Top Cat



Once-funny now-clichéd cat thwarts authority.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's certainly no intentional social message here, but the "good guys" are the gangland cats, and the "baddies" the cops, although it all plays out in a very sedate manner. Some character stereotyping typical of the original '60s time period.

Violence & scariness

Some minor classic slapstick cartoon violence in the Three Stooges vein -- friends whack each other over foolish comments, fingers are caught in mousetraps, etc.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is one of the many cartoons in which the rogues are smart (well, at least one of them is) and the cops aren't. Top Cat always beats the police in any contest of wits, although he never actually gets the riches, fame, or cushy home he's looking for. Top Cat is one of those characters -- like Yogi Bear, Daffy Duck, or even the Lucky Charms rabbit -- whose appeal lies partly in his constant, fruitless striving. Plenty of very mild slapstick cartoon violence and dated situations, but not much else to worry about.

What's the story?

TOP CAT was a primetime Hanna-Barbera offering from 1961-1962. The show uses classic sitcom plots that are translated to a classic cartoon world in which Top Cat (voiced by Arnold Stang) and his gang of harmless cats live in a New York alley, attempting mild get-rich-quick scams and cons. They never succeed, but they always outwit Officer Dibble and the rest of the police force.

Is it any good?


Pretty much a knock-off of the '50s' Phil Silvers Show, today Top Cat is about as funny as, well, The Phil Silvers Show and is more of an artifact of its time than anything else. Violence is minor and stereotypes abound, but since all of the characters are even more two-dimensional than in most cartoons, the stereotyping matters less than you'd think. While Top Cat is pretty harmless, there's better stuff out there, even at this level.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the characters' motivations. Do you think Top Cat really wants to leave behind his alley gang for a life of ease? Does Officer Dibble really dislike Top Cat? Families with older kids might enjoy talking about how the plots of these cartoons are the same ones that play out over and over again, particularly in older sitcoms. Would they still work for today's shows? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Arnold Stang, Maurice Gosfield, Paul Frees
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old November 11, 2011

Same Level and Rating and Age as Rocko's Modern Life

This is for Ages 5 and up and rated G so Children under 5 need an Adult
Adult Written byAl Jackson April 14, 2012

Hanna Barbana's best cartoon!

I love this show! Why does it get get 2 stars?! This show is REALLY funny!
Parent of a 10 and 17 year old Written byLola Bridge November 25, 2011

classic cartoon

it is just a regular cartoon not much to say about it .typical artwork from that time period


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