji about her problems and he does help her out though his advice and sharp words are sometimes too critical for Kiki’s liking. Jiji’s a great companion to Kiki going to great lengths to help her out of trouble - like pretending to be a stuffed toy! At the end of the movie, he gets his own special happy ending.

Whisper of the Heart

Featuring country song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by Olivia Newton-John and a Japanese rendition of the song, Whisper of the Heart is a coming-of-age / romance tale about finding oneself, chasing dreams, and most importantly love. Protagonist Tsukishima Shizuku (月島 雫) does all that and more with the help from a cat statue brought to life that goes by the name “The Baron”

Image Credit: ©︎柊あおい/集英社 ©︎2022『耳をすませば』製作委員会

INFO: A live-action movie for Whisper of the Heart, or Japanese title Mimi wo Sumaseba (耳をすませば If You Listen Carefully), is in the works! The movie was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic but it is finally scheduled to release on October 14, 2022! How exciting!! 

Mimi wo Sumaseba Live Action Movie Official Homepage

The Cat Returns

Image Credit: © 2005-2022 STUDIO GHIBLI Inc.

The Cat Returns, or Neko no Ongaeshi (猫の恩返し The Cat’s Repayment), is a spin-off from Mimi wo Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart). In Whisper of the Heart, Shizuku writes a book about The Baron, well this is that book - The Cat Returns follows Yoshioka Haru (吉岡 ハル) who one day saves a black cat from being run over by a truck. Turns out, the cat’s true identity is that of a Prince from a Kingdom of Cats. To thank his saviour, the Prince sends her gifts and proposes to her. Due to a misunderstanding, Haru unwittingly accepts and now has to figure out how to get out of this predicament - enter The Baron to help her.

My Neighbour Totoro

Image Credit: © 2005-2022 STUDIO GHIBLI Inc.

The Catbus from My Neighbour Totoro is equal parts freaky and cute. With headlight eyes, twelve legs, windows on its sides, a hollow body to seat passengers, and a door that appears out of seemingly nowhere, it is understandably pretty spooky. Still, many of us that watched Totoro would like to try sitting on this magical feline bus at least once. 

For more about Studio Ghibli, specifically the Ghibli Museum:
Ghibli Museum, A Homage to Japan’s Anime Industry

Takeaway

Had fun reading? 

For more manga & anime related articles, check out our dedicated tag: 
#manga & anime

Also check out all our cat articles here:
Cats in Japan, Find All You Need to Know About Japan’s Cats in One Page

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