(Claude Cat) kinda feels like a pointless add-on because he makes me wonder why can't these roles be played by Sylvester. He already places himself as the Tunes' go-to antagonistic cat, and does the job very well, so why not use him instead of his yellow knock-off? - ElectricDragon505, when unfavorably comparing Claude Cat to Sylvester
Claude Cat is a Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies character created by Chuck Jones, having first debuted in "The Aristo-Cat" alongside the mice duo Hubie and Bertie in 1943.
He once was a protagonist/anti-villain in the Hubie and Bertie shorts, he was eventually depicted as the main antagonist for the following episodes "Two's a Crowd", "Terrier Stricken", "Mouse-Warming", "Feline Frame-Up", "No Barking", "Cat Feud" and "Louvre Come to Me!". He has been shown to bully and antagonize other pets and animals so he can have all of the attention and benefits for himself.
While he was originally a good and tolerable character in his earliest appearances back when he was a nervous fall-guy protagonist feline (especially the Hubie and Bertie shorts), sadly he was flanderized to being much more cruel and mean-spirited when he permanently took a similar antagonistic feline role to that of Sylvester beginning with "Terrier Stricken" up until "Louvre Come to Me!".
Intentional Despicable Qualities
Note: This page will be focusing only his appearances with Frisky Puppy and his later appearances from 1952-1962 since he has been flanderized as time passed on, as his appearances prior and after these appearances are passable and likable.
- To get down the first problem with him, he is a Chuck Jones version of Sylvester, but with barely any of the charm and likability which Sylvester had. Where his role as the comedically unlucky antagonistic cat was already done very well with Sylvester, making Claude pointless, to begin with. In fact, you could replace Claude with Sylvester and it wouldn't make a difference.
- What makes Claude even pointless is that Chuck Jones did use Sylvester in four of his cartoons "Scaredy Cat", "Claws for Alarm", "Jumpin' Jupiter" and "The Scarlet Pumpernickel", meaning that he, like Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett and Arthur Davis, actually do have the rights to use Friz Freleng's character Sylvester and could've used him in each of these cartoons instead of this cheap yellow Sylvester knock-off. For this reasons above, this consequently causes most of his later cartoons from 1952-1962 since "Mouse-Warming" to feel like rejected Sylvester cartoons with Claude in Sylvester's place.
- Speaking of which, in "No Barking", Claude is shown unsuccessfully attempting to catch and eat birds at both the beginning and ending (the second time the bird turns out to be none other than Tweety who makes a brief cameo), which is one of the best examples of how outright unneeded Claude is since Sylvester would've perfectly filled in that role in these two 'cat vs bird' scenarios, let alone for the entire short.
- He also feels like an indirect rip-off of Tom from Tom and Jerry (which co-incidentally, Chuck Jones would later work on at MGM shortly after leaving Warner Bros. in 1962) as well, mainly due to both of them being ineffectual and comedically unlucky silent antagonistic cats with selfish and accident-prone tendencies, except with none of the charm and likability that Tom had.
- On that topic as mentioned in BQ #1, another problem was, in a vein similar to Daffy Duck's atrocious flanderization during the Looney Tunes' dark age from 1964-1968, is how he basically lost his original personality after his pairings with Hubie and Bertie ended after 1951's "Cheese Chasers" as the result of being horribly flanderized beyond recognition. Originally, he was cast as a nervous and lazy protagonist/anti-villain who often fell victim to Hubie and Bertie's tormenting, which already makes him likable and a distinct feline character from Sylvester's roles as an ineffectual comedic villain (or a skittish, resilient anti-hero towards Porky Pig). While Claude's more selfish and despicable side of his personality first debuted in "Two's a Crowd" (his first pairing with Frisky Puppy, which is when his aforementioned flanderization first started), however beginning with 1952's "Terrier Stricken" all traces of his original personality as seen in the Hubie and Bertie cartoons are completely gone in favor of being nothing more than a selfish and despicable attention-seeking cat who bullies other animals as demonstrated in "Two's a Crowd" but even worse, hence making his later characterization come off as a weaker clone of Sylvester for the rest of his appearances from 1952-1962.
- It also doesn't help the fact that beginning with 1952's "Mouse-Warming" he even stopped speaking completely (except for one line of dialogue at the end of "Feline Frame Up", as mentioned later in BQ #9) in favor of being a silent antagonist, especially when Sylvester himself was even depicted as a silent antagonist in a handful of Friz Freleng-directed cartoons, hence making the Sylvester rip-off vibes in Claude even more obvious.
- Speaking of Claude being a selfish and despicable cat bully towards other pets and animals in his later appearances, this antagonistic role of his isn't even an original concept for the Looney Tunes franchise by 1950s standards, as Sylvester himself has already done this role for only once in 1948's "Kit For Cat" (which, in that short, Sylvester bullies an unnamed orange kitten so he can have all of the attention and benefits for himself from his new owner Elmer Fudd), albeit with far better execution than what Claude had in this role.
- Due to all these reasons above, this consequently makes the 1952-1962 version of Claude Cat feel completely unrelated from the "Claude Cat" as seen in the Hubie and Bertie shorts despite sharing the same "Claude Cat" name, and his inconsistent post-1953 character designs (as mentioned in BQ #5) doesn't help.
- While yes, he is intentionally made to be a despicable and unlikable villain for us to see him get his comeuppance, he just goes way too far with his ruthless actions to the point of being extremely heartless and selfish, almost as bad as those of Daffy Duck during the De-Patie Freleng and Seven-Arts eras.
- Some good examples of Claude going way too far with his ruthless actions is in "Feline Frame-Up", where he not only kicks Pussyfoot away from the pillow which the kitten sleeps on at the beginning, yet once he successfully gets Pussyfoot's guardian Marc Anthony kicked out of the house by framing him, he openly abuses the defenseless Pussyfoot right in front of the bulldog's eyes!
- Similar to the dog from "Chow Hound", his villainous and underhanded actions are more mean-spirited than humorous, unlike most of the other Looney Tunes antagonists/anti-heroes such as Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Ralph Wolf, Hubie and Bertie, Marvin the Martian, Yosemite Sam, Pete Puma, Blacque Jacque Shellaque, Taz, Henery Hawk and the aforementioned Sylvester. Even though he's not too much of a Karma Houdini, Claude Cat lacks what makes most of the beloved characters stated above, to be "love to hate" type of villains that the viewers don't need to necessarily hate to like them and these iconic characters are still lovable as villains who the viewer wants to see defeated for their schemes, which is a certain amount of charm and enjoyability that Claude lacks in.
- Even prior to his post-1951 flanderization, his consistent design from 1949-1954 is very unappealing to look at, as he looks like a yellow clone of Sylvester but with a smaller black nose, a bushier tail, and a maroon-colored haircut. His design was also changed by Chuck Jones in a year or so, making him look pretty inconsistent, with his post-1953 appearances being the worst offenders of such downgraded redesigns, since beginning with "No Barking", he's been heavily redesigned to the point of being unrecognizable and looking even uglier than he was previously.
- In 1954's "No Barking", he still looks similar to his "standard" 1949-1954 design complete with a maroon-colored haircut, albeit a lot scrawnier and scruffier, a longer, thinner tail and now has red fur in place of his previous yellow fur.
- In 1958's "Cat Feud", he looks a lot scrawnier and scruffier than he did previously, with dark yellow fur and haircut, and his face looking like he had a sex change with a similar but puffier face that resembles Penelope Pussycat.
- In 1962's "Louvre Come Back To Me", he looks like a very ugly clone of Pete Puma from 1952's "Rabbit's Kin", albeit with the maroon-colored haircut.
- After the classic era ended, even though he recovered from his infamous 1952-1962 flanderization as a full-time mean-spirited antagonist, he permanently reverts back to his consistent "yellow Sylvester" design from 1949-1954 beginning with his brief cameo appearances in Tiny Toon Adventures.
- Because of his ugly design, he sometimes looks hideous whenever he gets blown up or beaten up most of the time. There was even one time when his eyes went black due to being surprised, despite that Chuck Jones has a good face expressions.
- It doesn't help that he often has visible purple rings around and under his eyes, especially whenever he gets blown up or beaten up.
- Whenever he had the role of being the episode's antagonist, he is generally depicted as a malicious bully who antagonizes other pets and animals so he can be the center of attention in the house, even if he has to be violent, self-serving, and cruel to get what he wants.
- In each of his pairings with Frisky Puppy, he easily gets frightened of Frisky Puppy's barking while the pup goes completely unscathed every single time (at least, until when Claude scares Frisky with the former's barking in the ending of 1950's "Two's a Crowd" or when Claude shuts up Frisky at the ending of 1954's "No Barking") hence making him pose almost no threat to Frisky Puppy at all. He does pose as a huge threat to Pussyfoot in both "Feline Frame-Up" and "Cat Feud", though only because Pussyfoot is a baby kitten who is very weak and vulnerable without having her guardian Marc Anthony around, but since he gets beaten up by Marc Anthony each time he abuses Pussyfoot in both cartoons, hence making him no better as a threatening villain than when he antagonized Frisky Puppy.
- His bumbling antics often cause him to destroy property like his own home or accidentally get himself end up into so many painful situations that are played for comedy even when it gets old, making him a predictable and destructive if well-deserved Butt-Monkey.
- Whenever he was given a comedic one-liner by Mel Blanc in 1954's "Feline Frame-Up", it sounds like a deleted take for Wile E. Coyote's voice when he had a rivalry with Bugs Bunny. Making his voice very unoriginal since Claude only communicates with stock cat sounds due to being silent (which sounds unfunny whenever he makes real-life cat sounds when he's flailing his limbs on the ground after falling from the sky in "Terrier Stricken"). This is unlike his earlier appearances in the Hubie and Bertie cartoons where he speaks with a Marvin the Martian-esque nasal voice which fits perfectly well for his nervous characterization.
- His flanderization in the 1952-1962 shorts has destroyed most of the reputation that his original character in the 1943-1951 shorts had, and succeeded in turning him into one of the most hated Looney Tunes characters of all time. In other words, he gives the original 1943-1951 version of Claude Cat a bad name.
- After his earlier days as the protagonist and eventually his infamous days as a recurring antagonist, he has become so forgotten as a character that his future appearances are very unremarkable and don't add up to anything else than being a typical bumbling cartoon villain as seen in "Louvre Come Back To Me". Making him a pointless secondary character to be used as an additional villain to be used as a replacement for Sylvester's role as a bungling villain until he was brought back in HBO Max's Looney Tunes Cartoons episode "Frame the Feline".
- In fact, the first hint of Claude fading into obscurity as a character is in his two final appearances in the classic era "Cat Feud" and "Louvre Come Back To Me"; after originally appearing in roughly two cartoons per year throughout the early-1950s, he is used very rarely and sparingly by Chuck Jones after the character's pairings with Frisky Puppy ended in "No Barking", where there appears to be a four-year gap between his appearances in "No Barking", "Cat Feud" and "Louvre Come Back To Me", and in the latter two cartoons he is not only heavily redesigned to look drastically different and unrecognizable from his prior appearances (as mentioned in BQ #5), yet he isn't even referred to by his name "Claude Cat" anymore.
- The biggest proof of how pointless Claude is due to his excessive similarity to Sylvester is when he, Sylvester and Pete Puma are paired together as a trio of comedic antagonists in New Looney Tunes with Claude and Pete Puma depicted as Sylvester's lackeys, where Claude barely contributes anything important to the plot (let alone speaking anything), while Pete Puma, on the other hand, contributes hilarious comic relief by frustrating Sylvester with his stupidity and incompetence. In fact, these New Looney Tunes episodes in question depicting Sylvester, Claude Cat, and Pete Puma as a trio of antagonists to Tweety, Speedy Gonzales, Hubie and Bertie, Sniffles and/or Frisky Puppy could've been written with just Sylvester and Pete Puma as a duo of comedic antagonists with Claude being written out completely and the plots would not even change in the slightest.
- He was originally decent in the Hubie and Bertie shorts for example, where he was depicted as an unlucky, neurotic, and goofy yet empathetic protagonist/anti-villain and the mice are portrayed as mischievous tricksters who often manipulate Claude's mind to go insane (particularly in the episodes "The Aristo-Cat", "The Hypo-Chondri-Cat" and "Cheese Chasers"), and is depicted as a tolerable comedic antagonist as seen in "Fin 'N Catty", "Roughly Squeaking", "Mouse Wreckers" and "Mouse-Warming", and has redeemed himself after the classic era ended.
- In New Looney Tunes, his role as a tolerable comedic antagonist is used when depicted as one of Sylvester's feline lackeys alongside Pete Puma, despite his role among the feline trio being completely pointless.
- In HBO Max's Looney Tunes Cartoons, his original role in the Hubie and Bertie shorts is better-written as a sympathetic guard-cat who pretty much borrows traits from Tom from Tom and Jerry with being ill-starred and mistreated due to circumstance.
- In fact, he is one of the very first Looney Tunes characters created by Chuck Jones which were strictly intended to be funny rather than cute, alongside Charlie Dog, Henery Hawk, Hubie and Bertie, Elmer Fudd, and The Three Bears, despite that Chuck Jones missed the spot for his final appearances due to his aforementioned flanderization as listed above.
- "Louvre Come Back To Me" is the only time during his antagonistic years 1952-1962 where his antagonisms towards the other characters is somewhat justifiable and therefore don't have him totally flanderized as mean-spirited or cruel compared to his previous roles as the antagonist in the years 1952-1962, since in that short his nemesis Pepe Le Pew isn’t entirely innocent either due to his odor.
- In fact, in that short he (known as "Pierre" in that short) was first seen happily dating his love interest Penelope Pussycat in France, only for the amorous Pepe Le Pew to walk pass by them, unknowingly turning them off with the skunk's bad odor, resulting them to unintentionally get separated, with Claude fainting and Penelope getting a white stripe painted on her back and landing on Pepe's lips by accident. Of course, Pepe, mistaking Penelope as a female skunk, falls head-over-heels with her and proceeds to romantically pursue her around the louvre, failing to realize that Penelope herself already has a boyfriend. Claude, realizing that his girlfriend Penelope is already stolen unknowingly by Pepe, decides to fight the amorous skunk for Penelope's affections, only to fail very quickly due to his ineptitude as well as Pepe's bad odor.
- Despite his flaws, he can be a decently funny character at times.
- His design in "The Aristo-Cat", "Fin 'N Catty", The Hypo-Chondri-Cat", "Cheese Chasers", and to some extent, "Roughly Squeaking", are easy on the eyes and are passable to look at.
- He always gets comeuppance for his sinful deeds, so he's not too much of a Karma Houdini.
- In fact, in the ending of "Feline Frame-Up", he permanently gets kicked out of the house by his owners as punishment for his misdeeds. This is heavily supported by the fact that in his final three cartoons "No Barking", "Cat Feud" and "Louvre Come Back To Me", he is depicted as a stray cat living in the streets and is not a pet anymore.
- Despite his later unoriginal voices (as mentioned in BQ #9) and losing his signature Marvin the Martian-esque nasal voice during his later years as a silent antagonist from 1952-1962, Mel Blanc still does a decent job voicing him, as always.
- Claude did yelp in pain (much like his other "antagonistic feline" counterpart Sylvester) in both "Two's a Crowd" and "Mouse-Warming" as opposed to making stock cat sounds as in his other appearances in the 1952-1962 cartoons which makes the slapstick scenes he's involved in funny, though that isn't saying much.
- As mentioned above, he's meant to be hated for how despicable and selfish he is.
- He bears a striking resemblance to Sylvester in the following episodes "Roughly Squeaking", "Mouse Wreckers", "Two's a Crowd", "Mouse-Warming", "Terrier Stricken", "Feline Frame-Up", "No Barking", as well as in his subsequent appearances after the classic era, including on New Looney Tunes and Looney Tunes Cartoons. Ironically, Claude first debuted in the 1943 film "The Aristo-Cat", exactly two years before Sylvester officially debuted.
- The name Claude Cat is a pun on the homonym "clawed cat". He also shares the same first name as another one-off Looney Tunes character, Claude Hopper, a Goofy-esque kangaroo who appears only in the 1943 film "Hop and Go" directed by Norm McCabe during the same year Claude officially debuted.
- One of the versions of Claude Cat was planned to be made as a cameo in the deleted scene "Acme's Funeral" from the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He appears with other animated characters scared when Casper appears at the funeral.
- He is the only feline villain who doesn't speak in most of the shorts he appears in compared to cats that are treated as the protagonists.
- Jones redesigned the neurotic feline for the 1949 film "Mouse Wreckers" (perhaps to distinguish him from Friz Freleng's popular puss, Sylvester). The short is another Hubie and Bertie vehicle, only this time, the antagonist they antagonize is Claude, drawn as he would appear in all future cartoons: yellow, with a red shock of hair and a white belly (his exact markings, however, would vary from cartoon to cartoon).
- Throughout his animated filmography in the original Looney Tunes shorts, Claude has made the largest number of appearances among all of Chuck Jones' lesser-known Looney Tunes characters, having made a total of 13 cartoons (18 if one considers the unnamed cats in Chuck Jones' "Angel Puss" (1944), "Odor-able Kitty" (1945), "Trap Happy Porky" (1945), and "Fair and Worm-er" (1946) to be Claude Cat) between 1943-1962. The only other lesser-known Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes characters that came close in their number of appearances are Sniffles and Henery Hawk, who both appeared in a total of 12 cartoons each in the original Looney Tunes shorts (though for Henery Hawk's case, Jones only directed three of his cartoons, while the other nine were directed by Robert McKimson).
- Otis, Tim Avery's pet dog from Son of the Mask, shares a similar personality to that of Claude Cat from the 1952-1962 Looney Tunes shorts when he takes the role of the villain antagonizing baby Alvey. In fact, many of Otis' attempts to get rid of baby Alvey to be the center of attention completely parallels Claude's attempts at getting rid of Frisky Puppy to be the center of attention completely in both the cartoons "Two's A Crowd", "Terrier Stricken" and "No Barking".