The Fox and the Cat

This article is about the characters in The Adventures of Pinocchio. For the fable, see The Fox and the Cat (fable).
The Fox and the Cat
The Adventures of Pinocchio characters

The Fox and the Cat, as drawn by Enrico Mazzanti
First appearance The Adventures of Pinocchio
Created by Carlo Collodi
Species Fox (The Fox)
Cat (The Cat)
Gender In Collodi's story the Fox is male while the Cat is female. In every adaptation of the story, they are both portrayed as male characters.

The Fox and the Cat (Italian: Il gatto e la volpe, the names sequence is reversed as gatto means "cat" and volpe means "fox") are a pair of fictional characters who appear in Carlo Collodi's book The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio). Both are depicted as con-men, who lead Pinocchio astray and unsuccessfully attempt to murder him.[1][2] The pair pretend to sport disabilities; the Fox lameness and the Cat blindness. The Fox is depicted as the more intelligent of the two, with the Cat usually limiting itself to repeating the Fox's words.

Role in the book

Pinocchio encounters the two after leaving Mangiafuoco's theatre with five gold coins, whereupon the Fox claims to know Pinocchio's father Mister Geppetto and proposes to Pinocchio to visit the Land of Barn Owls (Paese dei Barbagianni) and thence to a 'Field of Miracles' (Il campo dei Miracoli), where coins can be grown into a money-producing tree. A white blackbird warns Pinocchio against these lies, but is eaten by the Cat. The Fox covered up this action by claiming that the blackbird talks too much. The pair lead Pinocchio to the Red Prawn Inn (Osteria del Gambero Rosso), where they eat a large meal and ask to be awoken at midnight.

Two hours before the set time, the pair abandon Pinocchio to pay for the meal with one of his coins and has the innkeeper leave a message for Pinocchio that the Cat's eldest kitten had fallen ill, and that they would meet Pinocchio at the Field of Miracles later. When Pinocchio leaves the inn, the two attack him in disguise of murderers, and in the ensuing struggle, Pinocchio bites off the Cat's paw. The murderers then hang Pinocchio from a tree, which he escapes with the assistance of The Fairy with Turquoise Hair who enlisted a falcon to cut him down.

The next day, Pinocchio encounters the pair again, unaware that they are the murderers that hung him, and the Fox claims that the Cat lost a paw to feed a starving wolf. They lead Pinocchio to the town of Catchfools (Acchiappa Citrulli), where the coins are soon buried. In Pinocchio's absence, the pair dig up the coins and escape. Pinocchio learned of this from a parrot who mocked him for falling for their tricks.

Near the end of the book, Pinocchio encounters the Fox and the Cat again when looking for a place for Geppetto to recuperate. This time, the pair have become impoverished, whereas the Fox is now truly lame, nearly hairless, and tailless (the Fox had to chop off his own tail to sell for money), and the Cat truly blind. They plead for food or money, but are rebuffed by Pinocchio while stating that it serves them right for their wickedness. He then leaves saying goodbye to his "false friends."

In Disney media

Foulfellow and Gideon, as portrayed in the Disney film Pinocchio

In the 1940 Disney film Pinocchio, the Fox and the Cat are given the names John Worthington Foulfellow or "Honest John" (voiced by Walter Catlett) and Gideon (whose three hiccups were provided by Mel Blanc).[3][4][5][6][7][8] The pair differ from their original counterparts in a number of ways; they do not feign disability, and it is they who persuade Pinocchio to join Stromboli's puppet show and coax him to go to Pleasure Island, upon being hired by the Coachman.[9] Apart from his three hiccups, Gideon is mute. Though portrayed as scoundrels, they never go as far as attempting to murder Pinocchio, although Honest John suggests strongly to the Coachman that they will if that's the proposed hob. The subplot of the Field of Miracles is absent. The villains' ultimate fate is that they are arrested by the police when they encounter Pinocchio a third time in some way, but the scene in which this occurred ended up being deleted from the final draft of the film. Foulfellow is portrayed as a bombastic ham actor whereas Gideon's mannerisms resemble Harpo Marx of the marx brothers It was considered to use them again in the 1947 Disney film Fun and Fancy Free as the owners of the Magic Beans Mickey Mouse acquires in exchange for his cow, but the idea was dropped.[10]

The duo were set to make an appearance in the 2009 RPG video game Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days but were cut for space restrictions.

In the Disney book Pinocchio's Promise, Foulfellow and Gideon see Pinocchio walking into town to give a cuckoo clock to Gepetto's friend Mrs. Ramono whereupon he is diverted to a circus. Foulfellow attempts to sell the clock elsewhere while Gideon takes Pinocchio to the circus with two expired tickets, but abandons the boy when the latter is scolded by the admission attendant. Pinocchio reports Foulfellow's trickery to the local police. Foulfellow and Gideon are arrested by the police and Pinocchio gives the clock to Mrs. Ramono.

In a Disney book adaption of the tale The Emperor's New Clothes, the two, posing as tailors, trick the emperor (portrayed in the same book by Prince John).

In other media

Il Gatto e la Volpe, as portrayed in Giuliano Cencis Un burattino di nome Pinocchio


Often the Field of the miracles has been mistaken with the poetic phrase Square of the miracles that is used since the second half of the 20th century to describe the Piazza del Duomo of Pisa. The monuments of the famous square had been called miracles by Gabriele D'Annunzio in his book Forse che sì, forse che no (1910). Several famous squares in Italy being called campo and the story of Pinocchio being widespread in the World, many people, in and outside Italy, tend to confuse the two.


  1. Roberts, Hannah (2013-11-12). "Villa that inspired Pinocchio goes for sale for £9m". Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  2. Rich, Nathaniel (2011-10-24). "Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio: Why is the original Pinocchio subjected to such sadistic treatment?". Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  3. "Animated Films - Virgin Film - James Clarke". 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  4. "The Disney Fetish - Seán J. Harrington". Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  5. "Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television ... - Jeff Lenburg". Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  6. "Multiculturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment - Douglas Brode". 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  7. "Functions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Thirteenth ... - Joseph L. Sanders". Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  8. "Disney Theatrical Animated Features - Edited by Paul Muljadi". Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  9. "Handsome Heroes and Vile Villains: Masculinity in Disney's Feature Films - Amy M. Davis -". 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  10. "The story behind Fun and Fancy Free", Disney VHS, 1997


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