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The Cat in the Hat (character)

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The famous cover featuring The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat is a farm cat of Dr. Seuss's short story The Cat in the Hat. With his book being an overwhelmingly successful best-seller, the Cat in the Hat has become a logo for Random House's beginner books, the production logo for all of Seuss's animated shorts, and Dr. Seuss's most popular character worldwide.

The Cat has made several appearances in works written by Seuss aside from The Cat in the Hat, including the book's sequel The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.


Theodor Geisel created The Cat in the Hat in response to May 24, 1954, Life magazine article by John Hersey, titled "Why Do Students Bog Down on First R? A Local Committee Sheds Light on a National Problem: Reading.” In the article, Hersey was critical of school primers:

In the classroom boys and girls are confronted with six books that have insipid illustrations depicting the slicked-up lives of other children. Primers feature abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls. In bookstores, anyone can buy brighter, livelier books featuring strange and wonderful animals and children who behave naturally, i.e., sometimes misbehave. Given incentive from school boards, publishers could do as well with primers.

Hersey’s arguments were enumerated over ten pages of Life magazine. After detailing many issues contributing to the dilemma connected with student reading levels, Hersey asked toward the end of the article:

Why should school primers not have pictures that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words they illustrate? Drawings like those of the wonderfully imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard Pyle, "Seuss", and Walt Disney?

Ted Geisel's friend William Ellsworth Spaulding, who was then the director of Houghton Mifflin's education division, invited Geisel to dinner in Boston and "proposed” that Ted writes and illustrate such a book for six- and seven-year-olds who had already mastered the basic mechanics of reading. “Write me a story that first-graders can't put down!" he challenged. Spaulding supplied Geisel with a list of 348 words that every six-year-old should know, and insisted that the book's vocabulary be limited to 225 words. Nine months later Dr. Seuss finished The Cat in the Hat, which used 223 words that appeared on the list plus 13 words that did not. Because Geisel was under contract with Random House, Houghton Mifflin retained the school rights to The Cat in the Hat and Random House retained the rights to trade sales.

In an interview he gave in Arizona magazine in June 1981, Dr. Seuss claimed the book took nine months to complete due to the difficulty in writing a book from the 223 selected words. He added that the title for the book came from his desire to have the title rhyme and the first two suitable rhyming words that he could find from the list were "cat" and "hat". Dr. Seuss also regretted the association of his book and the "look-say" reading method adopted during the Dewey revolt in the 1920s. He expressed the opinion that "Killing phonics was one of the greatest causes of illiteracy in the country."


The Cat in the Hat is Seuss’ most famous and most popular character, followed by the Grinch and Horton the elephant. Because his book has become such a landmark in children’s literature he has been made into the mascot of Random House. The Cat in the Hat emblem has been featured in most every book published by the company since the character’s debut. “The Cat in the Hat Productions” was also the name of the production company that animated the Dr. Seuss specials from 1966 to 1989, the Cat in the Hat, of course, being the mascot as well.

A statue of the cat stands next to Theodor Giesel in his memorial.



The Cat is six feet tall, according to the original cartoon, the size of an average man. He is lean for the most part but has a stomach that sticks out like most Seuss characters. He wears white gloves, a red tie, and, of course, his signature red and white top hat.


What has changed about the Cat the most over all his adaptations are his markings. In all adaptations, he has a white face that either stops at the neck or goes down. His stomach on the other hand changes. The original short gives him an all black stomach as does I can read with my eyes shut, however, Daisy Head Mayzie and The Cat in the Hat knows a lot about that both give him a white stomach. Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat is especially unusual as his design goes, as his stomach is a dark gray. [1]

The Cat in the Hat (original book)

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The Cat in the original book.

The Cat in the Hat first appears after a strange “bump” sound is heard in the house of two children. Because it is rainy and both the children are bored, he says he has come to “have fun that is funny” with them.

To irritate the children’s pet fish, the Cat performs an amazing balancing act by holding up a teacup, milk, a cake, three books, the fish, a rake, a toy boat, a toy man, a red fan, and his umbrella all while bouncing on a ball. Just as he is about to balance more does the Cat slip and drop all the objects on the floor, breaking them. To make up for what he has done he retrieves a red crate from outside and unleashes his helpers Thing 1 and Thing 2. Though he intends for them to clean up the house, the Things cause more of a mess by flying kites in the house. Finally, one of the children, the boy who is narrating, has enough of it and catches the Things with his net. With their house destroyed, the fish and the children order the Cat to leave.

However just as their mother is about to arrive does the Cat come home and clean the house in a strange cleaning device. He fixes everything he broke, makes up to the children, and leaves with the tip of his hat.

When the mother returns the children wonder whether or not they can tell her what has happened.

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back


Final illustration in The Cat in the Hat comes back

The Cat returns to exactly the same pair of children "Sally and Conrad" while they have been tasked by their mother Joan Walden to shovel snow out of their driveway. He doesn't invite them to play, but rather goes into their house to keep warm. Conrad finds him eating cake in the bathtub and scolds him for it. After Conrad empties the water they find the cake left a pink residue, or “cat rings” as the Cat calls it. The Cat tries to get rid of the stain by getting it all over other valuables, including their mothers dress, their father’s shoes, a carpet, and finally their father’s bed.

Because the bed that he ruined is “not the right kind of bed” the Cat calls upon the help of a smaller version of himself under his hat to get rid of the stain. That Cat, Little Cat A as he’s called, takes off his hat to reveal Little Cat B. Little Cat B takes off his hat to reveal Little C and so on.

Though the Little Cats get the pink stain out of the house, they make all they snow outside pink, until it is “one big spot”. Finally the Cat orders Little Cat Y to take off his hat and reveal the smallest cat that is too small to see, Little Cat Z. Little Cat Z takes off his hat and unleashes a VOOM onto the snow. After the VOOM clears, the pink stain is gone from the snow and all the Little Cats retreat into the Cat’s hat.

He happily departs the children, singing about each of the Little Cats as he does so.

Go to The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.

The Cat in the Hat (1971 special)


The Cat in the Hat appears on the mat

Though the characters are kept intact, most of the original book's plot is changed for the special. The only two actions the Cat does that simulate the book are unleashing Thing 1 and Thing 2 and cleaning up the mess he makes. This was the character's first appearance in media form. His first voice was Allan Sherman, who reprised the role one final time in Dr. Seuss on the Loose.

When the Cat offers some games to the two children, the fish (now given the name of Karlos K Krinklebine) objects to the Cat even being there. After scolding him a second time the Cat leaves… only to return a few seconds later claiming that he has lost something called a “moss-covered, three-handled family gredunza”. He accuses Krinklebine of stealing it and makes the kids help using a method of searching called “Calculatus Eliminatus” where they write on every place that the object isn't. Krinklebine scolds the Cat again but he manages to calm him down by singing him a lullaby.

After Krinklebine has fallen asleep the Cat brings out a box that contains his helpmates, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Instead of helping him and the kids find his gredunza, the Things wake Krinklebine by using his bowl as a ball to emulate different sports. When Krinklebine insults the Cat by saying that he “is not a cat," the Cat, the children, and the Things proceed to sing his namesake in several different languages until Krinklebine finally gives in.


Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat

Their happiness is put on hold when they all hear the children’s mother pulling up near the house. The Cat leaves but reappears in a matter of time before the mother enters the house. He cleans up the mess he and the Things caused then puts the children back where they first were sitting.

The mother comments to the kids and Krinklebine that on her way home she saw a what looked like a cat in a hat “going down the street with a moss covered three handled family gredunza.”

The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat


The Cat in the Hat thinks about The Grinch.

The Cat was the second main character in a crossover special with the Grinch, where Mason Adams voiced him. It was the first occasion where the Cat in the Hat’s actual house was seen.

The Cat leaves his house to have himself a picnic where the Grinch ends up crashing into his parked car. The Cat tries to apologize but upon calling the Grinch “Mr. Green face” only aggravates the Grinch more. The Cat comes home to find the Grinch waiting for him and ruining his voice when he tries to sing with a device called a Vacusound Sweepe. The Grinch continues to ruin the Cat’s day by creating a “darkhouse”, which creates darkness instead of light and making things to dark for the Cat to see in his house.

The Cat decides to face the Grinch one on one but is stopped by the darkhouse on the way there. He takes shelter in a restaurant where the Cat still can’t outrun the Grinch’s tricks. While he and the patrons at the restaurant are messed with, the Cat figures out how to finally reach the Grinch: by finding his soft spot. He and the civilians march over to the Grinch’s house and sing to him to make about his mother and what she would think of what he is doing. The Grinch is moved by remembering his mother and destroys his machines under their influence. The Cat's fate remains unknown afterward.

The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat in The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat, as he appears in The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss

The Cat starred in The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss. A Muppet version of the character created by Dr. Seuss in 1957, the Cat lives in a large playhouse, from which he observes goings on in the Wubbulous World through his Wubbuloscope. Though still speaking in rhyme, he is a sometimes more sedate character than his print counterpart, particularly in the second season. With the assistance of the Little Cats, he serves as a mentor to his friend Terrence McBird and acts as gentle host to the home audience.

Bruce Lanoil voices the Cat in season 1 and later Martin Robinson in season 2.

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

The series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! stars the Cat in the Hat. Accompanied by Thing 1 and Thing 2 as well as a fish named Norvil, the Cat teaches two children, Sally and Nick, about the natural world. Although he says he knows a lot about things (which he does) the Cat does not know everything and is prone to making mistakes. The Cat flies Nick and Sally around in a machine called the Thinga-ma-jigger, based on the clean-up machine he rides in the original book.

Actor Martin Short portrays the Cat.

Seussical the Musical

The Cat in the Hat acts as a narrator throughout the play, calling himself, on the Broadway recording anyway, the “Host and MC.” The Cat also takes upon many different roles in the stories, such as Gertrude McFuzz’s Doctor Dake.

The Cat in the Hat (2003 and upcoming feature)

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The Cat in the Hat, in the live-action movie, played by Mike Myers

The Cat was played by Mike Myers in the 2003 film, where he kept getting Conrad's name wrong, mainly because he was the narrator of the book and his name was never revealed, and at some points, he almost swore. Due to these and other inappropriate events in the film, not only did it get lots of bad reviews, but Audrey Giesel banished any more live-action film adaptions to any of her late husband's books.

After the success of The Lorax, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment announced plans to produce a CGI adaptation of the original book, this time with Audrey Giesel’s approval. It is unknown what voice actor will end up playing the Cat, or if he'll play a more family-appropriate version of him than Mike.

Misc. appearances

The Cat has made many appearances in other Seuss books, though not in canon with the original book or it’s sequel. In I can read with my eyes shut, he teaches a younger cat the joys and values reading has to offer. The Cat in the Hat is the narrator of both the animated special and the original book, Daisy Head Mayzie. Two books, The Cat’s Quizzer and The Cat in the Hat’s songbook both feature the character a great deal.

The book, I can Lick 30 Tigers Today and Other Stories, features a little boy and girl cat who not only resemble him but have a picture in their house of him standing in a family photo, implying that they are his children.

Aside from Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, the Cat’s second appearance in animation was in Dr. Seuss on the Loose, where he introduced each story.


One reason for the Cat in the Hat’s popularity as both a character and a book was the innocently mischievous nature of the fable. The Cat is a boastful, eccentric, but very mysterious character. He is almost always relaxed even when utter chaos unfolds around him. Readers tend to interpret the Cat, like many characters in Seuss’ books, in any way they choose. Some think he got carried away and recognized the mistake he made by the end of the story (hence why he comes into the house the minute he leaves), while others think he does not understand what he has done wrong at all. Some believe he planned on cleaning up the mess when he was done the whole time.

Despite the Cat in the Hat’s mischievous ways, he is still kind at heart. He first arrives, after all, simply to cheer up the children. After upsetting the fish throughout the entire story, he comes to terms with him by putting him back in his fish bowl.

Later Seuss works and adaptations portray the Cat as a fatherly or teacher figure, such as I can read with my eyes shut, Daisy Head Mayzie, The Cat in the Hat knows a lot about that, and Wubbulous world.

He is often shown to be polite towards others, as well, such as in his initial meeting with The Grinch in The Grinch Grinches the Cat in The Hat, in which he apologizes for causing the Grinch inconvenience, but unfortunately makes the mistake of calling the Grinch "Mr. Greenface" after the Grinch does not tell him his name, completely unaware that he had offended him. He is also shown trying to figure out why the Grinch is so mean in an effort to help him.


The Fish

The Fish, called Karlos K Krinklebine in the 1971 TV special, is the Cat in the Hat’s first real “enemy”. The Fish tells the Cat from the moment he arrives to leave their house. At one point the Cat hoists the fish up onto his umbrella saying it is part of a game of his then has his things fly the fish on kite strings around the house. Once the Cat returns, he has enough respect to put the fish back in his bowl where he belongs.

As of now, he is the cat's pet and he travels with him Sally and Nick on their adventures on The Cat in the Hat Knows Alot About That!

The Grinch

The Grinch and the Cat crossroads as brief enemies in The Grinch Grinches The Cat in The Hat . The Cat tries to make peace with the Grinch both physically and mentally but every time the Grinch merely ignores the apology or continues to harass him further. However, the Cat has found a way to get through to him by his mother correcting the grinch on what he must really do.

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are the most well-known helpers of The Cat in the Hat, so much so that he called them his “helpmates”. He seems to get along very well and cares for the Things when something bad happens to them, like getting caught in a net. Though Thing 1 and Thing 2 only make matters worse when they “help”, in The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About That!, they actually assist The Cat and the kids whenever they’re in a hard situation. There is also a Thing 3 and Thing 4 in case he needs extra help

Little Cat's A-Z

The Cat in the Hat’s second group of helpers are the Little Cats, a colony of tiny versions of himself all stacked up inside his and each other’s hats. Like the Things, they tend to make whatever problem the Cat already made worse. The smallest and most powerful Little Cat is Little Cat Z. Under his hat, there is no smaller Cat but something called a VOOM. A VOOM, some type of power, wipes away any problem the Little Cats caused then transports them all back into the Cat’s hat.


In the short, the Cat mentions how important his Moss covered-three-handled family Gredunza is to him. He sings about it, how it has hung on his family tree, and how his father bequeathed it to him.

In the beginning of the Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode, Norval the Great, he shows a giant portrait of his Uncle Lou, one of his more generous relatives.

In I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today, each story is about a cat character. The little boy cat and little girl cat in stories “I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today” and “The Glunk That Got Thunk” resemble him in appearance and markings. “The Glunk That Got Thunk” features an illustration with the Cat and the young cats around him in a family photo. In the same story, the little girl cat tells the Glunk not to call on a long distance number to save her father money. Though Seuss himself never said anything about the identities of these characters, says that the stories are about the Cat in the Hat’s children. It also says that the character in the book called King Louie Katz is actually his great-great-grandfather.

Young Cat

Possibly the son of the Cat in the Hat, who is seen with him going on adventures learning about how to read with your eyes shut but not all the time and to learn about other things while reading and how to not miss the best things in life by keeping your eyes open.

Memorable Quotes

“Why do you sit there like that? I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny. But we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” - Original book

“I know some new tricks! A lot of good tricks! I will show them to you. Your mother will not mind if I do!” - Original book

(To fish) “Now! Now! Have no fear, have no fear! My tricks are not bad. Why we can have lots of good fun if you wish(To fish) “Now! Now! Have no fear, have no fear! My tricks are not bad. Why, we can have lots of good fun if , with a game I call…Up-up-up with a fish!” -Original book

“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how. I can hold up the cup and the milk and the cake! I can hold up these books and the fish and the rake! I can hold the toy ship and a little toy man! And look! With my tail, I can hold a red fan! I can fan with the fan as I hop on the ball But that is not all. Oh, no. That is not all….” -Original book

“Oh dear! You did not like our game… Oh dear. What a shame! What a shame! What a shame!” -Original book

“Have no fear of this mess. I always pick up all my playthings and so…I will show you another good trick that I know!” -Original book

“You will note, I am neat... wiped my feet on the mat.” -1971 short

“It’s up to you kids, whatever you say. If you think me untrustworthy, send me away.” -1971 short

“Somebody stole my moss-covered, three-handled family gradunza! Nobody's gonna leave this room until I find it!” -1971 short

“OUT? OUT? Why every house should have a cat in it... curled up by the fireplace little warm-” -1971 short

“I am indeed a cat, and this, indeed, is a HAT.” -1971 short

(to Grinch) “I deeply deplore any inconvenience I may have caused you Mr….Greenface?” -Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat

(to the viewers) "I'm so glad that you're here. Oh, I like it a lot. It's just not as much fun to be here when you're not." -The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (Season 2)

(singing) Here we Go Go Go Go on an adventure the thingamaggigger is up and away!!!!! -The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!


The Cat in the Hat Knows Alot About That!

Live-action Cat in the Hat movie


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