fbpx Skip to Content

Cats Ate Her Face — TV Chuckles to Frightening Feline Facts

Cats Ate Her Face — TV Chuckles to Frightening Feline Facts

Sharing is caring!

Have you ever been in a conversation with friends and someone drops a sentence so odd and jarring that it makes everyone laugh? 

How would your friend group react if someone blurted out the phrase “cats ate her face”?

It’s weird; it doesn’t make sense. Your other friends laugh and reminisce, but you have no idea what they’re talking about. What does that even mean?


What is the meaning of “Cats ate her face”

“Cats ate her face” is an expression from the early 2000’s sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.” This expression was used to describe the circumstances surrounding another character’s death in the show. In the context of the episode, the phrase insinuates that cats ate a woman’s face and caused her to die. 

Of course, the expression “cats ate her face” does not mean anything outside of the context of Malcolm in the Middle. 

If you were to randomly say this phrase to someone in a pub or a bar who somehow missed that episode… (gasp!) Let’s just say it wouldn’t make for the best conversation starter.

Be that as it may, the language and internet lingo of the 21st century is constantly evolving and is becoming a slurry of inside jokes and widespread memes. 

There are plenty of very cool and well-informed people who would get a good chuckle out of the phrase because they recognize where it is from.


The origin of the phrase “Cats ate her face”

“Cats ate her face” was a line spoken by the loveable and slightly manipulative character Dewey Wilkerson in the show Malcolm in the Middle.

The episode in question was season 1, episode 11 titled “Funeral”.

During the scene, Dewey is on the phone with his brother Francis. Francis learns of their Aunt Helen’s death and is asking how she died. 

Dewey simply responds “cats ate her face”, before doubling down and repeating the same answer when asked for further clarification. 

After Francis becomes exasperated and insists their father be put on the phone instead of Dewey, he asks his father how Aunt Helen died.

His father responds with a brief and comedically timed “cats ate her face.” 


Did cats actually eat Aunt Helen’s face in “Malcolm and the Middle”?

Funnily enough, the series never clarifies whether or not cats actually ate Aunt Helen’s face. It can be assumed that no, as funny as it may have been, cats did not in fact cause Aunt Helen’s demise. 

Dewey is a mastermind when it comes to tricking people, scheming, and generally being an adorable nuisance.

Even his father states “Well, here, Dewey knows more about it than I do” after Francis is shocked at the idea that cats killed his Aunt. 

This clearly insinuates that the lie was started by Dewey and that the cause of death was something else entirely.  If you want to form your own opinion though (or just for a laugh) you can check out the episode script yourself! 

This brings us to our next slightly macabre question, is this a thing that could actually happen?


Do cats actually eat people?

Have you ever thought about what Mr. Whiskers would do if you kicked the bucket at home without feeding him? 

Unfortunately, you may be disappointed to find out that yes, cats do in fact eat people when there isn’t other food around for them. 

In a scientific study done by Sara Garcia et.al,  a cat broke into a facility where dead bodies were kept. The cats ate their fill of the corpses multiple times to the point where fences and barriers needed to be put up to keep them out (yikes!). 

This isn’t something anybody wants to have to consider later in life, but it does make for some morbid ‘what ifs’. 

Cats ate her face


“Cats ate her face” as a popular meme

Long story short: “cats ate her face” is a popular expression because it’s from a very funny and memorable scene in Malcolm and the Middle. It got such a laugh out of people that it continues to be repeated by fans to this day.

Malcolm fans have made T-Shirts and stickers of the term, multiple GIFs of the scene on Discord and Reddit, and it is on IMDB’s popular quotes page for the episode. 

Don’t be too afraid to slip these types of pop-culture references into your conversations. Sometimes, you find that you have something in common with others by doing so!

Just don’t overdo the references- they can be off-putting to people who have no clue what you’re talking about!

Side-note: As of August 10, 2023 the top result on Google has the phrase ‘cats ate her face’ credited to a band called Toxic C***. This is an error, as the song by this band is actually called “Cats Hate Her Face”.