The internet’s obsession for cat videos, which science says can make you happy, has led to a full-blown parody of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers starring real-life felines in spandex. Yes, it’s cute and “adorbs” as the kids would say. But maybe the least surprising thing about the so-called Meower Rangers is that, in the show’s 20-plus year history, cats becoming Power Rangers isn’t unprecedented.
If you can power through the 1:25 video, and God bless if you can, you’ll see a squad of tabbies taking orders from an intergalactic goldfish caught in a time warp. But it’s not the first time cats became heroes. In Season 3 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the two-part episode “A Ranger Catastrophe” features Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) and Aisha (Karan Ashley) finding a stray Russian white cat which they then take in. That’s a huge mistake, because the cat is actually a human named (fittingly) Kat (Catherine Sutherland), using shapeshifting powers to spy on behalf of Rita Repulsa.
A foreign exchange student from Australia, Kat was kidnapped and brainwashed by Rita as her new minion. But after a few fights with the Power Rangers — including one instance where Kat took on a grotesque “cat monster” form — Kat breaks free of the spell to help the Rangers win the day.
A few episodes later, in “A Different Shade of Pink,” Kat succeeds Kim as the new Pink Ranger when Kim chooses to retire from superhero life and pursue her dream as an Olympic gymnast. (Behind the scenes, actress Amy Jo Johnson was ready to move on. Shortly after, Johnson landed a principal role in the young adult drama Felicity.) Kat stayed a Pink Ranger until 1997’s Power Rangers Turbo.
In 2005’s Power Rangers SPD — set in the future year of 2025 — Dr. Kat Manx (Michelle Langstone) is an alien whose species shares traits with cats. She leads R&D for Space Patrol Delta, the governing body that polices alien criminal activity across the galaxy. In the episode “Katastrophe,” things went south enough that it forced Kat to step up as a superhero, transforming into the Kat Ranger.
It was a temporary form — there was only enough power for one hour — but her appearance remains pretty notable as one of the most unique Power Rangers in history. (If her design resembles more of a swan to you, it’s because the character was actually an alien swan in the original Japanese series.)
Other Rangers in history have used cats or cat-like creatures as personas: the original White Ranger was based off a white tiger, the Red and White Rangers from 2002’s Power Rangers Wild Force were also based on lions and tigers. The star trio from 2008’s Power Rangers Jungle Fury had personas based on jungle cats like cheetahs and jaguars. Meow!
Check out Meower Rangers below, from the official Power Rangers YouTube page.