Trying to find information on this cartoon, which aired during Nickelodeon's Special Delivery programming block in the 80s or possibly early 90s. The fact that it aired on Special Delivery makes me think that it was not part of a series, but either a feature or a pilot. The cartoon was about cat and dog kids going to school together in the city. They get into an argument about whether cats or dogs are better and have a competition to settle it. I think it may have been titled "the competition," "the contest," "the race," or something like that. The animation style, as best as I can remember, was similar to DIC cartoons like Heathcliff. (I don't know if DIC actually had anything to do with it.) The characters themselves were similar to the Tiny Toons in terms of their proportions.
I don't remember much of the opening to the cartoon... there was a song, but I don't think there were lyrics, just music. However, there was one part where the characters pop into view and go "Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!"
Story... The cartoon begins with the characters, four cats and four dogs, arriving at their school, which is actually inside a broken-down school bus. They are arguing and playing pranks on each other until their teacher arrives. The teacher is a large bird... I think a goose, or maybe an owl. After school, the kids begin arguing again about whether cats or dogs are better. They decide to have a competition to settle things. I don't remember exactly what the competition is, but I think it's a race or a scavenger hunt. Eventually, they are all racing to the top of a building, and two of the characters (one of the cats and one of the dogs) decide to try the elevator. They end up getting stuck, and all the kids have to work together to rescue them. After that, there was a second story that I don't remember as well. I think their teacher takes them on a field trip, and one of the cats falls through the ground and discovers something of historical significance.<br>
Characters... I remember more about the cats than the dogs. - A musically-inclined cat named Piccolo. (My favorite, and the only one who's name I remember.) He was brown and white with a stripey tail, and his voice sounded kind of like Marvin the Martian. He could play his tail like a guitar or violin. (I drew him, from memory, here: http://www.swiftsden.com/art/piccolo.png) - A gray cat that talked like a beatnik. - A mouthy girl cat who was the "leader" of the cats. - A fat, lazy cat who might have been named "Dozer," "Snoozer," "Doozer," or something like that. His voice sounded like he was always yawning. - The "leader" dog that I don't remember much about. I think he might have been a typical 80s "cool guy," but I might be getting him confused with Cooler of Pound Puppies. - A girl dog with a southern accent. - A fat bulldog obsessed with eating. He was the one to get stuck in the elevator, along with the lazy cat. - There was a fourth dog, but I don't remember anything about him.
So far, I have not been able to find any trace of information on the internet. The only possible mention is in this very forum, on a thread about Special Delivery in general: "I remember a cartoon about cats and dogs fighting... something like that? 'Cats are the Best...No, Dogs are the Best' That's alls I remember about that..." (http://www.retrojunk.com/community/post/index/5702#post87344) Would like to find out more about it, as I remember I liked it a lot when I was a kid. We did have it recorded on VHS at one point. I've searched and searched for the tape, but I assume it was thrown out or recorded over long ago. Would be a shame if it was lost forever.
swiftcutter - I absolutely remember this cartoon! It was called The Contest. I had a VHS of it too. To this day I'm surprised it never got picked up for syndication. The theme song was indeed instrumental, and I can still hum it (actually I’m a musician, so if you want a foggily-constructed version, I can probably play it on my keyboard...complete with dog and cat sounds).
I remember Piccolo, and I also remember Dozer. I also remember the leader dog's name being "Pervis," quite an unfortunate name and I’m hopefully misspelling it, but it stuck with me obviously. Another plot point I remember is that near the end, it’s revealed there's a counterfeit money operation being run by the villain in the cartoon (I can’t remember the villain, but it might have been a cat?)
I’ve never been able to find anything about it online, either. I’ve been looking for years. Well, let me know if you come across anything!
Yes! I was just trying to search this cartoon, but was starting to think I had imagined it. I'm fairly certain it was called "The Contest". The bossy girl cat's name was "Sasha". When you mention the other character's names, they sound very familiar, so I'm fairly certain you're right. The lead dog's name might have been "Fergus?". The cartoon itself was almost in an apocalyptic setting where no humans were in sight. I wish I could find out more about that cartoon, since it got me started on "drawing pictures" when I was 6. First time I saw it was @ 1986. We had a VHS tape of it at one time, but I have a feeling it was taped-over. Ugh.
Hey! I'm glad there are some other people who remember this cartoon. I was beginning to think I had imagined the whole thing, heheh. So now we have confirmation of the title, a possible year, and more details... nice. I've pored through some filmographies to try and find the production company or names of anyone involved, but no luck so far.
@ Zentradi: Of course, I would love to hear your rendition of the theme song!
@ Jutta: "Sasha" sounds right, yeah. Also, it's funny you mention the post-apocalypse thing. It never occurred to me as a kid, but thinking back on it now, I get the same vibe. Something about the rust-belt-looking city and no one other than the main characters around.