A rich financier and owner of a baseball team adopts a spirited cat that he names Rhubarb who embodies values that he admires. When he dies he leaves his estate to the cat and names his employee and friend Eric Yeager Rhubarb's guardian. Trouble ensues when Banner's daughter disputes his last will and the baseball team threatens to quit because they get ridiculed by rival teams for being owned by an animal.



Rhubarb, who is named thus by his future owner for the color of his pelt, lives on a golf course where he loves to collect golf balls that land at a certain hole close to his hideout in the bushes. This irritates the golfers to a degree that has one of them let loose his two dogs on the cat. After much noise and shaking of the bushes, indicating a fierce fight, the dogs turn tail and run, whining pityfully all the way. The whole thing is observed by T.J. Banner who comes there often just to watch the cat go about his deeds. This time he has brought along two people he's meeting with to discuss the crappy performance of his baseball team. He uses the cat as a symbol of what's lacking these days - too many yes-men and not enough spunk in the world - to point out what qualities he's missing in his team. He ends the meeting by telling his assistant and friend, Eric Yeager, that he has to have that cat.

  Some deep scratches, ruined suits, ripped spoon nets and an expensive high tech trap later, Yeager has succeeded in catching the cat. At home, Banner shows no concern opening the trap which the animal immediately seizes upon to make its escape into the chandelier. Attempts to restrain it result in damage to part of the furniture and interior decoration. Banner's daughter, Myra, at first is concerned for the cat's wellbeing when she comes looking for what caused the commotion. On being told the amount it had cost her father to catch one walking fleabag, she pronounces him nuts, however. Shortly thereafter, Banner manages to gain the cat's trust and he and Rhubarb have a couple of years ahead keeping each other company.

Banner has been on ill terms with his daughter for the longest time and when he dies he leaves his fortune and his baseball team to Rhubarb out of a general disgust for the human race and his daughter in particular. Knowing well enough that a cat cannot manage his estate he names Yeager Rhubarb's guardian. Yeager is reluctant, outraged even, to be saddled with the job but Myra breathing venom makes up his mind for him and he declares that he will see Banner's will executed.

Trouble arises again when the baseball team makes it known that it is not happy about being ridiculed and meowed at at the stadium and threatens to go on strike by feigning injuries and ill health or to quit. Yeager thinks it one less headache but Polly, his fiancee and daughter of the team's manager, convinces him to do something about it. Raging about those superstitious screwballs actually gives him an idea. He takes Rhubarb along with him to the next meeting of the team and sees who responds favorably to his talk about other teams and even political parties having an animal for a maskott. Those who pet the cat then suddenly recieve a cheque under the pretense that accounting made a mistake in their withholding the year before. Since it hadn't been turned over to Uncle Sam they now were lucky to get a little extra money. A very young Leonard Nimoy gets his moment in the limelight jumping up and demanding to know if the cat will be at the next game. All could be well if Yeager's fiancee hadn't developed a mean allergy against cats in the meantime.


From now on, when he wishes to be with Polly, Yeager has to de-cat first. Meaning he has to bath and put on fresh clothes that weren't exposed to Rhubarb in any way. Therefore, the evening he is supposed to get married,Rhubarb has to stay home. It is at the last moment, coming back for something, that he catches Myra going after the cat. The wedding is called off, and Myra is shown the door. From then on Yeager has to travel with the team because they absolutely refuse to play without their lucky charm present and he can't let Rhubarb out of his sight.

One evening, though, drunk and feeling like a prisoner he conspires with Polly over the phone to get married without telling anybody. Before they even get the ceremony started the team finds them just in the nick of time to get to the stadium. Myra, meanwhile, has come up with a new plan to get her hands at her fathers money. She brings Yeager and the cat in front of a court with accusations of Rhubarb being dead and switched for an imposter in hope that Yeager won't be able to prove that his cat is the rightful heir according to the statutes of the law. To prove their point the accusing party has found three cats identical to Rhubarb. Yeager, the staff at the house, and the baseball team indeed find it impossible to pick out the right one after their cages are switched around. (Leonard Nimoy is in this sequence, but he's hard to spot) Polly's allergy saves the day, though, since her doctor can prove that she has been tested allergic only to one specific cat and that her symptoms occurred before the day the original Rhubarb allegedly died. Her doctor comes up with even more good news since it is not Rhubarb himself she is allergic to but something that rubbs off on him.  

Danger lurks next when everybody starts betting on Brooklin, the team owned by Rhubarb, to win the World Series and the bookies start loosing serious money. They hatch a plan to abduct the cat. The police is looking for him and Polly sniffs her way around the city's legal and illegal betting shops. Rhubarb is found at last but gets lost again in a car chase. Now all of Brooklin is looking for him because their team plays New York and they are determined to show them. Miraculously Rhubarb finds his way into the stadium and makes a beeline for his customary booth. He knows a game was on because the bookie on duty to guard him was watching it on TV. To Rhubarb it meant that the woman always sitting right behind them who had started to bring her cat to the games would be there, also. All turns out well, Brooklin wins, Rhubarb gets a litter and Polly and Eric push a pram. The End.



If you love cats, you might love this film. Oh, and yes, Leonard Nimoy is in it, too.