'Catdog' Was The Weirdest Kids' Show Ever & We Don't Talk About That Enough
Sorry, Ren and Stimpy. Apologies, Rocko’s Modern Life. No harm meant, Cow and Chicken. Nothing but love to you, Aaahh!! Real Monsters. You are all bizarre and wonderful and iconic television programs in your own right. However, CatDog is the strangest cartoon we ‘90s kids put in front of our eyes, hands down. Yes, the weirdest of all the animated series the decade had to offer was a tremendous show about a feline, canine, little CatDog.
For good measure, here's a quick rundown of the premise: CatDog is about a pair of brothers named Cat and Dog. Cat is a Type A cat who never met a scheme he didn't like, and Dog is a sweet and dopey dog. Oh, and they're joined together by a hot dog-shaped trunk. It's like The Odd Couple, but if Oscar was a dog, Felix was a cat, they were attached at the torso, and they lived in house that was shaped like a giant fish attached to a giant bone.
In a 2000 interview with The Washington Post, series creator Peter Hannan shared the inspiration behind CatDog. He explained,
"I was working on a book that was never published called 'A Few Superheroes You've Probably Never Heard Of.' In that book, there were superheroes who couldn't do their jobs terribly well. One of them was called the Amazing Catdog Man, a character with a man's body and a cat and dog head. They would argue with each other while they were trying to rescue someone and so they'd never get around to rescuing anyone."
Some time down the road, Hannan revisited the Amazing Catdog Man idea, "pared it down to what CatDog is now," pitched a series "about a real animal that's half and half" to Nickelodeon, and hi ho diggety, a brilliant animated show was born.
Now, before you say this isn't that weird of a premise and the show isn't that weird of a cartoon, please attempt to answer a question that's gnawed at fans since 1998: How do Cat and Dog relieve themselves? Go ahead and really noodle it. Better yet, put it in your pocket and keep it there until your next social engagement. It's a terrific icebreaker.
Hannan didn't have an answer to the CatDog/lavatory inquiry, but the mystery doesn't seem to keep him awake at night. He told The Washington Post,
"No one knows, myself included. What I used to say, because I was worried that kids might think CatDog would explode if they didn't go to the bathroom, was that they definitely do go to the bathroom, but no one knows how. Nobody ever asks how Mickey Mouse goes to the bathroom, so we don't really need to know."
How does Mickey Mouse go to the bathroom? Does Mickey Mouse not do it the, um, classic mouse way? Or does he go like a human bei— oops, sorry. Got distracted by an anthropomorphic mouse. Something that really isn't that weird. You know what is weird? A half-cat, half-dog hybrid that may or may not have two separate digestive systems but doesn't have a rear end.
Here are a few compelling theories regarding how Cat and Dog do their business:
If you'd like to see a scientifically accurate rendering of CatDog using the toilet, look no further than Animation Domination’s “Scientifically Accurate: Catdog” video. And yes, the video is disgusting. And no, you won't be able to unsee it. And yes, it will tattoo itself to the insides of your eyelids, ensuring it's the first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see as you fall asleep.
As if the mystery of their digestive system (systems?) wasn’t bizarre enough, the anatomy of CatDog regularly lent itself to weird storylines. If you would be so kind, please recall that one time a pecan tree grew out of Dog. Like something out of a David Cronenberg movie. Cat, meanwhile, was just fine?
Yes, Cat was fine. And eventually, Dog was fine, too. Well. until the next bonkers thing happened on CatDog, that is. Episode after episode, the cycle of weird continued. Like a never-ending circle. Or like Cat's face stuck in Dog's mouth.
Anyone who looks at that clip and says, "Eh, not that strange" is lying. CatDog was as bonkers as it was funny, clever as it was surreal. We '90s kids were so lucky to have Cat and Dog in our lives. Hi ho diggety.