When people of a certain age hear the phrase, “the world’s most finicky cat,” they automatically flash back in their mind’s eye to Morris the Cat, mascot of 9Lives brand cat food.
The original Morris The Cat (whose name was Lucky), was discovered in 1968 at the Hinsdale Humane Society in Chicago by professional animal handler, Bob Martwick. The Hinsdale staff noticed Morris’ friendly personality and contacted Martwick.
Morris truly was lucky, because he went on to star in, as noted on the Hinsdale website, “the most successful and memorable advertising campaigns in television history.” From 1969, until his death in 1978, Morris, as voiced by John Irwin, starred in 58 commercials, always turning up his nose at cat food he didn’t like.
Besides television commercials, Morris The Cat appeared in two movies, won two PATSY Awards (like an Oscar award for animals), visited schools for Be Kind To Animals Week and wrote three books.
When Morris The Cat died in July, 1978, his obituary appeared in newspapers all over the world. As a matter of fact, the photo with this article is a scan of the original obituary this writer has kept for 35 years. The words under the photo say:
Morris, the star of a pet food television commercial for 10 years, died inChicagolast week. Morris was 17 years old and he will be replaced by an understudy, also named Morris.
Two other cats have played Morris since 1978, both rescues, just like the original Morris.