Everything you need to know about Tooka and Loth-cats

Tooka. Image courtesy StarWars.com
Tooka. Image courtesy StarWars.com /

It’s International Cat Day!

Two things in this world I adore are Star Wars and cats. I named my kitty Zeb after my favorite character in Star Wars Rebels. Especially with recent entries, the franchise has no shortage of felines running around. There was the Nexu in the Colosseum battle in Episode II: Attack of the Clones and alien species like the Zygerrians and Togorians. In the last few years, though, one critter has captured the hearts of fans: the Tooka cat! As this is one of the few topics in Star Wars I can “Well actually” someone on, here’s a quick rundown about all things Tooka cats!

We’ll get to Loth-cats too!

The concept for Tookas has existed in the franchise since 1989, as they first appeared in the Legend role-playing game, Otherspace. It was the idea of having cats in Star Wars, and for this version, they were called ‘Adoris Feline.’ It would be Dave Filoni that would update this concept and bring the creatures onto the screen.

Inspired by his beloved deceased cat, Tuuk, the first iteration of the idea was the Tooka doll, a toy introduced in The Clone Wars season one episode “Innocents of Ryloth” as the Twi’lek girl, Numa, owned the toy.  Since then, the toys have made an appearance at some point in every major Lucasfilm animation project since. The most prominent Tooka doll is Lula in The Bad Batch, which belonged to Wrecker, who gave it to Omega. Tooka dolls are popular merchandise that can be bought at places like Galaxy’s Edge at Disney parks.

From there, Filoni would expand on the idea of the Tooka doll by making it a fully realized creature. In the season five episode of The Clone Wars, “To Catch a Jedi,” Tookas made their first on-screen appearance in a back alley hunting a poor little nuna. The critters have been a staple of the franchise ever since, appearing in everything from books, comics, animation, and they made their first live-action appearance in The Mandalorian.

So what is the difference between a Tooka and a Loth-cat? The answer is location, location, location! Loth-cats are a breed of Tooka specifically found on the planet of Lothal, which is the key. If the cat is from Lothal, it’s a Loth-cat; anywhere else in the galaxy, it’s a Tooka.

There hasn’t been an official explanation of the physical differences between Loth-cats and Tookas. From my observations, Loth-cats tend to have longer, spindlier legs than Tookas, but recent appearances with Tookas have had them matching their Lothal counterpart. Their legs were far more stumpy in their early The Clone Wars appearances, but the creators seem to be streamlining both designs.

Though, one notable difference is their fur color. Tookas come in just about every color of the rainbow, like vibrant purples, greens, yellows, and blue. Loth-cats are almost always earth tones like brown, tan, cream, and beige to blend in with the grasslands of their homeworld.

And that is a brief rundown of everything Tooka and Loth-cat. On this International Cat Day, hug your favorite feline and get ready for the appearance of the critters in the upcoming Ahsoka series.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Star Wars wouldn’t exist.