Life with Feathers is a 1945 Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng and produced and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film. This cartoon marks the first appearance of the then-unnamed cat Sylvester.
The title is a play on the longest-running non-musical play on Broadway, Life with Father (the title being the only connection between the two works). Warner Bros. would produce a film version in 1947.
The title is a pun on the 1939 play and 1935 book Life with Father.
A lovebird is depressed because his wife no longer loves him, so he decides to commit suicide. He finally settles on getting eaten by a cat. The bird happens on a hungry Sylvester and calls him over with a whistle. Excited, the cat runs to the bird, only to stop when he finds the bird wants to be eaten. Sylvester, thinking the bird is poisoned, refuses. Determined, the bird tries to sneak (and even force) himself into the cat’s mouth, but to no avail.
Finally, the bird tunes into food commercials on the radio to increase Sylvester’s appetite. The cat decides he “might as well die” eating the bird. As the feline is about to have a meal at last, a telegram arrives for the bird. It reads that that relations between him and his wife are going to be just fine. Unfortunately, the cat hasn’t changed his mind and pursues the bird off a balcony.
The bird, overjoyed, returns home and reveals to the audience that his wife has returned to her mother. A dish is thrown from across the room. The camera pans to reveal that it was from the wife, who changed her mind. The bird runs back outside and calls for Sylvester.
This was the final cartoon to have 1941-45 version of Merrily We Roll Along, also the final Merrie Melodies with the WB shield appearing before WARNER BROS. PICTURES INC., Present, the production code, and the copyright notice appear, in the pre-1948 era, or a non-Bugs Bunny cartoon. Some cartoons from 1949-51 would have this feature, but only for Bugs Bunny cartoons. The next cartoon Behind the Meat-Ball, would be the final non-Bugs Bunny cartoon to have the WB shield appear before WARNER BROS. PICTURES INC..
Life with Feathers was reissued in March 3, 1951 almost 6 years from its release date. Like most reissued Merrie Melodies at the time, the original closing sequence was kept. All MERRIE MELODIES originally released between 9/1/44-7/10/48 had their original closings kept, except for some of the Cinecolor ones.
In the 1995 Turner "dubbed version" (and presumably other TV prints), Sylvester has black fur (similar to his current appearance). The restored version on Blu-Ray/DVD shows that Sylvester originally had a lighter bluish-black fur.
On Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TNT, TBS, and The WB the part where the lovebird thinks of different ways to commit suicide after his wife has thrown him out is cut. However, airings of this cartoon on overseas Cartoon Network/Boomerang channels have this part uncut.