Feline Friday: Jones (Alien)

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) poses with Jones the cat on the set of Aliens

Feline Friday is my chance to celebrate famous cats across the arts, whether their origins are in gaming, film, anime, literature or anywhere else.

If you have a request for a future feline, please let me know on Twitter.


First Appearance: Alien (1979)

Were you aware that 8 August is International Cat Day? I sure as heck wasn’t at first, and was only alerted as a byproduct of it also being the birthday for my beloved Sami and Ezi.

Alas, it may be too late for me to make a proper post to celebrate the event, but at the very least, I could mark the week with another purrfect entry of Feline Friday. As usual, I’ll force feed intersections in an effort to appear somewhat organised, noting that I most recently finished a playthrough of Alien: Isolation after two months of terror.

What do you get when you put those two irrelevant factoids together? Why, an article about Jones, of course.

Jonesy served as a kind of onboard mascot for the crew of the USCSS Nostromo, adding levity to the bleak loneliness that comes with drifting through the cosmos. In 1979’s sci-fi horror blockbuster, Alien, he serves as little more than an opportunity for some jump scares (I love cats, but they’re kinda dicks like that). The last human survivor, Ellen Ripley, does see fit to ensure he is rescued as she escapes the self-destructing ship.

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) holds Jones the cat in a promotional image for the film Alien
20th Century-Fox/The Walt Disney Company

After decades of cryostasis, the pair end up being awoken 57 years in the future to open the sequel, Aliens (1986). For Ripley, it’s a devastating revelation, as she must come to grips with the fact that she will never see her daughter again. For Jones, it’s fine, really, as he’s a cat.

Despite the connection the two have formed, Jones is left safely behind while Ripley sets off for LV-426, and is never seen or heard from again. We’re led to assume he lived out the remainder of his life in peace, or set off on untold adventures of his own.

As Ripley herself would perish following that ill-fated journey (as part of an even more ill-fated movie in Alien³), it stands to reason that Jones outlived all of his colleagues on the Nostromo. This is a pretty good claim to fame to make, though perhaps his greatest achievement would be his untainted record of only appearing in the good Alien movies.

As for the actors themselves, Jones was apparently played by various kitties in the first Alien flick, while a fella named Boris would take the role for Aliens. It was a much less intensive workload for him, highlighted by his cue to hiss on command — a task he was well equipped for as he was, allegedly, “horrible”.

Jones the cat looks weary in the film Aliens
20th Century-Fox/The Walt Disney Company

Though the tale of our tailed hero comes to an end here, Jones has had a curious extended shelf life through other media, including easter eggs, first-person retellings and, most delightfully, an illustrated book titled Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo.

He has proven to be a consistent fan favourite, with some going so far as to analyse Jonesy’s potential fate following his departure from Ripley’s side, or opine on his significance to the series’ narrative. Needless to say, there is also countless fan art, and yes, it is all amazing.

It just goes to show that it isn’t how long you’re on-screen that matters, it’s what you do with it. In some ways, Jones truly stole the show, alongside our hearts.

Happy first birthday, Sami and Ezi! And happy International Cat Day to all!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: