Maybe it’s just because I got a cat this year — the first living, breathing creature I’ve owned since I failed to keep a hamster alive circa 1995 — but I couldn’t help noticing that the films of 2011 featured some damn great animals. Some were the stars of their films, like Rango (Johnny Depp) in Rango, while others played second fiddle to less interesting, or at least less adorable, human stars, like Rosie (Tai) in Water for Elephants, but all deserve special mention in my book.

And yeah, okay, the fact that they also serve as a convenient excuse to post cute animal photos during a slow news week happens to a nice little bonus as well. Read on after the jump.

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