Which would you rather have, the crouton or the entire Caesar salad? Of course, we're going to eat the mice, but only after we have exploited their labors. We are nice to the mice because it is intelligent to be so. See, if we talk sweetly, they will come in droves. If we hiss, they will run and we will have to chase after them, an unnecessary expenditure of calories.
~ Cat R. Waul
Cat R. Waul is the main antagonist of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, the first sequel to the classic An American Tail and the TV series based on the film Fievel's American Tails. He is the leader of the Cactus Cat Gang and Fievel's second arch-nemesis.
Waul is a sinister, stingy, sly, cocky, manipulative but ingenious feline criminal, who pretended to be the champion of a "brave new world" where cats and mice would peacefully coexist in harmony while actually secretly plotting to turn all of the mice of Green River into "mouse burgers" once they had outlived their usefulness to him in building a town in the Old West, and a giant mousetrap that he intended for killing them all. Like the villainous Warren T. Rat before him, Waul was defeated by an older Fievel, who teamed up with his old friend, Tiger, and the reluctant former Sheriff Wily Burp in order to stop his wicked plan, and drive Waul and his band of outlaws out of town for good.
Waul is a polite, classy, cultured and persuasive gentleman by nature, yet underneath his civilized exterior lay a bellicose streak and the natural predatory instincts of a feline. He has a way with words and refrained from bellicoseness (unless it was in his favor), but would deal with any threats to his plans with ruthless efficiency. He held the law in little regard and saw himself as superior to almost everyone, making him rather snooty as a result. He also has an extreme dislike of humans, especially those who treat him as a pet, such as his buxom owner.
Waul also has a softer side to his nature, however, as he was genuinely fascinated with Tanya and her singing voice to the point of putting her on stage, despite the initial hostility of the other patrons over having a mouse performing. He also planned to spare Tanya the fate of the other mice.
Waul was served by a number of feline thugs who lacked his "level of sophistication", yet helped him in their own ways, such as when he ordered them to attack the mice sector of New York in order to drive the mice underground and (via the use of a puppet) trick them into buying tickets out West to a "safer world". He also had a henchman in the form of T.R. Chula, the tarantula, who had a sadistic streak even for a spider.
Waul's genius was shown in the way he designed a giant mouse-trap with the intent of gathering all the mice who had helped build the town onto it in the guise of a stage only to kill them; however, Fievel, Wylie Burp and Tiger showed up and foiled his evil plan. In the resulting battle, Cat R. Waul and his entire gang were catapulted (literally) out of the town via this mouse-trap device. Unfortunately, Waul is instantly spotted by a heavy-set, cat-fancying woman on a train (presumably his owner), who immediately grabs him and puts a bow on him promising to take care of him "for ever, and ever and ever!".
Fievel's American Tails
After his defeat, Waul returns as the main antagonist in the animated series, Fievel's American Tails, which was a short-lived series based on the film. In the show, he is often scheming more ways to trick the mice of Green River into being eaten, but perhaps because most of his minions save Chula left him after his defeat, he is easily foiled. He actually comes very close to devouring the entire Mousekewitz family at the end of the episode "Little Mouse on the Prairie", only to be stopped by Sweet William's gang beating him up over being cheated in a gambling game.
Cat R. Waul bears a slight resemblance to Honest John from Disney's Pinocchio.
As of the TV series, Waul is the franchise's most recurring villain to date.
Strangely, in the movie, Waul has green eyes. However, in the TV series, he has blue eyes.
Cat R. Waul is John Cleese's first voice-acting role.
Though Cat R. Waul is a villain, he does share some compassion towards others, especially towards Tanya for her singing voice. He even spared her life when he planned to kill all the mice with a giant mousetrap. Thus, this makes Cat R. Waul one of the least evil antagonists in the American Tail film series, alongside Madame Mousey. Despite this, Waul would have killed Tanya's family right in front of her with the giant mousetrap, if it weren't for Fievel, Wylie Burp, and Tiger, making him a bad person nonetheless.
Cat R. Waul name is a pun on "caterwaul", a wailing noise cats make that is considered to be their way of "singing".