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In common with many animators at the time, Messmer was not credited.
After Sullivan's death in 1933, his estate in Australia took ownership of the character.
Felix the Cat made his debut in the 1919 animated short "Feline Follies". Australian cartoonist/film entrepreneur Pat Sullivan, owner of the Felix character, claimed during his lifetime to be the cat's creator.
American animator Otto Messmer, Sullivan's lead animator, has been credited as such.
Thomas is a non-anthropomorphized cat who loses his tail in a fight with a rooster, never to recover it.
The character was named "Felix" by his third film, "The Adventures of Felix" (released on December 14, 1919).
The question of who created Felix remains a matter of dispute.
Members of the Australian Cartoonist Association have demonstrated that lettering used in "Feline Follies" matches Sullivan's handwriting.
Pat Sullivan also lettered within his drawings which was a major contradiction to Messmer's claims.
Pat Sullivan said he named Felix after Australia Felix from Australian history and literature.
Sullivan was the studio proprietor and — as is the case with almost all film entrepreneurs — he owned the copyright to any creative work by his employees.