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The cat seems to have a very significant role in the movie the Silence of the Lambs which does not make a lot of sense to me as I have always seen this movie as a narrative about the role of woman in the society. Women in the movie seem to be guided by cats in the following scenes:

  1. The cat in the window (this one even gets a close-up) meows to Catherine Martin, a Buffalo Bills target, as she is about to fall into his trap.
  2. A cat is cleaning itself under a chair in Mr. Bimmels (father of Bills first victim Frederica Bimmel) kitchen.
  3. A cat statuette is found in front of the casket that reveals Frederica Bimmels nude photos.
  4. A cat meows and attracts the attention of Clarice to Fredericas workshop that makes her realize Bill is making a suit out of women.
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    For what it's worth, I heard an interview with Sir Anthony Hopkins about his Hannibal Lechter role. He said he based much of the body language and personality on a cat. – BrettFromLA Aug 24 '15 at 19:08
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    This is either crazy talk or very perceptive of you. I'll wait until some answers to judge. – Crow T Robot Aug 24 '15 at 19:10
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    It is more than likely unintentional, just like the symbolism of oranges in "The Godfather". – steelersquirrel Aug 24 '15 at 19:50
  • @steelerfan: I'd upvote that if you added it as an answer. – Andrew Martin Feb 11 '16 at 19:50
5

Buffalo Bill owns a dog, so the cat could be seen as the symbol of the victim. The dog as animal stands also for “man”, the cat for “woman”. The little white dog could refer to the transgender of Buffalo Bill. There are a lot of these symbolic animals in the movie. Starlings (the name of Clarice) eat moths (the symbolic animal of Buffalo Bill). All the butterflies in the background... And so on...

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