This Magical Disney Movie Has a Purple Feline Friend You Won’t Forget

Introducing the Purple Cat from Disney

The iconic purple cat from Disney is named Figaro. He first appeared in the 1940 animated film Pinocchio as the pet cat of the character Geppetto. Figaro is best known for his vivid purple fur and playful personality. Though cats are typically not associated with the color purple, Figaro’s distinctive appearance made him stand out in the film and helped cement him as a classic Disney character.

As Geppetto’s pet, Figaro plays a supporting role in Pinocchio but makes a memorable impression through his comedic antics and interactions with other animals like Cleo the goldfish. His inclusion in the iconic Disney film marked the beginning of Figaro’s enduring popularity and legacy as one of Disney’s most recognizable animal characters.

The History of Figaro the Cat

Figaro first appeared in the 1940 Disney animated film Pinocchio as the pet cat of the woodcarver Geppetto. According to the Disney Fandom site, Figaro was created by the Disney animators to serve as a foil to Cleo, Geppetto’s pet goldfish, with his playful and mischievous personality contrasting Cleo’s primness. Figaro was animated by Eric Larson and his design was inspired by cats from animated shorts of the 1920s and 30s.

After Pinocchio, Figaro went on to appear in a number of Disney shorts alongside Minnie Mouse as her pet cat starting with the 1940 short Figaro and Cleo. According to the Mickey and Friends Fandom site, Figaro often stars independently in shorts focusing on his misadventures chasing mice and outsmarting dog adversaries. His popularity led to him becoming a recurring Disney character.

Beyond shorts, Figaro has made cameos in films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and shows like Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers. His distinct tuxedo cat design, playful personality, and status as a pet of both Geppetto and Minnie Mouse have made him an iconic and beloved Disney character over his decades-long history.


Figaro’s Role in Pinocchio

Figaro is a supporting character in Disney’s 2nd animated feature film, Pinocchio. Although not appearing in the original Carlo Collodi story, Figaro was created by Disney animators for their adaption of the tale. Figaro is the tuxedo cat of the kind toymaker Geppetto. Cheerful yet mischievous, Figaro often gets into play fights with Geppetto’s goldfish Cleo. The Disney Wiki notes that Figaro has a rivalry with the goldfish but deep down cares for her.

When first introduced in the film, Figaro is shown sleeping in bed with Geppetto. The curious cat investigates the newly crafted Pinocchio puppet, knocking on his nose and getting startled when Pinocchio comes to life. Figaro is present for Pinocchio’s first steps and dance. When Pinocchio runs away to join Stromboli’s puppet show, Figaro and Cleo are left worried at home. The cat and fish are overjoyed when Pinocchio returns home safely.

Later, when Pinocchio is tempted away again by Honest John and Gideon to go to Pleasure Island, Figaro tries clinging to the puppet’s leg to stop him from leaving. But crafty Figaro is given a kick by Gideon, allowing the trio to escape. At the end after Pinocchio becomes a real boy, Figaro celebrates along with Geppetto, Cleo and the Blue Fairy.

Figaro’s Distinctive Design

One of Figaro’s most iconic features is his vibrant purple coat. Unlike most cats that come in more natural fur colors, Figaro has a bright lavender hue covering his body. His purple coat helps him stand out visually from regular house cats. According to the Disney Wiki, Figaro was designed this way to add visual interest and appeal. The purple color also matches with some of the magical, fantasy elements of Pinocchio.

In addition to his purple fur, Figaro has large yellow eyes with black pupils. He has a small pink nose and long white whiskers coming from his muzzle. Figaro’s ears are pointed straight up, giving him an alert expression. He has a slender build and thin tail that curls slightly at the end. Figaro’s facial features are very expressive, allowing him to convey a range of emotions from happiness to anger. Overall, his distinctive purple color and animated features help make Figaro a memorable Disney character.

Figaro’s Popularity and Legacy

Figaro quickly became one of Disney’s most beloved and recognizable animal characters after his debut in Pinocchio. The adorable purple cat struck a chord with audiences and demonstrated Disney’s ability to create memorable animal sidekicks. Figaro’s distinctive design and endearing personality earned him popularity beyond the film.

After Pinocchio, Figaro went on to co-star in a number of Disney shorts alongside Minnie Mouse’s pet cat Cleo. Their playful rivalry entertained audiences and helped cement Figaro as an iconic Disney character. According to a survey of UK pet owners, Figaro was the 2nd most popular name for cats and 5th most popular for dogs, showing his widespread appeal and influence (Source).

Figaro remains a presence in Disney parks and merchandise today. He can be found in plush toys, costumes, pins, art, and more. Guests also have the chance to meet Figaro in person at Disney World and Disneyland. His continued presence is a testament to his lasting legacy as one of Disney’s most memorable animal characters decades after his debut.

Figaro in Disney Parks and Merchandise

Figaro has become a familiar and beloved character at Disney theme parks and on merchandise based on the Disney film Pinocchio. Today, visitors to parks like Walt Disney World and Disneyland can see Figaro featured in attractions, shows, parades, and character meet-and-greets. For example, Figaro appears in the Magic Kingdom show Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, alongside other classic Disney characters from Pinocchio.

Beyond the parks, Figaro’s likeness can be found on a wide array of officially licensed Disney merchandise. Some of the most popular Figaro items include plush toys, apparel like t-shirts and hats, mugs, pins, figurines, and more. Major retailers that carry official Figaro merchandise include shopDisney, the Disney Store on Amazon, the Disney Store UK, and others. For Disney collectors and fans, Figaro is one of the most enduring Disney characters from the studio’s classic early films.

Figaro in Other Disney Media

Figaro has appeared in various Disney television shows, books, and comic books beyond his big screen debut in Pinocchio. The frisky feline showed up in several animated shorts starring Minnie Mouse, starting with “Figaro and Frankie” in 1943 [2]. Figaro often tried to outsmart Minnie’s other pet, a bird named Frankie.

The popular cat also played a role in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Minnie’s Bow-Toons. In books and comics, Figaro appeared in several Minnie & Figaro titles as well as the Disney Kingdoms Figment comic series [1]. Overall, Figaro has remained a staple in Disney’s television, literary, and comic offerings over the decades.

Other Notable Fictional Cats

In addition to Figaro, there are many other famous fictional felines in animation. A few other noteworthy examples include Garfield, the lasagna-loving orange tabby cat from the comic strip and TV series of the same name. First appearing in 1978, Garfield became one of the most widely syndicated comic strips in history (

Another iconic animated cat is Hello Kitty, the cute white bobtail cat created by the Japanese company Sanrio in 1974. Although not strictly a “cartoon”, Hello Kitty has graced everything from toys to apparel and become a global pop culture phenomenon (

Figaro’s Influence on Pop Culture

The character of Figaro from Pinocchio has had a notable influence on pop culture over the years. His distinctive design as a purple cat with large yellow eyes is quite memorable. Figaro has specifically inspired some creative works due to his connection to the famous “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!” lyrics from the opera The Barber of Seville by Rossini.

The song “Figaro’s Aria” by British band Madness directly references Figaro and the lyrics from The Barber of Seville. On the album Keep Moving, the song opens with someone singing “Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!” This nod to the Disney character demonstrates his reach beyond just animated films.

There has also been some discussion online about Figaro potentially inspiring other famous fictional cats. On Reddit, some have speculated that Figaro may have influenced the design of Minnie Mouse’s cat Felicia, who is also purple While not definitive, it speaks to the lasting impact of Figaro’s distinctive appearance.

Overall, Figaro remains one of Disney’s most iconic animal characters. His connection to the beloved “Figaro, Figaro” lyrics ensures his influence continues to be felt across pop culture in fun and creative ways.

The Legacy of Disney’s Purple Cat

Figaro’s legacy stems from his memorable appearance and personality in Pinocchio. As Geppetto’s pet cat, Figaro immediately stands out with his bright purple fur, large yellow eyes, and playful demeanor. Though originally intended as a minor character, Figaro became so popular with audiences that he was incorporated into the Disney brand and continues to make appearances today.

A few key reasons Figaro remains so iconic decades after his debut:

  • His unique design makes him instantly recognizable. The purple color palette was an unusual choice for a cat, helping Figaro visually pop. His large eyes and animated expressions allow him to emote and connect with viewers.
  • He represents the pets and sidekicks audiences love in Disney films. Figaro acts as a foil and companion to Geppetto, demonstrating loyalty and bringing comedy through his mannerisms.
  • He transcended his original role. Though introduced in Pinocchio, Figaro was incorporated into shorts pairing him with Minnie Mouse. This expanded his exposure and introduced him to wider audiences.

Today Figaro remains one of Disney’s most merchandised cats, appearing on clothing, pins, toys, and in theme parks. He also continues to cameo in various Disney shows and films. For a minor character, Figaro demonstrated surprising staying power thanks to his lovable design and personality. Eight decades later, Disney’s iconic purple feline continues to hold a special place in the hearts of fans.

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