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Why Movies Use More Than One Feline Actor for Each Role; The Many Faces Of A Street Cat Named Bob

05 January 2024

Have you ever watched a movie and thought ‘How do they get that cat to do so many different things?’. If you don’t know this already then prepare to have your bubble burst because the truth is, they don’t.

How many cats were hired for the movie ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’?

This movie, based on a true story, is about a homeless busker called James. He is struggling with a heroin addiction when he meets a fearless stray ginger cat called Bob. Together they go on a journey leading to James’ sobriety and a lucrative book deal.

They cast the real-life cat, Bob as the main character in the movie and he did not disappoint. Bob was experienced at being up on James’ shoulders, busking, and the hustle and bustle of the street. He exuded main-character vibes and stole the show.

Bob’s zen nature suited a lot of the scenes from the film. But he was not the kind of cat who enjoyed riding in a bicycle basket or running onto a bus. The movie needed the help of several ginger cats to make it work.

To get around this, the Director hired 6 other cats:

🐈 Oscar (Very good at staying where he is told to stay)

🐈 Booker (The stunt cat – fearless)

🐈 Leo (Mellow and laidback)

🐈 Trace (Sadly there is no information about Trace’s specific talents)

🐈 Ricky (Was a little on the plump side)

🐈 Jaffa (Very good in the bicycle basket)

Having multiple cat actors for one role is not unusual. During the Harry Potter movie, several Maine Coon cats were hired to play Mrs Norris, the pet cat of Argus Filch.

Pebbles was trained to walk up and down and stop on command. This cat is famous for checking the corridor for unruly students.

This cat actor was not so skilled at the more complex training which was better suited to the two other cats.

Why do so many different cat actors play the main character in a movie?

Human actors can alter their emotions, temperament, and entire personalities. This allows them to adapt to the demands of a character or scene. Cats can not which is why they need to hire so many to play one character.

Cat actors are hired for their specific personalities and abilities. Some cats are more placid and are better at lazing around. Others are better suited to the high-energy action shots. 

They don’t need to behave alike but they do need to look alike. Unlike humans, it is far easier to find cat actors who only have slight differences in aesthetics.

Training dogs is easier than training cats. Dogs love food and attention whereas cat reward behaviour is more complex. Cats may have a more narrow repertoire of skills per cat as a result. This might explain why there are often more cats playing one role in movies when compared with dogs. 

Apply for your cat to join Urban Paws Agency

With so many animals being needed for just one role, there are plenty of opportunities in the industry for more cat actors (and models). If you have a well-trained feline waiting in the wings then why not apply for them to join Urban Paws?

Your pet’s profile will be assessed by lots of agents, photographers, and of course film directors. They are all looking for animal hire for their specific brief. All of our work pays and rates vary depending on the job. 

Please note: If you haven’t received a response from the team in two weeks, kindly consider your application unsuccessful. Please be patient for the entire two-week period, as we receive a substantial volume of applications.



A previous pet business owner turned freelance writer, Pixie Greatorex specialises in writing blog posts for business owners in the pet niche. She shares her world with 4 feline friends and combines her history in marketing and business coaching with her degree in psychology and a long-standing passion for animals.

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