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When the fiancee is away, Tina Foster will play. Rowr.

The playful counterpart to the Cheshire Cat Grin, often used by The Ditz, the cute Kawaiiko, or a more normal character being playful or mischievous rather than manipulative or creepy. The Manga style is just more often played as cute or as crackful. They're different in that the Cat Smile rarely shows teeth (except Cute Little Fangs, if the character has them), while the Cheshire Cat Grin shows too many. Also known as "Colon Three Smile". That is, :3. There is also the "Lion Smile", also known as >:3.

The Cat Smile often overlaps with other Japanese Media Tropes and facial expressions, like Puppy Dog Eyes for pleading or that extra dose of being Sickeningly Sweet. Oddly, this is not usually the default expression for Cat Girls. It's fairly common to see Eyes Always Shut with a Cat Smile for characters who are more "passively" happy or a tad ditzy/confident in their shenanigans. Half lidded eyes bring the Cat Smile its closest to the Chesire Cat Grin.

Be warned, overuse of this trope may cause viewers to simply think the character is plain ol' hare lipped.

A subtrope of Manga Effects.

Examples of Cat Smile include:

Anime and Manga

  • A rare MALE example is Lupin The 3rd. When he's smiling without showing teeth, it's a playful, long lion smile. When he shows teeth, it's a Cheshire Cat Grin.
  • One of Haruko's expressions in FLCL.
  • This is the default expression of Konata, and her cousin Yui from Lucky Star. Combined with Konata's Eyes Always Shut, her expression is more like ¦3
  • Hyakko has newspaper photographer, Koma.
  • Botan from Yu Yu Hakusho would often make this face... in pretty much every occasion too.
  • Ryoko several times in the Tenchi Muyo! OVAs, most notably during the "crash landing" sequence at the beginning of the series.
  • Schrodinger would do several of these, given that he's a Cat Boy
  • Merle, a Catgirl from Vision of Escaflowne does one of these when she first sees Hitomi's pendant, and of course Merle attempts to steal it.
  • In the Trigun anime Vash does this when the fights are being played for laughs (reads, just the first few episodes).
    • Milly gets one near the start of the seventh episode while drunk and half-asleep, claiming to have an unusual physiology including "a separate stomach just for cake and ice cream!"
  • Genki Girl Kana in Minami-ke almost always has one of these.
  • During comedic moments Fai in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle often is wearing this expression, and considering that he's been identified as "kitty" on several occasions (once using it as his alias in a race) it makes perfect sense.
    • Note that "neko" is also slang for the bottom in gay relationships. Nope, no subtext here. None at all...
      • Well, it is a CLAMP manga, after all...
        • And he ends up taking in Kurogane's fluids... OK, the fluid is blood, and it is due to a special form of vampirism, but still subtext.
  • Tina Foster from Ai Yori Aoshi (pictured above) does this from time to time whenever she's feeling a little...frisky around Kaoru.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Kero's default expression. Unless he's mad.
  • Churuya, the Super-Deformed fan-character version of Tsuruya from Suzumiya Haruhi, has this as her only facial expression, nyoro~n.
  • Unsurprisingly, Train does this in his sillier moments in Black Cat.
  • Used almost constantly by Dark-Skinned Blond Mahya Blythe in Mai-Otome. Strangely, it's Akane who winds up in a Catgirl costume, and she never uses the Cat Smile.
  • This is the default expression of Magic Knight Rayearth's Mokona. If he/she/it isn't smiling like this, it's a sign something serious is about to occur (especially in the manga.)
  • This is how Ken Akamatsu draws Kuu Fei in Mahou Sensei Negima.
    • In her case, it's more signifying her naivete or complete lack of understanding.
    • Nagase Kaede as well, who also sports Eyes Always Shut as well
  • Lotte from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, typical for a genki catgirl. Image
  • Gunsmith Cats: Minnie-May Hopkins, whenever she's feeling sneaky and/or amorous.
  • In an episode of the Axis Powers Hetalia anime, England uses it in a slightly mean-spirited way towards America, laughing a little behind his hand.
  • Kirino Chiba from Bamboo Blade does this occasionally, when she's at her most cheerful and energetic.
  • Mika Inamori from Manabi Straight! has this as her only expression. Along with the way her ever-present ribbon looks, it may point to a certain design motif.
  • Default facial expression of Neco-Arc in Tsukihime. Arcueid pulls this off herself on occasion.
    • Surprisingly, Shiki manages this as well, in the manga. Although it's very subtle, to his credit.
  • Rosette from Chrono Crusade makes this expression occasionally.
    • And Shader, the Catgirl Demon has this expression almost constantly.
  • Strengthening her Catgirl image, Kana of Saki has a cat smile that rarely goes away.
  • Shinobu of Ninin ga Shinobuden spends about half an episode perpetually doing this while dressed as a Catgirl.
  • Fujimura Taiga (Tiger) does this a lot in Fate/stay night.
  • Togusa from Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human Error Processor. He expresses this to gloat his seniority and experience over his newbie partner Azuma, whose overconfidence ended up angering a woman they were transporting home.
    • The Fuchikoma occasionally sports one while being mischievous. An impressive achievement, considering it lacks a mouth.
    • Batou tends to have one whenever he's in a good mood, and even Aramaki, of all people, sports one now and then when he's really sticking it to a political opponent.
  • Koyuki from Keroro Gunsou wears this smile nearly as often as Konata does.
    • Tamama also does this too...that is, until something ticks him off.
  • Keiichi's sister Megumi in Ah! My Goddess maintains this as a default expression, though it's a subtle curve rather than a complete alteration of human anatomy.
  • Otaku Erika Karisawa from Durarara!! often sports one of these.
    • Kururi Orihara has one when she's looking for Kasuka from the TV broadcast.
  • When the animation in Fullmetal Alchemist is Super-Deformed, Alphonse's helmet can appear to have one of these.
  • This seems to be Furuya's default expression in Sankarea.
  • Kanda Yuusuke from Devil and Her Love Song :3
  • Edward has one in Cowboy Bebop when she looks up at Spike while telling him that Jet asked her to take care of his bonzai trees.
  • Ayumu Nishizawa sports one in episode 37 in the first season of Hayate the Combat Butler while gloating that she has a photo sticker with Hayate.
    • Hayate also gets one in episode 39.
  • It's practically the default smile for titular heroine, Index, from A Certain Magical Index. And she smiles a lot.
  • Rokuna from Mon Colle Knights.
  • Ryoga from Ranma ½ does this a couple of times in the episode where he's possessed by Maomolin the ghost cat.
  • Koko from Jormungand has this as a frequent expression.
  • Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica wears this expression at all times, even when something unspeakably horrible is going on.
  • In the horror manga Emerging, Mori surprises Onotera with a Cat Smile while he's raging about Japan's lack of preparedness for a major disease outbreak... he's even further surprised when she starts gushing over the possibility that she could get a chance to study a disease as rare and deadly as Ebola.
  • "Chimp" Sarutobi from My Bride Is a Mermaid has a constant cat, or in this case, chimp smile due to his admittedly ape-like appearance and behavior.
  • Pokémon episode "Ditto's Mysterious Mansion". Misty does this briefly while making a snarky comment.
  • Yui Hirasawa in the K-On! Omake.
  • Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon gives one to Luna in episode 31 when she playfully mocks the latter's words of wisdom from earlier at the start of the episode.
  • Alister Agrew in all incarnations of Last Exile, being much more playful and mischievous that it would be suggested by her outward appearance, constantly sports it when no one's looking.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - The Futami Twins do this sometimes.

Comic Books


  • It may not be too visible, but Maruti from The Return of Hanuman sports this smile briefly during his first meeting with Minku at a classroom.


Role Playing Games

Video Games

  • The Civilian's character portrait in Castle Crashers.
  • Etna from Disgaea is shown to have this face very often. It could also be said to be her default face.
  • There is a stuffed headcrab toy that has this expression.
    • Headcrabs don't even have faces!
  • Minato, of all people, gets one after Yukari tells him and Junpei not to look up her skirt during their monorail mission in the manga adaption of Persona 3.
  • NOVA, the comet from Kirby Super Star that grants wishes, has its mouth shaped like this.
    • This is also Chef Kawasaki's default expression. In Super Star Ultra (but not plain old Super Star), he has this smile in each one of his animations, even after you beat the mustard out of him.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Shizune is seen using this expression several times.
  • One of Satori's expressions, from Touhou Project
  • Mad Scientist Catgirl Kokonoe from BlazBlue, for obvious reasons.
  • Excellen. Browning. Especially in the Inspectors.
  • The Pokémon Maractus
  • Recette from Recettear displays a subtle one in the pause menu.
  • Monty Moles in Super Mario World, and some of the Podoboos in Yoshi's Island. Raocow has taken to calling the latter "Catoboos" as a result.
  • Porings and their kin from Ragnarok Online.
  • Chocolat of Solatorobo does it most often, despite being a Caninu (dog person). Elh also does one once or twice, though any Felineko is likely capable of it.
  • Shizune from Katawa Shoujo does this when she's feeling competitive.

Web Original

Web Animation

  • An original from Happy Harry Toons from Newgrounds called "Hot Na'vi Sex" features Neytiri sporting an excellent one of these towards the middle of the animation.


Western Animation

Real Life