When he was younger, Meowth lived on the streets in Hollywood after he came there in search of fame and fortune. He was a member of a gang of street Meowth that was led by a Persian; this gang annoyed the humans in town, stealing food and causing trouble in general. One day, Meowth came across a female Meowth named Meowzie. Since she rejected him and preferred the company of her rich human mistress, Meowth attempted to make himself stand out from other Meowth and become more human-like to make himself "worthy" of her. Thus, he painstakingly taught himself to speak human language in a New York accent and walk upright like a human. When he approached her after this transformation, she once again rejected him, calling him a freak. Heartbroken, Meowth remembered the first human word he learned to speak - "rocket" - and was inspired to join Team Rocket. In Japanese, he often puts the word "Nya" into his sentences, the equivalent of a meow in Japanese. This was abandoned in the English dub shortly into the beginning of the series. Because Meowth can speak human but is a Pokémon, he is useful as a Pokémon translator. Despite being a Pokémon though, he is in charge of building and repairing the machines used by his team.
In Go West, Young Meowth, Meowth, Jessie, and James returned to Hollywood while following Ash, and Meowth was reunited with Meowzie, who had since been abandoned by her mistress and was forced to join the gang of street Meowth. Meowth fought his former Persian leader to win Meowzie's love, and won, but Meowzie demonstrated that her loyalty was with Persian since he took care of her when she needed it, and Meowth was once again heartbroken.
Because of the effort Meowth exerted while learning to speak and walk like a human, he has not learned the signature move of his species, Pay Day. In Meowth Rules, Meowth was worshiped by an island of people who believed that he could bring them riches with Pay Day. When he was caught in a battle meant to induce Pay Day, Jessie and James had to secretly bail him out by throwing the last of their spare change and some of James' prized bottlecaps in order to appease the islanders. Upon learning of its species' love for gathering coins and shiny objects from Ash's Pokédex later in Do I Hear a Ralts?, Jessie criticized him for not doing so.
There has been some debate as to whether or not Meowth was ever Giovanni's "Top Cat" (personal pet). He has stated himself as such in front of Giovanni with no objection (only to say that Persian was now in that position). Yet in Training Daze, he was shown to have been present at Team Rocket Headquarters for a short time, during which we see that Persian is already there. During this time, Meowth became a servant to Giovanni, bringing him food and drinks; however, he was unsuccessful at this task and was assigned to the team of Jessie and James. In light of this, it should be noted that Training Daze potentially contradicted other stated facts from previous episodes regarding Team Rocket's back story.
Meowth has an ambitious, conniving, and idealistic personality. He has made it his life goal to please Giovanni (or "Boss," as he and his teammates call Giovanni), and will stop at nothing to capture or steal useful or rare Pokémon, especially Ash's Pikachu, which he has been pursuing since he encountered it in Pokémon Emergency. Several times, Meowth and Pikachu have had to team up, such as in the episodes Bound for Trouble and Hoenn Alone when both were separated from their respective parties. His relationship with Jessie and James varies in quality; for example, in Go West, Young Meowth they stated that they regarded Meowth as a friend, but in Bound for Trouble, having discovered Meowth and Pikachu after the two had been stuck together, they both stated that they had really been looking for Pikachu and Meowth was just 'part of the package'. Meowth seems to have aspects of each of his teammates in him; in arguments, he can often be seen siding with either Jessie (usually denouncing James' incompetence) or James (usually complaining about Jessie's overdramatic and rash behavior). Despite these fights, the three remain very close and loyal friends.
Despite his seemingly outgoing nature, Meowth also has a contemplative inner side not seen as often. In one of his image songs, Meowth's Song, and in Mewtwo Strikes Back, he is shown to be a bit of a philosopher. In Mewtwo Strikes Back, he and his clone (in addition to Pikachu) were the only Pokémon not to participate in the giant battle, Meowth remarking (in the dub) that the originals and the clones shared the same air, moon, and planet, giving them common ground. Meowth comforted Ash's Chimchar in Tears For Fears! and actually expressed some admiration for Ash and his friends, commenting, "You [Chimchar] have buddies who'd give you the shirt off their backs if you needed one." On a few occasions, Meowth has become stranded with Pikachu, and during these times, the two work together fairly well. Pikachu distrusts Meowth for obvious reasons but Meowth is more willing to let go of the past and work together. Usually, by the end of these episodes, Meowth will betray Pikachu once they find Jessie and James. Another trait Meowth shares with Ash's Pikachu is that they have a huge rivalry with their evolved forms, Persian and Raichu, respectively (though Pikachu is actually willing to work with Raichu, just isn't willing to evolve into one).
Meowth in love
Meowth is an amorous Pokémon, developing crushes on occasion (obviously not as much as Brock, but still a fair amount). The first of these was the aforementioned Meowzie. The next one seen is Cassandra, the (human) herbalist. Due to this infatuation, he decided to help her Paras evolve. However, he was replaced by a Persian so that he can continue traveling with Jessie and James. After this, three more cat-based Pokémon followed, beginning with May's Skitty. However, due to the fact that Jessie wanted to catch the Skitty, Meowth helped it escape in order to avoid Skitty getting hurt with the rest of the team. Later on, in Big Meowth, Little Dreams he falls in love with another Skitty. In For The Love Of Meowth, Meowth fell in love with a Glameow this time, one that belongs to Mamie. Similar to May's Skitty, Meowth tries to get away from Jessie and James so Glameow would not join them in blasting off. After Meowth was surrounded by Jessie, James, Ash, Dawn, Brock and Mamie, Meowth gained power from the love he felt, allowing him to defeat several Pokémon thrown at him, including Ash's Infernape and Staraptor, Jessie's Seviper and Yanmega and Dawn's Togekiss. However, after getting hit with James' Carnivine's Bullet Seed, Glameow evolves into Purugly and squishes Meowth, making Meowth lose its feelings for it.
Meowth also has demonstrated aspirations of being a parent-like caretaker, coddling Togepi's egg before fighting for custody of it only to finally lose it to Misty. To regain custody of Togepi, he even defeated Brock's Onix by throwing a bucket of water in its face and finishing it with a Fury Swipes attack to the head.
Meowth has also, since late Johto, had frequent fantasies about presenting Giovanni with various Pokémon. These fantasies often involve whatever creature it happens to be assisting Giovanni in his daily routine.
Much like Ash's Pikachu, Meowth does not stay inside a Poké Ball, and it is never mentioned if he was ever captured by either member of Team Rocket he travels with. Strangely, though he first appeared in the second episode, in an era where Ash scanned nearly every Pokémon he came into contact with with his Pokédex, it took until Do I Hear a Ralts? for Ash to do this to Meowth. However, this was a mere accident: Meowth was dressed up like a Kirlia, and Ash had never seen one before. In Two Degrees of Separation, Dawn, unlike Ash, scanned him right away. She also made the same mistake as Ash when she scanned Meowth as a Shiftry in Leave it to Brocko!. Also in the episode The Lost Lapras the character Tracey started examining Meowth (despite not having a Pokédex), but only because he was interested in the fact that he could talk.
Meowth normally does not battle unless there are extreme circumstances; his explanation is that his ability to talk and walk upright came at the expense of battling ability. However, when forced to fight, Meowth is fairly resourceful, such as dumping a bucket of water on an Onix to weaken it. In Jumping Rocket Ship , however, Meowth fought extremely well, even knocking out Barry's Empoleon with Fury Swipes, which normally wouldn't do much damage. Yet just two episodes later, in Get Your Rotom Running!, Meowth was unable to break a display case using Scratch. Meowth's Fury Swipes attack was shown to slice dough in order to make ramen in the episode, Noodles! Roamin' Off!. The owner of the ramen shop saw Meowth do this and asked him to work for him. After some thought, Meowth accepted. He eventually rejoined the group.
Meowth has used his claws to pick locks on several occasions, such as when Jessie, James, and he wanted to get into the Old Chateau in Canalave City.
In the Best Wishes series, Jessie, James, and Meowth were sent to the Unova region under orders from Giovanni after they were promoted in Memories are Made of Bliss!. To prevent them from getting too much attention, Giovanni did not allow Jessie's and James's other Pokémon to be sent to them, only making them use Pokémon native to Unova. This, however, made Meowth think of what would happen to him. Throughout most of the series, Meowth and his two friends were presently as horribly failing and erroneous criminals, always failing in their missions to capture Ash's Pikachu or other Pokémon. Recently, however, he, along with the rest of his team, developed a more serious attitude in his work, as he had when first introduced, being quicker-witted and much more resourceful than before and using ingenious methods of escape and thus proving much more difficult for Ash to defeat. He has also demonstrated much more battling skill than before, being agile enough to land on his feet when blown back by Ash's Pidove's Gust, and unlike before, does not horribly injure himself in battle. However, starting in BW025, Meowth, along with Jessie and James have returned to their goofy ways, but maintain their improved athletic ability.
In the Appeals Round in the contest, he created an ice sculpture of Giovanni, his Persian and himself.
In "the Jester"'s battle with Erica, he used "Transform". He did this by using the pouch attached to his belly. He transformed into a Sunflora first, using Razor Leaf against Jynx. Later, he transformed into a Kirlia and again into a Wailord. It popped the inflatable Wailord with its claws and "the Jester" was eventually disqualified.
In the Ping Pong tournament, Jessie and Meowth were disqualified since Meowth sliced the ball with his claws, instead of hitting it. In Dressed for Jess Success!, James disguised as Jessilina due to Jessie being sick. Meowth, following his promise in Old Rivals, New Tricks!, is used for the appeal, where it used its talent for slicing ramen. The two then gave the judges the ramen to taste. Upon seeing the appeal on TV, Christopher became very proud.
His first appearance is in the chapter Pikachu's Excellent Adventure. He is searching for the Hidden Village with Jessie and James when he runs into Tommy, Pikachu and other Pokémon, who are also searching for the village. Meowth offers them free breakfast (made by Jessie and James) and the trio travel with them to the village. Later, he is expelled from the Hidden Village by Kangaskhan when Jessie and James try to steal the Pokémon.
Meowth will often replace the words "Me" or "Mouth" with "Meowth". Similar puns are also used in the Japanese version.
The charm embedded in Meowth's forehead had been lost in A Chansey Operation after an accident, forcing him to search it desperately. At the end of the episode, however, it was discovered that it had simply been jammed into his head by the impact.
Additionally, Meowth had a fantasy about replacing the gold charm with a crystal one in The Crystal Onix.
Meowth claims he is unable to learn Pay Day as a trade off for learning to speak. He claims to have 'used up all his move slots' doing so.
Ironically, Meowth can use Pay Day in Yellow.
In the Latin American Spanish dub, he is referred to as "Chimuelo" ("toothless") by James, a common form used in Mexico.
In the Brazilian Portuguese, Hungarian and Finnish dubs, he is referred to as "Miau" (meow).
For more information on this Pokémon's species, see Meowth.