Thomas "Tom" Cat is a fictional character and half of the academy-award winning Tom and Jerry cartoon cat-and-mouse duo. Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Tom is a blue/grey anthropomorphic cat who first appeared in the 1940 animated short Puss Gets the Boot. Tom was originally known as "Jasper" during his debut in that short, however, beginning from his next appearance in The Midnight Snack and onwards, he is known as "Tom" or "Thomas"
His full name "Tom Cat" is based on "tomcat", a phrase which refers to male cats. He is very rarely heard speaking with the exception of a few cartoons (such as Tom & Jerry Tales' League of Cats) and "Tom and Jerry: The Movie". His only notable vocal sounds outside of this are his various screams whenever he is subject to pain or panic. He is continuously after Jerry Mouse, for whom he sets traps, many of which backfire and cause damage to him rather than Jerry. Tom rarely sets out to eat Jerry, only to hurt or compete with him, going to great lengths in order to torment Jerry. However, Tom is shown to get along with Jerry at times.
Tom has changed remarkably over the years, especially after the first episodes. For example, in his debut, he was quadrupedal and had normal cat intelligence. However, over the years (since the episode Dog Trouble), he has become almost completely bipedal and has human intelligence. As a slapstick cartoon character, Tom has a superhuman level of elasticity. When acting as Jerry's antagonist, Tom is usually defeated in the end, although there are some stories where he outwits and defeats Jerry.
Tom and Jerry appeared together in the 1945 Technicolor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical Anchors Aweigh where Tom briefly appears as a butler for Jerry, the latter who has a dance sequence with Gene Kelly, and also in another musical with the same studio Dangerous When Wet (1953),where, in a dream sequence, main character Katie Higgins (Esther Williams) does an underwater ballet with Tom and Jerry, as well as animated depictions of the different people in her life.