Meowth (in Japanese: ニャース, Nyarth) is one of the main antagonists of the Pokémon franchise. He is one of the three members and mascot of the villainous Team Rocket. They even pilot a hot air balloon in his image. Meowth is notable among his own kind in that he is one of the few Pokémon that are capable of speech. As a whole, he is one the main antagonists of the franchise, a minor villain in the Pokemon movies, and the main antagonist of the Pikachu Shorts series. He is also the arch-nemesis of Ash's Pikachu. Meowth also hated his evolution form Persian for being Giovanni's beloved top cat.
In the English version, he was originally voiced by Nathan Price, then by the late Maddie Blaustein, and is currently voiced by James Carter Cathcart (otherwise known as Jimmy Zoppi), who also voices James. In the Japanese version, he was voiced by Inuko Inuyama.
Meowth is the brains of the Jessie/James/Meowth trio in the Pokémon anime. They have another Pokémon that is almost as important as Meowth: Wobbuffet.
When he was younger, Meowth lived on the streets in Hollywood after he came there in search of fame and fortune. He was a member of a gang of street Meowth that was led by a Persian. This gang annoyed the humans in town, stealing food and causing trouble in general. One day, Meowth came across a female Meowth named Meowzie. Since she rejected him and preferred the company of her rich human mistress, Meowth attempted to make himself stand out from other Meowth and become more human-like to make himself "worthy" of her. Thus, he painstakingly taught himself to speak human language and walk upright like a human. When he approached her after this transformation, she once again rejected him, calling him a freak. Heartbroken, Meowth remembered the first human word he learned to speak - "Rocket" - and was inspired to join Team Rocket.
In "Go West, Young Meowth", Meowth, Jessie, and James returned to Hollywood while following Ash and Meowth was reunited with Meowzie, who had since been abandoned by her mistress and was forced to join the gang of street Meowth. Meowth fought his former Persian leader to win Meowzie's love, and won, but Meowzie demonstrated that her loyalty was with Persian since he took care of her when she needed it, and Meowth was once again heartbroken.
Because of the effort Meowth exerted while learning to speak and walk like a human, he is unable to learn the signature move of his species, Pay Day. In "Meowth Rules", Meowth was worshiped by an island of people who believed that he could bring them riches with Pay Day. When he was caught in a battle meant to induce Pay Day, Jessie and James had to secretly bail him out by throwing the last of their spare change and some of James's prized bottlecaps in order to appease the islanders. Upon learning of his species' love for gathering coins and other shiny objects from Ash's Pokédex later in "Do I Hear a Ralts?", Jessie criticized him for not doing so.
In "Meowth's Scrafty Tactics", Ash and his friends find him seemingly injured. He then claims that he messed up one of Team Rocket's plans, and that he was fired by his boss Giovanni, and Jessie and James leave him. At this point, he had traveled with the gang for a while, even to the point where even Pikachu trusts him. However, in the episode "Crisis from the Underground Up", it's revealed that his claim that he was fired from Team Rocket was false, and that it was a diabolical plan that was orchestrated by Jessie James, Dr Zager, and himself to capture all of the gang's Pokemon. He then escapes on a jetpack along with his comrades when the plan fails.
Meowth is one of the original 151 Pokémon in the series. His Pokédex number is 52 which coincidentally is Pikachu's Pokedex number backwards.
In the games Meowth can evolve into a Persian when he reaches Level 28, however in the anime, he refused to as he hated his evolved form, mostly because his boss replaced him with one.
When Meowth and Team Rocket started their adventures in Unova, they began to have serious personalities which later caused huge controversies among many Pokémon fans. It is even notable that they don't have comedic roles anymore, focuses on missions instead of capturing random Pokémon that would "impress" Giovanni and when they blast off, they are seen wearing jetpacks retreating instead of blasting off in defeat. When the trio started their adventures in Kalos, they returned to their comedic personalities.
A lead suggestion to this is that rumors has it that the trio are the main reasons why Team Aqua, Team Magma and Team Galactic had minor roles in the anime, which could be the possible reason why Team Rocket was given a smaller, serious role in Best Wishes which was later given to Team Plasma.
Meowth is one of the only Pokémon who can speak in the Pokémon series, besides a Slowking from "The Power of One" and the Gastly from "The Ghost of Maiden's Peak". The other voices which came from other Pokémon are telepathic messages.
It is unknown if Meowth can use the attack Thunderbolt like other Meowths, particularly Tyson's Meowth whom he once had a rivalry with, but he can attack using his claws and used it sometimes.