Morris the Cat
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A large orange tabby tomcat, he is "the world's most finicky cat", eating only 9Lives, and making this preference clear with humorously sardonic voice-over comments when offered other brands. Every can of 9Lives features Morris' "signature".
Three different cats have played Morris the Cat. The original Morris was discovered in 1968, at the Hinsdale Humane Society, a Chicago-area animal shelter, by professional animal handler Bob Martwick. That Morris died in 1978. All cats to play Morris have been rescues, either from an animal shelter or a cat rescue. The current Morris lives in Los Angeles with his handler, Rose Ordile.
Morris has appeared in other media over the years. He debuted in the Robert Altman film The Long Goodbye with Elliott Gould, and starred in the movie Shamus with Burt Reynolds and Dyan Cannon in 1973.
Morris also appears as a "spokescat" promoting responsible pet ownership, pet health and pet adoptions through animal shelters. To this end, he has "authored" three books: The Morris Approach, The Morris Method and The Morris Prescription. He was quoted at the 1993 "end of year" edition of People magazine which noted deaths of 1993 to which he quoted a simple "Meow" in honor of the death of his friend, fellow advertising mascot, the dog Spuds MacKenzie.
In 2006, Morris was depicted as adopting a kitten, Li'l Mo, from a Los Angeles animal shelter, representing the first adoptee in a campaign known as Morris' Million Cat Rescue.
When he first appeared in British television advertisements in the late 1970s, he was coincidentally voiced by Johnny Morris (then famous in the UK for his anthropomorphic character portrayals in the series Animal Magic), which led many British viewers, unaware of the character's origins, to wrongly suppose that the cat had been named after Morris himself. British ads for 9Lives later featured the voice of Richard Briers.
- "Morris the Cat Visits Hinsdale Humane Society". http://www.catchannel.com/media/news/morris-the-cat.aspx.pdf.
- "Trivia for The Long Goodbye (1973)". Internet Movie Database. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070334/trivia?tr0775802. Retrieved 2010-11-27. "Morris the Cat first did his 'finicky' routine in this film."
- "Trivia for Shamus (1973)". Internet Movie Database. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070680/trivia?tr0592567. Retrieved 2011-03-09. "The cat in this film is "Morris" from the famous 9Lives cat food commercials."