JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

"Josie and the Pussycats/Long tails and ears for hats/Guitars and sharps and flats/Neat, sweet, a groovy song/You're invited, come along..."

Originally aired in 1970 as a spin-off of Archie, Josie and the Pussycats are an all-female rock trio whose members solve mysteries in their spare time. They have a cat buddy named Sebastian, and, after 1972, spent most of their time in outer space. They've influenced everyone from Juliana Hatfield to Joey Ramone, and it's been noted that Valerie, the smart black chick, was the first minority cartoon hero.

CATWOMAN

The princess of plunder...that felonious feline...the cat who walks by herself, or, as she's known by those in the know, Selina Kyle. Batman's nemesis and romantic interest made her debut in 1940, and she has worked her nine lives through numerous incarnations: print (the original series and "The Dark Knight Returns"), TV, and film (remember that embarrassing Sean Young campaign?!). Especially intriguing because of her dark past (she was orphaned as a child, abused by a wealthy husband, and made a brief foray into prostitution), and her cool bondage-esque attire, Catwoman now has her own series.

HELLO KITTY

She may only be in third grade (according to her bio), but the feline phenom known as Hello Kitty (Kitty-chan in her native Japan) brings home a hefty $80-million-a-year paycheck for her parent company, Sanrio. She has a twin sister named Mimi who's clearly been shafted by the Western media, and her favorite hobby next to reading is making new friends. This can't be easy without a mouth.

DUCHESS THE ARISTOCAT

Brought to luscious life by the voice of Eva Gabor, dahling, this sleek mother of three escapes the wrath of a greedy butler by "slumming" in the Boho jazz clubs of turn of the century Paris. She even has an affair with Scat Cat, played by real-life jazz cat Scatman Crothers. This year marks the 25th anniversary of "The Aristocats," cherished favorite of "millions of baby boomers"--which is almost enough reason not to see it.

THE PINK PANTHER

This heppest of cats first slinked onto the screen to the tune of Henry Mancini in Blake Edwards's original 1964 "Pink Panther" film. The pink puss went on to star in such classic shorts as "Psychedelic Pink," "The Pink Phink," and "Pinkfinger," in addition to appearing in the opening sequences of all the Pink Panther movies. Plus, he's a close personal friend of comic genius Peter Sellers--so you know that's one phat cat!



Cat image at top from found card.

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