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This article is about the 1951 animated character. For the 2010 live-action character, see Chessur.
“Most everyone's mad here. Aha... HAHAHAHAHA! You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself.”
The Cheshire Cat is a major character in the 1951Disney animated feature film Alice in Wonderland. He is a mysterious, pink-and-purple-striped cat with a permanent grin. Mischievous and unpredictable in nature, the Cheshire Cat acts as a guide for Alice during her adventures in Wonderland, but also takes pleasure in causing her trouble.
The Cheshire Cat has a permanent smile on his face and he can disappear at will. He is a very odd being who is able to reshape his body to either amuse or frighten his visitors. He's very mysterious, and in his own way, very dark. Like all members of Wonderland, he is mad, but unlike the others, he admits it with pride. All of Wonderland's inhabitants appear to hold fear over him, even the Queen of Hearts, most likely due to the fact that he is the maddest and craziest of them all, or it could be due to his unique abilities.
The Cheshire Cat's true nature in the film is highly questionable, but above all, he appears to be a completely neutral character. In many instances, he's the only being in Wonderland to show kindness and sympathy towards Alice, giving her advice on which path to take during her journey, practically acting as her guide to the point where she's overly joyous to see him once he returns. On the other hand, the cat has a cruel sense of humor, as seen during Alice's meeting with the Queen of Hearts; during which, he constantly caused mishaps to purposely have the Queen's dangerous temper target, Alice. This behavior carries out up into the climax, though it can be slimly argued that he caused the Queen's temper to violently erupt for the last time to assist Alice in getting home, as the climactic chase throughout Wonderland eventually leads to her awakening and finding it was all just a dream.
After a gamut of nonsensical events in pursuit of the White Rabbit, Alice enters the Tulgey Wood. There, the Cheshire Cat arrives offering her help with directions. She tries to receive practical answers, but he continues to goof off by asking random questions, and continually showcasing his abilities. After a while, he advises her to seek answers from the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. She, not wanting to associate with mad people, denies the advice, but he claims that everyone in Wonderland is mad, including himself. He then slowly fades away into thin air, laughing and singing in the process.
Later on, Alice finds the trail of the White Rabbit once again and begins to pursue him once more. She is lost again, but this time, all hope seems lost. She breaks down in tears, just when the Cheshire Cat arrives. Delighted to see him, she claims that she's no longer looking for rabbits, and wants to find her way home. However, he explains that in Wonderland, she has no way and that all ways there are the Queen's ways. Confused, she informs him that she knows nothing about the queen, so he reveals a secret passageway to her card-inhabited kingdom.
During a croquet game with the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat arrives and continuously gets Alice into trouble with the Queen. At one point, the Cheshire Cat causes the Queen to flip over, revealing her bloomers. Out of utter embarrassment, she puts Alice on trial. With the witnesses being the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and the Dormouse, the trial gets nowhere. Soon enough, the Queen sentences Alice to death by beheading, until she finds more mushrooms in her pocket, which causes her to grow to a gigantic size. She then takes advantage of the opportunity and insults the Queen, but she shrinks down to her normal size once again. The Cheshire Cat appears once more, repeating Alice's insults which causes the Queen to lose her temper, and this leads to the climactic chase.
Originally a friend of Alice, the Cheshire Cat appears many years later when she returns to Wonderland, now wild, ferocious, and apparently loyal to the Red Queen, in addition to being one of monstrous size.
The Cheshire Cat encounters his "old friend" in Tulgey Wood and attempts to eat her due to a lack of food within the woods. However, he is distracted by the Knave of Hearts and accidentally swallows a mushroom, causing him to shrink to the size of a house cat, prompting him to flee.
In the Alice in Wonderland stage, the Cheshire Cat's grin was among the obstacles that appear in the maze as the player seeks out Alice's missing head and back. Despite this, the Cheshire Cat's image was among the heroes on the door to the storybook, confirming that he is one of them.
The Cheshire Cat appears in several games of the Kingdom Hearts series, although most of them are minor as they take place in Wonderland. However, in Kingdom Hearts, his intentions appear to be ambiguous as he appears as either an ally or an enemy; he helps Sora during his visit to Wonderland, but also summons a Trickmaster Heartless against the group, although it appears he simply wants to test Sora towards these obstacles. The manga adaptation reveals that the Cheshire Cat was offered a place amongst Maleficent's council of villains, but he rejected it.
In the HD re-release of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Cheshire Cat played his first speaking role, assisting Sora in recovering Alice's memories, which went missing due to the digital world of Wonderland becoming corrupt at the hands of a bug infection.
In the game, the Cheshire Cat is one of the many Disney characters kidnapped and taken to the Wasteland world of illusion, where an evil witch named Mizrabel plans to steal the essence of famous Disney characters to gain access to their world and dominating it. After Alice (who was also kidnapped) is rescued, she gives Mickey Mouse (the hero of the story) the quest to find the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat before they too are drained of their energy.
The Cheshire cat appears in the game as one of the playable and unlockable characters, he can attack with his claws just by disappearing, make a smile in front of the enemies to do damage and also throw his head to damage and stun the enemies and even the ones that are invisible.
The Cheshire Cat appears in audio-animatronic form in the Alice in Wonderland dark ride, in the Tulgey Wood scene. He also appeared in the ride's finale as a giant head just before the Mad Tea Party scene but was removed from it during the ride's 2014 refurbishment.
The Cheshire Cat also appears during World of Color's finale. In the show, his animated face is seen in the water projectors, while the rest of his body is made completely of water.
When Alice first hears the Cheshire Cat, he is singing the first and last stanza of the poem "Jabberwocky".
Originally, the Cheshire Cat was supposed to sing a song called "I'm Odd" but was later replaced with "Twas Brillig". For the Alice in Wonderland: Special Edition DVD it was remastered and sung by Jim Cummings as the Cheshire Cat.
In Epic Mickey, the Cheshire Cat was going to appear in the game at the level "Wonderland". But he and the level were scrapped in the final because Warren Spector didn't want to cause confusion with the Tim Burton retelling, which was going to come out at about the same time.
In Cinderella, Lucifer appears to share some similar physical properties with the Cheshire Cat: they both are rather fat in appearance, they both have a rather large grin at most points, and both have rather sharp claws. This may be because the two films were produced concurrently (1950 and 1951).
The original Cheshire Cat was based on an actual cat breed, the British Shorthair. It may have provided some inspiration for Disney's Cheshire Cat.
In the book, the Cheshire Cat is brown and tan colored.