Fraidy Cat is a 1942 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 4th Tom and Jerry short, produced by Fred Quimby for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It was released in theaters on January 17, 1942.
The cartoon begins with Tom listening to the "Witching Hour" on the radio, and being frightened by the horror story being told. Halfway into the story, the dramatics (hair standing on end, heart leaping into throat, icy chills on spine) begin happening to Tom. At the particularly grim conclusion, Tom runs away and hides in a flowerpot as an evil scream is uttered. Upon hearing the voice say "And that, my dear children, concludes this evening's Witching Hour", Tom sighs with relief, and is asked the question, "And you do believe in ghosts...don't you?" Gulping, Tom nods.
Jerry has been observing the whole thing and laughing to himself, and proceeds to pull down the curtain and release it. The flapping noise scares the cat, who hides only to discover the curtain, still rolling up. Jerry tiptoes away, and under the still-swooning cat, bursts a radiator water line, burning the cat's behind and launching him into the air. Tom escapes the stream and runs towards a closet, panting as he holds onto the door. Behind him is a vacuum with a white nightshirt, which Jerry approaches and peeks at the cat from the vantage point. Seeing the cat still recovering from the second shock, he activates the vacuum, which appears to be a ghost. Tom hears it, and without looking behind him, knows that this is something very terrifying. He makes panicked gestures towards the vacuum and faints, upon which Jerry turns off the vacuum, pleased. To wake up Tom, he squirts him with a speedy jet of water from a bottle. Tom awakens with a start, spits the water out of his mouth, and shakes it out of his ears. Once again, before Tom can recover from this blast, Jerry reactivates the vacuum and paces it towards Tom. The rug he is laying on gets sucked up, and Tom's tail is caught in the opening. Tom jumps out of the vacuum, running against the heavy gale as objects are sucked into the vacuum. He manages to grab ahold of the telephone receiver, but lets go when he is rebuked by the operator, and ends up holding onto the the lower stair pillar. All of Tom's nine lives are sucked out and form a chain of cats holding on, for quite literally, dear lives. Life 9 bites Tom's tail, causing his host to yelp with pain and speed off, freeing all the other lives. Life 1 smiles at the camera as he is freed. Tom continues to run around the corner and bumps his head on the wall, whereupon 8 of the lives rejoin him, and the ninth swings his arms before following suit. Tom instantly recovers and hears the vacuum again, and tries to find somewhere to run, and sees a shocking scene: Jerry operating the ghost-vacuum. Jerry continues to flip the switch and invites Tom to laugh with him. It takes a few looks and a peek into the distance for the mouse to realize that the cat, instead of being scared, is standing behind him. Jerry resignedly walks out, and then dashes behind the nightshirt and makes a neophyte attempt to scare Tom by making a ghostly noise and waving his arms. Tom's I-mean-business look finally catches on, and Jerry waves and narrowly escapes from the leap.
Jerry runs towards a piano and prepares another, similar scare for the cat, but (obviously) it fails to work. They chase across the piano keys, and Jerry draws back a round piece of furniture and it hits the cat in the face. Just then after being woken up by all the noise, Mammy Two Shoes walks into the room with a rolling pin and a similar nightshirt on thinking there is a burglar in the house. Jerry turns around and runs up a baking ladder, and then hides himself in a tub of flour. As Mammy slowly sneaks through the hall, Tom turns the corner and sees Mammy's rear end. Believing this to be Jerry and his vacuum again, Tom slithers across the floor and under the table, and bites Mammy in the rear!
Off-screen, Mammy yells at the cat and throws him out, while Jerry pulls himself out of the tin, waves at Tom, but soon runs into his own reflection on a vase, looking like a ghost. Jerry, in fright, runs to his hole, pokes his head out, and makes a confused look.