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He was originally built by Mr. Stanislavsky in order to capture mice, but after he failed to catch the Rescue Rangers, the inventor chose to discard him as a result. Gadget took pity on him and believed that Tom could be friendly with the proper reprogramming. She believed that Dale's video game cartridge would do the job.
However, Fat Cat and his thugs had other ideas for the galvanized feline. Fat Cat managed to get ahold of Tom and replaced Dale's cartridge with a fighting game. After a struggle, Dale managed to eject the war game and the mechanical cat shut down.
Later, Tom was reactivated with Dale's game cartridge and given to a boy who'd wanted a cat but his father was against the idea (due to his beloved pet fish) but gave in for his son's happiness and even gave Tom his toupee to mimic fur.