Lightning is a ginger orange cat who first appeared in the 1948 MGM short "Old Rockin' Chair Tom" as Tom's rival. Lightning is named as such because in his first short, he practically moved at the speed of lightning.
In later cartoons, Lightning often appeared as one of Tom's alley cat buddies/rivals. He also appears in "Switchin' Kitten". Fans have occasionally confused Lightning with Meathead, though the two are not the same and have appeared side by side in two cartoons.