Don Vito Corleone’s cat in The Godfather

Don Vito Corleone’s tabby cat sitting on his lap in his office in the iconic film The Godfather was a stray cat found by the director Francis Ford Coppola on the studio lot.

Marlon Brando as Don Corleone with cat
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Marlon Brando as Don Corleone with cat

The film script did not call for the inclusion of a cat but Coppola decided on a role for the tabby. He asked Marlon Brando to improvise with the cat on his lap. Brando was made for the job.

Ronnie Fieg on Twitter (I don’t know his credentials) says that the cat loved Brando so much that he sat on his lap the whole day during takes.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Apparently the cat loved Brando and purred incessantly which partly muffled Brando’s dialogue. His lines had to be ‘looped’. This means his dialogue was re-recorded after the filming to improve the audio quality.

Comment: The story does not surprise me. First off, Brando loved cats. There are many photos of him interacting with cats. Perhaps his love of cats (and animals?) came from his admitted lack of love from his mother who he said chose a bottle over caring for him.

Marlon Brando and white cat.

Marlon Brando enjoying the company of a charming white cat. Photo in public domain.

Also his very natural handling of the cat on his lap while delivering his lines indicates that he knew how to interact with cats. He was perfect. The cat certainly loved the petting.

I wonder if Brando suggested the addition of the cat which motivated Coppola to find and collect that sweet stray. And I don’t think Brando would have minded one bit that he had to re-record his dialogue because of the cat’s purring.

Brando earned $6.5 million for the role in today’s money. He wore a dentist-made plastic insert in his mouth to create that bulldog look. He had put cotton wool in his mouth during the audition.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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