Dogs, cats, rabbits, fish, snakes, and more! As a nation, we are obsessed with animal companions, with around 67% of households in the US owning a pet according to the 2019-2020 APPA survey – that’s over 85 million families! It makes sense then, that we enjoy putting our furry (and not-so-furry) friends into the media that we consume. From TV to music to gaming, we use cartoon animals to entertain us and symbolize different things, so here are a few examples.
Cats. Our feline friends have long been a staple of animation, and the oldest incarnation was Master Tom in a Paramount Pictures short from 1919. The black and white tomcat was a prototype of what became ‘Felix the Cat’, who is still being used in animation today. There’s clearly an appetite for cats in our media, give that there are so many: Garfield, Tom (and Jerry) in cartoons, and even musicals – the most famous being Macavity from Cats! to name but a few. One possible reason for their popularity is that cats are famous for being naughty and causing trouble, which creates an excellent basis for entertainment.
Dogs also feature heavily on TV and film, with many animations featuring man’s best friend such as Brian from Family Guy, who plays a fully sentient member of the family, which is because dogs are widely considered to be more responsive to human emotions. Dogs represent many human qualities in a companion: loyalty, support, and of course, fun! Dogs feature heavily in games, with their playful antics entertaining many different types of consumers. There are video games like Grand Theft Auto V, where Chop the Rottweiler is a fan favorite. Another area of gaming that is continuing to grow is casino gaming and when we look at the range of platforms listed on sites like Bonusfinder US online, we begin to see that our furry friends feature prominently here, too. For example, PartyCasino hosts a game called The Dog House Megaways, not only using a 100% bonus match to engage players but also our tail-wagging pals.
Less furry pals, like fish or snakes, are slightly less represented thanks to their lack of fluff, however, we are still entertained by their stories and they are no less important despite their scaly exteriors. Oceanic creatures are fun to work with because they allow us to explore a completely different world and to take a look at what is hiding ‘under the sea’. They are generally present in shows and movies with more complex themes, such as Blinky from The Simpsons, a three-headed fish who was borne from nuclear radiation from the Springfield Power Plant. Snakes are often painted as the villains of our stories, from the hypnotic and biblical Crowley in Good Omens to the Slytherin house mascots in Harry Potter. They represent the cunning, sneaky, and complex parts of us – which can be used for good and bad, but lean heavily to the latter which is possibly due to the fear of snakes that affects an estimated third of humans.
Of course, there are other animals that we like to see in our media – farm animals like sheep and pigs often play a part in family books and animations, but we are definitely most comforted by the representation of our closest creature companions, and probably always will be.