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Cat and Girl is a Web Comic started by Dorothy Gambrell in 1999, and has been updating at least once a week ever since, hitting a thousand strips on January 31, 2011. The comic centers around the titular pair, and it often serves as a vehicle for Girl's philosophical musings, with Cloudcuckoolander Cat making only vaguely related remarks in the background—in other words, it can be said to be the more erudite side of Calvin and Hobbes taken Up to Eleven. Aside from those two, recurring characters include the political activist Grrl (note the spelling difference, she serves as the active foil to Girl's more passive character), the Straight Man Boy, Vampire (formerly Beatnik Vampire) and Bad Decision Dinosaur, who is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
A lot of the strips openly criticize structures of politics, economics and education in the U.S., though much of its fanbase is of the highly-educated demographic being criticized in the strips, which contain frequent and obscure allusions to literature, film, art, music... and abundant subtle jokes and Continuity Porn. With such an audience, many of the comment sections below the strips can be often as entertaining as the strips themselves.
Also on the website is Donation Derby, in which Dorothy chronicles how she has spent donations from her readers.
Tropes found in Cat and Girl include:
- Art Evolution: Very noticeable across the years. Girl, most noticeably, becomes shorter and squatter, with her Antenna Hair reaching out to extreme lengths as of the present (2011). The font undergoes noticeable changes as well.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Cat, who eats paint, and Bad Decision Dinosaur.
- Continuity Porn: Dorothy positively thrives on this.
- Disco Dan: Grrl is occasionally like this when she waxes nostalgic for the early 90s—her very name is an allusion to riot grrrl music.
- Vampire, when he is still called Beatnik Vampire, also starts out as this, shaving his goatee (and later losing his Cool Shades) when passersby call him "Maynard G. Krebs" and say, "Big Bad Voodoo Daddy called, they want their hair back."
- Foil: Numerous examples that fluctuate in strength throughout the strip's run: Cat to Girl, Grrl to Girl, Boy to Girl and Grrl, Bad Decision Dinosaur to everyone.
- Hurricane of Puns: EXTREMELY frequent. A good example is found here.
- Keet: Cat, in a big way. This is his main way of being a Foil to Girl. "I'm running away to join the Basque!"
- My Nayme Is: Grrl. Lampshaded here.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Girl often comes off as this.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Cat. Sometimes he even interacts with actual cats. (That is, ones who don't talk.)
- Nostalgia Filter: Arguably the driving force of the entire comic, although it is almost always lampshaded.
- One-Two Punchline: It uses a fairly standard size format for its comics, but sometimes there will be an extra panel or two drawn in grey that adds a punchline.
- Opaque Lenses: Cat. His eyes have never been shown. Perhaps this is a Shout-Out to similar characters like Marcie from Peanuts and the fat kids from The Far Side, who also have opaque glasses.
- Paste Eater: Cat has been known to eat paint.
- Reference Overdosed: And how. A complete list of all the references in Cat and Girl would be encyclopedic.
- Soapbox Sadie: Grrl, though in a postmodern way.
- Shout-Out: In two of the earliest comics, here and here. In reference to two certain other comics with anthropomorphic felines.
- Straw Loser: Poor Boy is often set up this way, especially in a strip like this one which has him depicted as a more sociological Strawman Political.
- Who's on First?: Done here in a particular appeal to world history nerds.