Did Salem The Cat In Sabrina The Teenage Witch Look Familiar To You? This Is Why

An ICON of the nineties.
Paramount Pictures

If you grew up in the 90′s and loved Sabrina the Teenage Witch, there’s no doubt that in your mind, Salem was an icon. Salem Saberhagen was a warlock trapped in the body of a cat and throughout the show, he was Sabrina’s familiar.

A familiar, in case you weren’t familiar (sorry), in Western demonology, is: “a witch’s attendant, given to her by the devil or inherited from another witch. The familiar was a low-ranking demon that assumed any animal shape, such as a toad, dog, insect, or black cat.”

Sassy, hilarious, and always on-hand to offer his thoughts to Sabrina and her aunties, he was the real gel that held the nostalgic show together.

Even now, Salem is frequently used in memes across social media platforms and I can wholeheartedly say that there is a Salem meme for every day, emotion, occasion.

However, if you really were a ’90s kid with a soft spot for all things witchy, you may have actually seen this animatronic legend before Sabrina the Teenage Witch started airing.

Where the animatronic cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch appeared first

Before the starring role in the hit Nickelodeon series, this animatronic cat was actually first featured in 1993′s Hocus Pocus where it was used for the role of the brave little cat, Thackery Binx.

In Hocus Pocus, the Sanderson Sisters took over the city of Salem with their witchcraft and machinations but were eventually defeated by characters Max, Dani and Alison as well as, of course, Thackery Binx.

Much like Salem, Thackery was also historically transformed into a cat and without his guidance and knowledge of witchcraft, the sisters may have been successful in their widespread chaos.


Then in a move of sheer resourcefulness, he was used for the Sabrina series.

Thackery Binx
Thackery Binx
Walt Disney Studios

How Salem was created in Sabrina The Teenage Witch

According to ScreenRant: “To give life to the sardonic Salem, Sabrina the Teenage Witch used multiple animatronic puppets, built of foam rubber and rabbit fur.

“The two main animatronic cats were operated by multiple puppeteers, both stationed on set hidden behind sofas or tables to manoeuvre Salem, or off the set for those who controlled the mouth, ear, and tail movements of the warlock-turned-cat.”

As for when you could see Salem moving around their home? That was real, trained cats going about their business as animal actors.


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