Sylvester J. Pussycat, Sr. (Sylvester the Cat or simply Sylvester) is a fictional character, a three-time Academy Award-winning anthropomorphic cat and the tetratagonist of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies repertory, often chasing Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, or Hippety Hopper. He is also the titular main protagonist the animated series The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries. The name "Sylvester" is a play on Felis silvestris, the scientific name for the wild cat species (that's because Sylvester was a wild cat in the oldest cartoons, later he became domestic cat, and scientific name for domestic cats is actually Felis catus). The character debuted in Friz Freleng's Life With Feathers (1945). Freleng's 1947 cartoon, Tweetie Pie was the first pairing of Tweety with Sylvester, and the Bob Clampett-directed Kitty Kornered (1946) was Sylvester's first pairing with Porky Pig. Sylvester appeared in 103 cartoons in the golden age.
He was voiced by late Mel Blanc (1937–1989), Bill Farmer (1989, 1996), late Joe Alaskey (1990–2011), late Greg Burson (1993–1997), Terry Klassen (2001–2006), Jeff Bennett (2003), Eric Bauza (2018) and currently, Jeff Bergman (1990–1993, 2007, 2011–present).
Pitted against Tweety, Sylvester is a brutal but clumsy predator. He is a lazy mouser and an incompetent hunter, so his focus on catching Tweety is mostly obsession.
As a cat, he is terrified of dogs. He would say "AHHH SHADDUP!!!" when the dogs are keep barking when he is out of their reach even tossing flower pot toward them to keep their "ugly" traps shut.
Role in Cartoons
Sylvester's personality in the early shorts tends to vary depending on which director handled him. Friz Freleng first paired him against Tweety Bird and Speedy, but other directors paired him with other characters, and not always as a villain. In Bob Clampett's cartoon Kitty Kornered, Sylvester teams up with other cats to lock Porky out of the house in revenge for putting them out for the night.
Robert McKimson gave Sylvester a son named Sylvester Jr. who Sylvester tries (and fails) to train in mouse-catching. These cartoons also pit him against Hippety Hopper, a baby kangaroo Sylvester always mistakes for a giant mouse.
In Chuck Jones' shorts, he is Porky's cowardly pet cat, and most differently, does not speak. These are cartoons that show Sylvester as a hero, trying to protect an oblivious Porky from danger all around him.
In Chuck Jones' shorts ("Scaredy Cat", "Claws For Alarm", and "Jumpin' Jupiter"), Sylvester tries to protect Porky Pig from danger.
In "A Mouse Divided", Sylvester protects a baby mouse he adopted from several other alley cats attempting to eat him.
In "Birds Anonymous", Sylvester protects Tweety from the B.A. cat who he tried to eat him and restrains him.
In "Space Jam", he helped the other Looney Tunes, and Michael Jordan to defeat the Nerdlucks/Monstars.
In "Curse of De Nile", he saves Granny, Tweety and Hector, who were oblivious about danger.
In "Don't Polka Me", he was willing to save Tweety from two cats trying to eat him.
Attempts to save his son Sylvester Jr. from danger on numerous occasions.
In "Tree For Two" and "Dr Jerkyl's Hide", he stands up against a pair of dogs (Spike and Chester) who attempt to harass him.
In "Father of the Bird", he protects a baby bird from danger.
In "Lighthouse Mouse", he attempts to keep his owner sleep in peace by keeping the lighthouse on against a mouse.
In "Tweet and Sour", he was willing to save Tweety from an orange alley cat attempting to eat him.
Sylvester once had a black nose (which was only in Kitty Kornered), but his nose has since always been red like a Conrad's.
Sylvester has one of the lowest win records out of Looney Tunes, beaten only by Wile E. Coyote. Notably even in cartoons where he is doing good deeds such as a A Mouse Divided, he still ends up losing.
Sylvester could be heard in an episode of the game show Press Your Luck. Host Peter Tomarken had earlier incorrectly credited his catchphrase "Sufferin' Succotash!" to Daffy Duck. Even though all three contestants had correctly answered "Sylvester", they were ruled incorrect. In a segment produced later and edited into the broadcast, Sylvester phoned Tomarken and told him, "Daffy Duck steals from me all the time." This was a joke because Daffy usually says it.
In The Looney Tunes Show, Sylvester's appearance has changed in the series. His body is more shorter and slender and his canine teeth are more sharp and prominent making him look more like a housecat.