5: Azrael - Gargamel's cat on The Smurfs. Nobody is sure whether Gargamel intended to eat the Smurfs or turn them into gold, but we all know what Azrael wanted. He always had that starvation-crazy look in his eye. Azrael is one cat not to f*ck with.
4: Tom - The original bad-ass cat (in the original series, not the lame, toned-down version of today)--he was in one of the most violent cartoons back when cartoon violence was cool And though we all knew that we knew that the dynamite he stuck in Jerry's cheese was going to find it's way into Tom's mouth, we didn't care. Seeing Tom's head explode just made him that much greater. Plus, we have him to thank for number 3 on the list.
3: Scratchy - It is possible that the Itchy and Scratchy Show (a cartoon within the cartoon The Simpsons) has had a longer run than any show of any cartoon cat on this list. As a spoof of Tom & Jerry, The Simpson's writers ratcheted up the violence to hilarious comic effect.
2: Garfield - You gotta love the lazy, lasagna-loving Garfield. To me as a kid, he was hilarious. To me as an adult, I prefer http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/, but either way, he's high on my list.
1: Heathcliff - He had a short run on TV, but man was he cool; and he could totally kick Garfield's lazy ass. My 11 year old self was smitten. I now live with two cats--I blame you, Heathcliff!
Like it, hate it, think of cats I missed? Let me know by posting below.
(I must confess, I was so close to adding the Cat in the Hat to the list--making him tied with Azrael or something--but I always hate when top __ lists do that. If it's top 5, don't give me 6. So Azrael narrowly beats out the Cat in the Hat, primarily because I only like the Cat in the Hat because my 1 1/2 year old son likes to sing the "go go go go on an adventure" song, which means it's my son I like, not the cartoon cat. That doesn't get him onto my list.)