Growltiger is a featured character in the musical Cats. He appears in the poem Growltiger's Last Stand. Growltiger's Last Stand is a pastiche of Music Hall dramas, as Gus is reminiscing about one of his favourite roles performing an old-fashioned melodrama.
Growltiger was a "bravo cat who lived upon a barge", one who scoured the Thames from Gravesend to Oxford, terrorizing the inhabitants along the river, including "cottagers", canaries, geese, hens, "pampered Pekinese", and the "bristly Bandicoot that lurks on foreign ships". Growltiger is usually envisioned as a pirate, although he is never explicitly described as such.
Growltiger is a caricature personality, highly passionate, swift to anger at the incompetence of his crew, desperately smitten by the beautiful Griddlebone, and terrified of the Siamese. He is a highly dramatic Operatic Tenor, battling with the Soprano for the spotlight.
|“||GUS/GROWLTIGER/BUSTOPHER JONES: Tenor. Range to B flat. Character role. Playing age: 30 - 45. Gus: an old and frail theatre cat. In his dream, Gus becomes Growltiger - a swashbuckling pirate. Bustopher Jones: a distinguished, aristocratic tomcat. Good living has made him round and plump.||”|
His character is only featured in the song "Growltiger's Last Stand", which describes how he meets his fate when he least expects it, while distracted by the beautiful Lady Griddlebone, his barge is over-run by Siamese pirates who force him to walk the plank.
Growltiger is a major singing role, requiring a strong operatic tenor voice.
He is portrayed as a shabby tabby with pirate-like attire. He is short an eye and had a "somewhat missing" ear. His costume is a patchwork of red, black and white stripes, with a trick eye patch (mesh in the middle to allow the actor some vision) which creates both his missing eye and ear, by the strap of the patch crushing one ear of his wig.
The London Palladium revival re-imagined Growltiger and his crew, rather than bright stage "pirate" costumes, they are instead dark, gritty Dickensian dock workers.