Meow wow! Sean Hayes plays Mr. Tinkles, a petulant pussy poised for world domination in Cats &#038 Dogs (opening July 4). But wherever did he come up with his catty character's frou-frou voice?

Jokes Hayes: "Mr. Tinkles is a frustrated Shakespearean actor who never got to the stage, so he decided to take it out on the world — I know too many people like that." Actually, he confesses, "my friends and I just always goof off and do characters. Funny people hang out with funny people. We just try to make each other laugh, and this is something I came up with. [Tinkles's voice] is what we call 'refined American.'"

But seriously, folks, does Hayes — an Emmy winner as Will & Grace jokester Jack — ever fret about being typecast as an over-the-top oddball? "Is it a fear of mine?" he muses. "It was at the beginning, and I think it's gone away because I know what I'm capable of.

"I know my limitations and my abilities," he adds. "As an actor, I don't want to play a gay guy the rest of my life. I didn't become an actor to play one role, [but] many roles. It makes me very driven to show people that I can do other things."

Which is why the sitcom star picks — and nixes — his movie-moonlighting opportunities carefully. "I don't want to do a movie just to do a movie," Hayes explains, revealing: "I could have been in Dude, Where's My Car? I really was offered a part in that. I could've done a lot of things. But I'd like to do smarter things than that."