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Catster Presents: The Cats of "Orange Is the New Black"

Behold: our completely catty guide to the new Netflix female prison drama.

 |  Sep 17th 2013  |   17 Contributions


Editor's Note: Check out the earlier installments of our Photoshop series: The Dogs of Breaking Bad, The Dogs of Downton AbbeyThe Dogs of Mad Men, The Dogs of Girls, and The Dogs of Game of Thrones

"All inmates in D dorm must be checked for lice!" So hollers an early announcement in comedy-drama Orange Is the New Black, a series that rounds up a bunch of felonious females and sets them down inside a prison. Catty quips and mischievous behavior ensues.

At times the first season of the show, which is available to stream in marathon viewing fashion on Netflix, wonderfully begins to resemble a camera filming a coterie of cats running amok inside a giant bare-bones playground of a facility. Feline logic then obviously dictates that we needed to put together a highly sophisticated analysis of the main cast characters, which re-envisions them in cat form. Consider it your essential viewing guide. (Note: May contain plot spoilers and terrible jokes.)

1. Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling): American Shorthair

Lead character Piper Chapman is the all-American girl from Connecticut who goes off the rails, gets embroiled with a lesbian drug-money smuggling scheme and ends up licking her wounds in the rough and tumble of the Litchfield women's prison emporium. Yup, she's your archetypal domestic shorthair. Her brother may quip, "My sister's a complicated cat, Perfect Piper," but while she possess an undoubted everyday cuteness, it's tainted by a side of her that's far more plain and common that her breeding would like to think. Cat sound!

2. Alex Vause (Laura Prepon): British Shorthair

Responsible for luring Piper into an illicit world, her ex-girlfriend Alex Vause grew up on the poorer side of the tracks and counts an aging has-been rockstar as a father. So let's cast her as vintage British Shorthair material. She's proud of her independent streak and seems to be an agenda-driven creature. We also like to think she taunted Piper by screeching through renditions of Brit Pop records as the fabric of their relationship began to unravel like so much yarn.

3. Galina "Red" Reznikov (Kate Mulgrew): Russian Blue

Kitchen madam Red holds the keys to the prison's gravy locker and earned her pet name for her strikingly dyed hair. But we're going to plump for nationality over fur and render Red as a Russian Blue as we honor a pre-prison shenanigan that saw her swatting out at the surgically-enhanced region of a snooty Russian society lady -- an impulse which kickstarted her descent into prison.

True to hercat breed, Red stays close to her immediate adopted family but is wary around strangers. Also, a crazed look takes over her face at the mention of a fresh chicken running wild in the yard.

4. Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne): Wild Norwegian Forest Cat

Nichols is defined by her raggedy plume of hair -- so we're going to draw a parallel with the Norwegian Forest cat and its glorious mane of fur. Something of a wild child, she has dabbled in catnip and is now under the watch of Red. In deference to her untamed ways, she's the real deal wild cat of the bunch. Grooming is just not for everyone.

5. Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren (Uzo Aduba): Bombay

Nicknamed Crazy Eyes, Suzanne is cut from the mold of the Bombay breed. She's a metaphorical black cat of the prison who no one wants to ever adopt -- including Piper, whom she becomes somewhat infatuated with. Just like the Bombay, she also possesses some very distinctive and utterly unsettling eyes. Pees on the floor for good measure, too.

6. Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs): Maine Coon

Piper's boyfriend is an aspiring writer who affects an easy-going manner to the whole girlfriend-in-prison shebang. This relaxed and laid-back demeanor makes him a fine fit for a Maine Coon -- although due to his calm and placid side we also suspect there's more than a little Ragdoll sub-breeding bubbling away in his heritage. 

7. Miss Claudette (Michelle Hurst): Scottish Fold

Grizzled, dignified, and obsessed with keeping the floor of her personal space spotless, old lady inmate Claudette is Scottish Fold material. Also looks uncannily like one.

8. Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox): Siamese

Getting embroiled in a credit card scam may have sent Sophia Burset up state, but inside the prison's dour doors she beautifies her inmate pals by running an impromptu grooming parlor. With her mellifluous voice we're gonna cast her as a talkative Siamese. Handily, it's also a breed well-suited to being an indoor cat, which, you know, is kinda important when it comes to surviving the walled-in toils of Litchfield life.

[Editor's Note: The author had initially cast Sophia as a Pekingese, but after considering the feedback we'd been getting about this choice, we've decided to recast her as a Siamese.]

9. Lorna Morello (Yael Stone): Pixie Bob

Sassy and sweet, Lorna is besotted with her upcoming wedding and early on bombards Piper with talk about which dress she should sport on the big day. She also halts a steamy in-prison relationship with Natasha in preparation of her upcoming nuptials. So, we'll imbue her with the traits of a family focussed Pixie Bob. It's a breed which is also said to travel well in a car -- and handily Lorna helps out by driving new inmates into the prison grounds. We're not exactly talking a maximum security cat carrier here.

10. Gina (Abigail Savage): Munchkin

Diminutive and more than a little weasily looking, we're going to cast Red's go-to helper in the kitchen as a miniature Munchkin cat. She's also fond of sporting a cap for food hygiene reasons -- and who wouldn't want to see a dinky kitty clad in a tiny hat?

11. Carrie "Big Boo" Black (Lea DeLaria): Japanese Bobtail

A fixture of the prison scene, Carrie befriends a service dog. So sticking to the impeccable logic that runs throughout Orange Is the New Black, she must be in the lineage of the Japanese Bobtail -- a cat that is fond of retrieving toys in the fashion of the dim-witted canine. We're also gonna equate Carrie's bluntly-cut hair-do with the Japanese Bobtail's stumpy tail.

12. Sam Healy (Michael J. Harney): Scottish Fold

One of the prison's correctional officers, Sam attempts to persuade Piper that he in some way understands the grave plight of the American Shorthair in captivity. His surface intentions are sweet if misguided. Has a strange smoosh face.

13. Daya and Aleida Diaz (Dascha Polanco and Elizabeth Rodriguez): Burmese

The Diaz dynasty is one that apparently prospers in prison, as this mother and daughter team find themselves locked up in the same facility. Let's label 'em as a pair of Burmese, a breed with well-fortified familial connections. Pepping up the drama quotient, Daya and Aleida aren't exactly on the best of terms and many a catty comment arises. A shared litter box will do that to a captive cat.

What would you change? Who did we miss? (Yes, we know we missed a lot!) Let us have it in the comments!

See more photoshopped wackiness over at Dogster:

All photo illustrations and magic courtesy of the always awesome Audrey Fukuman. 

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