The Cat Came Back (1988 film)

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For the Friz Freleng short, see The Cat Came Back (1936 film).
The Cat Came Back
Directed by Cordell Barker
Produced by Richard Condie
Cordell Barker
Written by Cordell Barker
Starring Richard Condie
Distributed by National Film Board of Canada
Release dates
  • June 22, 1988 (1988-06-22)
Country Canada
Language English

The Cat Came Back is a 1988 animated film by Canadian director Cordell Barker, produced by fellow award-winning animator Richard Condie in Winnipeg for the National Film Board of Canada. It is based on the children's song "The Cat Came Back".


The film portrays the increasingly desperate efforts of Mr. Johnson, an old man, to rid himself of a small, yet extremely destructive, yellow cat that will not leave his home. As the attempts to get rid of the cat become more comical, the cat becomes increasingly destructive, until Mr. Johnson resorts to an explosive solution. Mr. Johnson tries to put the cat in the woods, but gets lost, and returns. He traps the cat in a sack to have a fish, and tries to put him in the sea on a boat, but nearly sinks when he is attacked by fish. Mr. Johnson tries to put the cat in a balloon, and send him flying away, but flies away, himself, and returns, hurt. Mr. Johnson tries to take the cat away on a pump trolley on a railroad track, going over many damsels in distress, but jumps over a cow, and hits a bug crossing the railroad track, when he falls into a mine, only to be attacked by snakes, bats, and mice. Mr. Johnson tries to blow up the cat, but fails with his hair on fire, and explodes into an angel, only to tease the poor little cat, who is squashed by his human body. The result is a twist ending playing on the end of the children's song, with the cat's nine lives bedeviling Mr. Johnson for eternity.


The film garnered over 15 awards, including a Genie Award for Best Animated Short,[1] as well as an Academy Award nomination.[2] It was also chosen for inclusion in animation historian Jerry Beck's 50 Greatest Cartoons, placing at #32.[3] It was also included in the Animation Show of Shows.


  1. ^ "The Cat Came Back". Collection. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  2. ^ Cuthbert, Pamela (2003). "Cordell Barker". Canadian Film Encyclopedia. The Film Reference Library. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  3. ^ Beck, Jerry (1994). The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals. Turner Publishing. ISBN 1-878685-49-X. 

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