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Remembering Jonesy, the best-written cat in film, on this Alien Day

Stacked against other felines in film, Ellen Ripley's cantankerous companion is unarguably the most realistic

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

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In the multiverse-spanning annals of science fiction, few pets are as beloved as Ellen Ripley's cat Jones, or Jonesy to his friends. The ginger American Shorthair not only makes it through the first movie, but appears briefly in the sequel and, though it's not exactly canon, stars in his own children's book (check it out, it's a great way to get your little ones into a particularly brutal horror franchise).

45 years after his initial bigscreen outing, Jones still holds a place in the heart of your average scifi fan. But if you ask me, that honor isn't enough. Let me pitch this idea to you, reader: Jones isn't just the best cat of science fiction - he's the most realistic cat in cinematic history.

I know, it's a hell of a statement to make. But since today is Alien Day, after all, I figured I'd take the time to prove it, by putting friend Jones up alongside some other famous movie meowers and seeing which of them comes out top dog.

Er... you know what I mean. Enjoy.

Jonesy vs. Jiji

Image credit: 20th Century Fox, Studio Ghibli

The adorable sidekick that makes Kiki's Delivery Service possible is pretty darn close to perfect. Adorable, witchy, and voiced (in English) by beloved comedian Phil Hartman, Jiji plays an integral part in the Studio Ghibli heroine's success, pulling off a bait-and-switch that saves her business.

But see, that's the problem. Since when, in the history of feline/human symbiosis, has a cat followed anyone's plans but their own? Jonesy, on the contrary, does his own thing even when the plan is just 'the xenomorph is hunting us; don't go for a walk.'

You have to give ol' Jones points for being so singleminded... as much as you have to take those points away for getting Brett killed.

Jonesy vs. Puss in Boots

Image credit: 20th Century Fox, Dreamworks

We find the main character in the latest Shrekverse film facing down an enemy you don't typically see in children's fare - Death itself. For all the incredible things that Puss in Boots: The Last Wish gave us, including some truly breathtaking animation, one of its best contributions was a kid-accessible character afraid of a very adult concept.

And when, praytell, have you ever known a cat to be afraid of the right things? Think of your own - you've seen her go toe-to-toe with potentially rabid wildlife and come home whistling, but turn on the vacuum and suddenly you need an animal therapist. Counted among our boy Jones's fears are A.) mild hunger and B.) being picked up - with little to no room on the list for a nightmare from beyond the stars.


Related: How Alien inspired American Horror Story season 12 with its focus on "physical gruesomeness" of pregnancy


Jonesy vs. Binx

Image credit: 20th Century Fox, Disney

Despite Thackery Binx's bravery against the ever-popular Sanderson Sisters, it's ultimately not this cat that saves the day in Halloween classic Hocus Pocus - it's precocious kids Max, Allison, and Dani. Once Binx is restored to his dreamy, human form (leave it to the 90s to make a cat a teen hearthrob), Binx thanks the young heroes, pledging his literally eternal gratitude before shuffing off to Heaven.

And if there's one thing cats don't really do, it's gratitude.

Contrast Binx's curtain call to the ending of Alien. Poor Ellen Ripley has saved Jones not just from the galaxy's perfect killing machine, but also a self-destructing mothership and the literal void of space. So how does dear Jonesy thank her?

He screams, obviously - because she's tried to pick him up - capturing arguably the most "cat" thing that's ever been on an American screen.

Ah but what the hell, let's do one more. Maybe from a movie that, judging by the title, should be the most authentic cat film in history?

BONUS: Jonesy vs. the entire cast of Cats

Image credit: Universal Pictures

I won't spend long on this; the differences are pretty apparent. On the one hand, you have a feline encounter with incomprehensible terror, an abomination that blurs the barrier between eldritch horror of a forgotten past and godless portent of a far-flung future.

And on the other hand, you have Jonesy, from Alien.


Alien is chest-bursting its way back into pop culture this year, and we couldn't be more excited. Prepare for Alien: Romulus with Popverse's Alien watch order, see the face-hugging first trailer, and find out where Romulus fits into the Alien timeline from star Cailee Spaeny.