Cartoons are excellent fun and come in all shapes and sizes - from little animations lasting only a few seconds to full blown feature films, and from crude hand drawn images to elaborate computer graphics.

Each type has it’s own merits and drawbacks, with films such as Shrek, Toy Story etc all being massive money making machines.

Historically, the personification of animals has been a huge source of inspiration for developing stories in these films even to the extent that traditional stories are retold using animals (albeit talking ones) as the lead roles in place of humans.  Whether this was done to create more appeal towards them, or whether the animators found it easier to bring these characters to life than a human subject I don’t know.

In the case of cartoons which are actually trying to represent animals as themselves rather than animals being portrayed as humans, the ones which succeed best are the cartoons which show their behaviour in a realistic manner.  For example, if you are animating a dog then it has to have the mannerisms that a dog owner will recognise and appreciate - although obviously it has to have a certain comedy value to it too.

It takes a certain amount of skill to be able to do this effectively, and if you go for this approach then you really have to get it spot on otherwise your film will fail.

The more usual approach is to go down the slapstick route taken by such classics as Tom & Jerry, Donald Duck and the likes - this obviously works well too and can be hugely successful, and with this the entertainment factor is more inclusive.  You don’t have to be familiar with the mannerisms of a duck in order to enjoy a Donald Duck cartoon for example, you just need to appreciate that someone being hit over the head with an anvil is funny - and who wouldn’t appreciate that?

When done correctly, the first approach is more enjoyable - to me at least - and as a cat owner (can you really own a cat, or do they own you?) I really appreciate these short films.  The animation of the cat is absolutely spot on, the way he has made the cat behave is just as I have seen my cats act too and that’s the beauty of the whole thing.  Although the cat in these cartoons acts a little strange for a cat, who’s to say they don’t all do these things when our backs are turned?

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