Fraidy Cat is a 1942 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 4th Tom and Jerry short, produced by Fred Quimby and directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. It was released in theaters on January 17, 1942 and re-issued in 1952 for re-release. This cartoon was re-issued once again in 2014 alongside The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to pair up with the re-release of Monster House. This is the first Tom and Jerry cartoon to have Tom yelp in pain, although he also screeches like a cat in this cartoon. It was the first Tom and Jerry wartime cartoon.
The cartoon begins with Tom listening to the radio, and being frightened by the horror story being told. Halfway into the story, the dramatics (hair standing on end, icy chills on spine, heart leaping into throat) begin happening to Tom. At the particularly grim conclusion, Tom runs away and hides in a flowerpot as an evil scream is uttered. Upon hearing the voice say "And that, my dear children, concludes this evening's Witching Hour", (voiced by Martha Wentworth) Tom sighs with relief, and is asked the question, "And you do believe in ghosts...don't you?" Gulping, Tom nods as if to say, "Yes, I do."
Jerry has been observing the whole thing and laughing to himself, and proceeds to pull down the curtain and release it. The flapping noise scares the cat, who hides only to discover the curtain, still rolling up; he sighs with relief for it is not a ghost. Jerry tiptoes away, and bursts a radiator water line under the cat, burning the cat's back and launching him into the air making him yelp in pain. Tom runs towards a closet, panting heavily as he holds onto the door. Behind him is a vacuum with a white nightshirt, which Jerry approaches and peeks at the cat from the vantage point. Seeing the cat still recovering from the shock, he activates the vacuum, which appears to be a ghost. Tom hears it, and without looking behind him, knows that this is something very terrifying. He makes panicked gestures towards the vacuum and faints, upon which Jerry turns off the vacuum, pleased. To wake up Tom, he squirts him with a jet of water from a bottle. Tom awakens with a start, spits the water out of his mouth, and shakes it out of his ears. Tom sighs with relief that the noise is gone. Once again, before Tom can recover, Jerry reactivates the vacuum and paces it towards Tom. The rug he is lying on gets sucked up, and Tom's tail is caught in the opening. Tom jumps out of the vacuum, running against the heavy gale as objects are sucked into the vacuum.
He manages to grab a hold of a telephone receiver, but lets go when he is rebuked by the operator, and ends up holding onto the lower stair pillar. All of Tom's nine lives are sucked out and form a chain of cats holding on to each other. Life 9 bites Tom's tail, causing his host to yelp with pain and speed off, freeing all the other lives. Life 1 smiles at the camera as he is freed. Tom runs around the corner and bumps his head on the wall, whereupon 8 of the lives rejoin him, and the ninth swings his arms before following. Tom instantly recovers and hears the vacuum again, tries to find somewhere to run, and sees a shocking scene: Jerry operating the ghost-vacuum. Jerry continues to flip the switch and invites Tom to laugh with him. It takes a few looks and a peek into the distance for the mouse to realize that the cat, instead of being scared, is standing behind him. Jerry gulps nervously after he notices this. He resignedly walks out, and then dashes behind the nightshirt and makes a neophyte attempt to scare Tom by making a ghostly noise and waving his arms. Tom's I-mean-business look finally catches on, and Jerry waves and narrowly escapes from the leap from Tom pouncing.
Jerry runs towards a piano and prepares another, similar scare for the cat, but (obviously) it fails to work. They chase across the piano keys, and Jerry draws back a round piece of furniture and it hits the cat in the face. Just then after being woken up by all the noise, Mammy Two Shoes walks into the room with a rolling pin and a similar nightshirt on thinking there is a burglar in the house. Jerry turns around and runs up a baking ladder, and then hides himself in a tub of flour. As Mammy slowly sneaks through the hall, Tom turns the corner and sees her posterior. Believing this to be Jerry and his vacuum again, Tom slithers across the floor and under the table, pounces on Mammy and bites her bottom, and this causes her to scream. Off-screen, Mammy yells at the cat and hits him several times with her rolling pin while Jerry pulls himself out of the tin of flour and waves at Tom. He soon runs into his own reflection on a vase, looking like a ghost. He in fright yelps and runs into his hole. At this time Jerry pokes his head out and makes a confused look at the camera as if asking, "Who was that?".
- Lillian Randolph as Mammy Two Shoes (original)
- Thea Vidale as Mammy Two Shoes (redubbed version)
- Clarence Nash and Bill Hanna as Tom/Jerry
Mammy's appearance at the end was ironically edited out on some broadcasts.
- DVD - Tom and Jerry Golden Collection, Disc 1, Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection, Volume 2, Disc 1
- VHS - Tom & Jerry's 50th Birthday Classics 2, The Iron Giant, bonus feature after end credits on some releases