PERFORMER Kathryn Mullen
DEBUT 1980
DESIGN Michael Frith designer
  MaryAnn Harms builder

Gaffer is the bedraggled, one-eyed cat who was frequently seen hanging around backstage in the later seasons of The Muppet Show. The cat was introduced in episode 419. Performer Kathryn Mullen spoke of the character's creation in a 2013 interview: "Jim wanted a cat, and he said, “Give that to her, let her practice.” That was his way of making it easy for me to get really used to the monitor and following things and it was a little training exercise. It was very effective."[1]

Gaffer was occasionally embroiled in the on-stage antics as well, notably providing a distraction during Foo-Foo's dog act in episode 520 and playing the title role in "The Cat Came Back" sketch from episode 523. The feline was also one of the denizens of the Happiness Hotel in The Great Muppet Caper.

Gaffer made a rare appearance sans eyepatch in a Muppet Labs sketch in episode 422. Gaffer also appeared in the background in the Playhouse Video The Muppet Revue.

Gaffer also made a tiny appearance in Muppets Take Manhattan as a wedding guest in the Manhattan Melodies wedding scene.

In 1985, an illustration of a baby version of Gaffer was included as a vinyl Colorforms piece in the Muppet Babies Colorforms 3-D Play Set.

In 2004, the character was sculpted as a pack-in accessory for Palisades Toys' Pops Action Figure.


Gaffer's name was used in The Art of the Muppets, referred to as "Gaffer the Backstage Cat." However, a number of Muppet Show Fan Club newsletters referred to Gaffer simply as "Theater Cat."


Print appearances


  1. Tough Pigs interview with Kathy Mullen