The Cat Returns


The Cat Returns

Critics Consensus

Sweetly charming and beautifully animated, The Cat Returns offers anime adventure suitable for the very young and young at heart.



Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 35,245
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Movie Info

Aoi Hiiragi's manga about a schoolgirl's adventures with a very unusual feline comes to the screen in this witty anime feature. Haru is a girl who one day saves the life of a cat while on her way to school. To her surprise, Haru learns she came to the rescue of no ordinary cat -- the kitty introduces her to the Kingdom of the Cats, where the feline potentate attempts to arrange a marriage between her and his son. Brought into a world he never knew existed, Haru learns a few lessons about herself as he discovers more about the strange and magical secret world of the cats. Neko No Ongaeshi (aka The Cat Returns) was released in the United States with a dubbed soundtrack featuring the voice talents of Anne Hathaway, Andy Richter, Tim Curry, Peter Boyle, and Elliott Gould.


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Critic Reviews for The Cat Returns

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (2)

  • Catchy entertainment for kids and adults...

    Sep 1, 2008

    Lisa Nesselson

    Top Critic
  • [Director] Morita has a slightly cruder, more realistic sense of the world and its looniness than does Miyazaki, and you can see where The Cat Returns moves on a different track even as it pays homage to Japan's current animation master.

    Jun 20, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Another enjoyable fantasy adventure from Studio Ghibli.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Wally Hammond

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • An enchanting, magical fable with a twisted vein of surrealism that makes you wonder exactly what they're smoking over there in the Land of the Rising Sun.

    May 24, 2005 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Neil Smith
    Top Critic
  • While not the greatest Studio Ghibli film by any measure, I was thoroughly entertained by the creative and strange story of a young girl and her adventures in a world of cats.

    Feb 27, 2019 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • When it comes to grand fantasy tales of little girls lost in wonderfully strange worlds, The Cat Returns is no Spirited Away. Still, it's a serviceable children's adventure film, with some memorable moments.

    Mar 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Cat Returns

  • Jun 21, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2013
    I love cats and this film is perfect for me!!! It's an enjoyable family fantasy that was filled with laughter and likable characters.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2012
    Sorta like 'Spirited Away' but with a much more whimsical and playful tone. Very bizarre but effectively endearing personal tale about a directionless schoolgirl who finds her path in life in the most unlikely of places. Filled with laugh-out-loud moments and a weird but memorable cast of characters (The Baron is voiced masterfully by Cary Elwes), it may not be the most original Studio Ghibli film but it is still thoroughly entertaining in it's brisk 72 minute runtime. Even without the two masters involved (Hayao Myazaki and Isao Takahata), the Ghibli crew can still make quality animated films. Side note: This is a spin-off of another Studio Ghibli flick named 'Whisper of the Heart', which was a grounded slice-of-life masterpiece in which it's brief dream sequences featured The Baron. Both 'Whisper of the Heart' and 'The Cat Returns' have no real story connections, so watching 'Whisper of the Heart' is not needed in order to understand the plot (although you should definitely still give it a viewing since it's a criminally underrated near-classic). Plus, watching 'Whisper of the Heart' gives 'The Cat Returns' story a fun context to view it in.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Nov 27, 2011
    Studio Ghibli can really do no wrong. They have this uncanny ability of making everything adorable, and with seeming effortlessness they're able to pull you in and make you care deeply for their characters without actually putting much effort into their development. They just define them so well through design and minor subtleties that by the time a cat stands upright and begins speaking with Cary Elwes's voice you're already too in love to care about all the ridiculous crap they're about to throw at you.
    Brett W Super Reviewer

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