Thomas "Tom" Cat is a major character in Tom and Jerry, and half of the academy-award winning Tom and Jerry cartoon cat-and-mouse duo. He is a blue/grey cat who first appeared in the 1940 animated short Puss Gets the Boot. Tom was originally known as "Jasper" during his debut in that short, however, beginning from his next appearance in The Midnight Snack and onwards, he is known as "Tom" & "Thomas". In The Mouse Comes to Dinner, he was known as "Tommy".
Tom is a mute, Russian Blue cat. With green eyes and yellow in the whites of his eyes Tom has a white torso and has white hands and feet. The tip of his tail is also white. The rest of his body is gray.
His full name "Tom Cat" is based on "tomcat", a phrase which refers to male cats. He is very rarely heard speaking with the exception of a few cartoons (such as Tom & Jerry Tales' League of Cats) and "Tom and Jerry: The Movie". Although occasionaly, he would make yawning noises and "Ouch!" noises if he is hurt. As well as saying "Don't you believe it." in a low, monotonous voice.
Tom is portrayed as a normal cat that continuously chases after Jerry, for whom he sets traps, many of which backfire and cause damage to him rather than Jerry. Tom rarely sets out to eat Jerry, only to hurt or compete with him, going to great lengths in order to torment Jerry. However, Tom is shown to get along with Jerry at times.
Tom has changed his personality remarkably over the years, especially after the first episodes. For example, in his debut, he was quadrupedal and had normal cat intelligence. However, over the years (since the episode Dog Trouble), he has become almost completely bipedal and has human intelligence. As a slapstick cartoon character, Tom has a superhuman level of elasticity. When acting as Jerry's antagonist, Tom is usually defeated in the end, although there are some stories where he outwits and defeats Jerry.
Anchors Aweigh & Dangerous When Wet
Tom and Jerry appeared together in the 1945 Technicolor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical Anchors Aweigh where Tom briefly appears as a butler for Jerry, the latter who has a dance sequence with Gene Kelly, and also in another musical with the same studio Dangerous When Wet (1953), where, in a dream sequence, main character Katie Higgins (Esther Williams) does an underwater ballet with Tom and Jerry, as well as animated depictions of the different people in her life.
- Clarence Nash: Vocal Effects in The Hanna-Barbera era (1940–1941)
- William Hanna: Vocal Effects in The Hanna-Barbera era (1942–1958) shorts, The Lonesome Mouse, The Million Dollar Cat
- Billy Bletcher: 1944 Shorts: The Bodyguard, Zoot Cat, Quiet Please!
- Daws Butler: 1956 Short: Mucho Mouse (and a few others as well)
- Allen Swift: Vocal Effects in the Gene Deitch era (1961–1962) shorts
- Mel Blanc: Vocal Effects in the Chuck Jones era (1963–1967) Shorts, Is There a Doctor in the Mouse?
- George O'Hanlon: 1964 Short: The Cat Above and the Mouse Below
- Frank Welker: Tom & Jerry Kids Show, Tom and Jerry Show, The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show
- David Kaufman: Tom and Jerry: The Movie (speaking voice only)
- Greg Burson: Animaniacs, Dexter's Laboratory, Freakazoid!, The Powerpuff Girls
- Charlie Schlatter: Tom and Jerry: Blast Off to Mars, Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry, Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers
- Jeff Bennett: Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring
- Jeff Bergman: 2005 Short: The Karate Guard, Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz
- Billy West: Tom and Jerry Tales, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale, Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes
- Tom sometimes has a happy ending in some episodes but when Spike Bulldog has a happy ending, Jerry will also have a happy ending.
- in the first cartoon "puss gets the boot" his was call jasper instead of Tom
- In some earlier versions of the classic cartoons, Tom's owner would call Tom, "Jasper".
- Toots, a fluffy yellow cat who appears in Puss n' Toots and The Mouse Comes to Dinner, the latter being her only speaking role. This version of Toots also appeared in some 1940s Tom and Jerry comics.
- Toots, a different cat by the same name who appears in The Zoot Cat. (She has occasionally, erroneously been referred to as "Sheikie," but this is actually Tom's nickname, as seen on a gift card in the cartoon.)
- An unnamed, non-speaking cat who appears very briefly in The Bodyguard. She was made as a mere object of slap-stick humor, as when Tom gave her a wolf-whistle he ironically gave himself away to Spike, who was supposed to protect Jerry every time he whistles.
- Tara, a non-speaking cat who appears in Texas Tom.
- Toodles Galore, a non-speaking recurring cat who sometimes adores Tom—and sometimes treats him badly (particularly in Love Me, Love My Mouse). She appears in multiple shorts.