From canvases, the first felines in film entered the new dynamic art form of silent movies to eventually share the screen with such stars as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Clara Bow, and Mary Pickford.
A Maltese cat named Pepper became the first feline film star. Born under a sound stage at Keystone Studios in 1912, Pepper was discovered by Mack Sennett who introduced her to the silver screen in 1913 in “A Little Hero”.
In that film she was paired with her lifelong partner Teddy the Dog. Pepper appeared in 17 films throughout her career, and in one of her more demanding roles she played checkers with the comedian Ben Turpin.The cross eyed Turpin and Pepper appeared together in Are Waitresses Safe? (1917), Whose Little Wife are You (1918), When Love is Blind (1919), Trying to Get Along (1919), The Dentist (1919) and The Quack Doctor (1920).The cat also frequently appeared with Marie Prevost in His Hidden Purpose (1918), Never Too Old (1919), When Love is Blind (1919), and The Dentist (1919).
Sennett thought highly of Pepper insuring her for a record $5,000.00. Pepper remained at the studio for 16 years until her death in 1928.