What’s the Restricted Cat?

In this interview about tattoos, I mentioned the ‘restricted cat’. I assumed that everybody knew about the restricted cat. Increasingly I suspected that it was a British Columbian phenomenon only. I went looking, and discovered this page on the BC Film Classification site. As it turns out, it was actually a cougar.

Developed in the 1970’s under the direction of BC Chief Censor R.W. (Ray) MacDonald, the restricted cougar was designed out of increased public demand for movie rating information. MacDonald seized upon the idea of using a symbol that audiences could easily associate with the “Restricted” category. MacDonald chose the cougar not only for its dramatic presence but also its significance as the largest wild cat native to BC.

There were even these cute little movies. Apparently the cougar fell out of fashion and was replaced by generic icons in 1997.


  1. I loved the cat, and didn’t know it was unique to BC. Assuming it was an international sympbol, I always thought it was a black panther. A cougar is much cooler. Hmmm, I must ponder ways to incorporate the BC black cat into my life …

  2. The B.C. Film Classification Board *says* it’s a cougar. Which doesn’t explain those old Restricted trailers of a black panther cub (actually, he was blue, but that’s as maybe) wandering through the jungle, as happy as can be. Then there’s some lightning, the panther cub freaks out and you get the Restricted logo.

    Cougar my Aunt Fanny!

  3. I first saw an old ad featuring the cat on Youtube, then saw it again on the big screen in Grindhouse where they showed it twice, each before “Death Proof” and “Planet Terror”. The first ad featured a montage of real cats playing around and a warning telling the viewers that this film is rated R (the ad that I saw on Youtube), and the second one is the jungle one mentioned in the above post (just search for restricted cat on the video section of Myspace).

  4. Oh my god… I just rented the two “Grindhouse” movies tonight, and the intros with the “restricted cougar” jarred my memory from over 30 years ago. I’m 37 now, and have lived my whole life in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, and I TOTALLY remember this symbol/mascot — though I hadn’t recollected or thought of this since as long as I can remember. It’s so weird when you recognize something from deep, deep in your past — so far back that you can’t even remember where you picked it up in the first place. I wonder how I managed to see it in St. Louis, if it was a Canadian phenomenon? I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone…

  5. Did they export the Restricted Cougar bumpers? I’ve heard more than a few people in the states say that they’ve seen it (well, besides Grindhouse).

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