by Donahue Purrcell
In space no one can hear you meow.
One of the Don’s (that’s me!) favorite mewvies of all time is legendary director Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien, a purrfect blend of sci-fi and horror backed by a stellar cat – err, cast. Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley is widely recognized by fans as the star of the film, but the Don knows better, y’see? Ripley may be a sci-fi heroine among sci-fi heroines, but there’s no denying that the film’s real star is none other than the furry and adorable Jonesey the cat!
Jonesey (a.k.a. Jones), a handsome but slightly pudgy ginger tom cat, may not have been included in the commercial towing vehicle Nostromo’s crew head count of seven, but by the time the end credits roll on Alien you know that he’s more than worthy of being the unofficial eighth member. I’m not sure how many of his nine lives it may have taken him to make it to the end of Alien, but one thing’s for sure. This cat is a Survivor with the Eye of the Tiger. See what I did there, fans of 80’s mewsic and Rocky III?
Jonesey chowing down with the crew of the Nostromo
There are some supurrb acting performances provided by Alien’s cast, and Jonesey’s raw and passionate purrformance is no exception. Some of the finest feline acting ever captured on film can be seen – no, felt – with Jonesey’s purrformance. In one purrticular scene, the expression delivered on this kitty’s mug (as he witnesses poor engineering technician Brett’s unfortunate encounter with the alien) is truly Oscar worthy. I still feel the fur stand up on my back every time I watch that scene.
Look at thar raw emotion!
Being the crafty kitty that he is, Jonesey manages to avoid the menacing alien aboard the vessel for most of the movie. It’s not until Ellen Ripley’s well intended but misguided action places our cat in purril. In fact, the most damage Jonesey takes on in Alien is from Ripley herself. When she placed him in his carrying cage, he got tossed around more than a catnip stuffed ball. Let’s hope that cage was padded. Mrowr!
Skillfully surviving the caged conundrum, Jones makes his way to the escape ship in one piece with Ripley. Unfortunately, the alien tags along for one final menacing scene. Everything’s cool though, y’see? Our heroic ginger tom wisely avoids any subsequent danger by chilling out safely in a stasis chamber, leaving Ripley to dispose of the unwanted guest once and for all. It may look like Jones didn’t help much, but you’d be wrong to think such a thing. Without Jonesey’s presence, what other reason would Ripley have had to fight for survival?
Into the safe and cozy stasis chamber
Seven years after the original film’s release, James Cameron’s 1986 cleverly titled sequel, Aliens, was unleashed to anticipating fans. After 57 years of floating in space, Jones and Ripley are rescued by a salvage crew. Fate can be cruel, as it has brought Ripley face to face the acid blooded creatures once again, but not before a heartwarming Ripley/Jonesey reunion. This time out, the cat wisely stays behind to live out whatever he has of his nine lives happily and well-fed. Instead, a scruffy little colony girl by the name of Newt takes our kitty’s place as Ripley’s reason to carry on the battle. Newt’s not nearly as adorable as Jones, but for what it’s worth she does play a pivotal role in the very entertaining mewvie.
Jonesey and Ripley reunited