Salt Water Tabby is a 1947 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 31st Tom and Jerry short. It was produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on July 12, 1947 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. The cartoon was animated by Ed Barge, Michael Lah (who later directed Droopy cartoons) and Kenneth Muse, with additional animation by Ray Patterson (uncredited). Salt Water Tabby was scored by Scott Bradley, produced by Fred Quimby, and directed and written by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The cartoon's title is a pun on salt water taffy, a type of candy, and the common tabby cat.
Tom steps out of a beach clubhouse, and the door closes on his bathing suit. He tries to dive into the ocean, unaware, but is yanked backwards and crashes through the clubhouse door. Tom tries again, but the water recedes while he is in midair and Tom lands amid a pile of garbage. Tom then walks along the shore, but gets distracted by an attractive female cat reading and crashes into a waste receptacle, which, acting like a slot machine, sends the cat sliding, amid a pile of rubbish, to where the female cat is sitting. Tom drinks her soda and eats her hot dog, much to her annoyance, but is then hit with food tossed from inside a picnic basket by Jerry.
Tom tries to hit Jerry with a flyswatter, but Jerry throws food into Tom's eyes. Jerry munches through Tom's hand when Tom picks him up and then hides behind two rocks. Tom tries to grab him, but instead grabs a crab, which pinches Tom's whiskers. Tom tries to flee, but the crab grabs his tail and shreds it with its claw. Tom chases Jerry but Tom gets stuck inside a beach umbrella. Then the crab chases Jerry into Tom's suit. The crab pinches Tom's bottom and tears his suit to escape, exposing Tom's behind.
Later, Jerry grabs a bottle of soda, but finds Tom has escaped the umbrella. Tom opens the bottle and slams the cap onto Jerry's head. Jerry, unable to see, stumbles toward the crab and uses the crab's claw to remove the cap, avoiding the crab's attempt to catch him. Tom then shares sandwiches with the female cat, but Jerry sneaks a shell into Tom's sandwich, causing Tom to shatter his teeth, and replaces sugar for Tom's coffee with sand while Tom is not looking. Jerry gives Tom seawater when he chokes, and Tom spits it out into the female cat's face, effectively ending their short friendship.
Tom then seemingly traps Jerry under a sand bucket, but Jerry is nowhere to be found. Tom digs into the sand, but Jerry, from behind, fills the hole in, burying Tom. Jerry then places Tom's flyswatter into the sand and flicks it into Tom's face when he reemerges. Tom peels a banana from the picnic basket, but Jerry, inside it, tosses it into Tom's mouth before again trapping Tom in an umbrella. Jerry jumps out, but gets stuck in his soda bottle. Tom shakes the bottle, sending Jerry flying through the air and crashing onto a clam shell. Jerry then puts seaweed over a wooden post in the water and draws a face onto it, splashing and pretending to scream for help. Tom dives into the ocean, but crashes his head onto the post as a tidal wave hits.
Tom chases after Jerry, but Jerry grabs an inflatable beach horse and removes its air stopper, sending it flying at Tom. Tom opens his mouth in fright and thus swallows the inflatable toy, causing Tom to pop out of his bathing suit. Tom flies all over the beach, with Jerry hiding in Tom's bathing suit, before Tom soars into the air. The beach horse then deflates its last bit of air, sending Tom plummeting back down to the ground, into a tidal pool. Just then, Tom emerges and is shocked to find Jerry sailing away using the picnic basket as a boat and his bathing suit as a sail.