For the Harlem bar scene, Bakshi traveled to Washington Square Park and invited several black militants and activists to the recording studio and allowed them to say what they wanted. He edited the results to get the dialog heard in the film.
The works of Walt Disney are satirized twice. Silhouettes of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck are shown cheering on the United States Air Force as it drops napalm on a black neighborhood during a riot. In another scene, Fritz imagines a pink naked feline fly into his bedroom, in reference to the "Pink Elephants on Parade" sequence from Dumbo (1941)
Steve Krantz attempted to appeal the film's rating, because of the misconception that it was a pornographic film. The MPAA refused to hear the appeal. Ralph Bakshi later stated "Now they do as much on The Simpsons (1989) as I got an X rating for Fritz the Cat."
According to Fritz's creator Robert Crumb, when Ralph Bakshi and Steve Krantz approached him for permission to a film on his character, Fritz the Cat, he refused, so Bakshi and Krantz made the film without his permission. Ralph Bakshi, however has a different account of the story: "He [Crumb] wanted to take credit for the entire thing. Luckily, film doesn't work that way." Bakshi's account seems more realistic, considering R. Crumb's ego problems. Crumb later killed off Fritz in a story titled "Fritz the Cat - Superstar," in which Fritz was a burnt out superstar, being exploited by characterizations of Krantz and Bakshi, who have already signed him up to do a line of sequels. Fritz winds up being stabbed in the back of the head by a female ostrich. R. Crumb thought that this would stop the further production of sequels to "Fritz the Cat." Ralph Bakshi, who had said all he had to say with the first "Fritz the Cat" movie, moved on to Heavy Traffic (1973). Krantz, who wanted to continue to make money off of the character signed 'Robert Taylor' to write and direct The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) for him.
According to a 1986 interview with Ralph Bakshi, he met producer Steve Krantz, and told Krantz of his plans to start a studio for producing animated films for adults. Bakshi had planned to produce Heavy Traffic (1973) as his first feature film, but was told by Krantz that he was more likely to get funding if the production was an adaptation of another's property, which led them to Robert Crumb's "Fritz the Cat." Bakshi states that he did not originally intend to direct the film because he had already spent years working on animated series starring animal characters and had wanted to make a feature film starring human characters.
Warner Bros. was originally attached to distribute the film, and helped fund its production. After Ralph Bakshi and Steve Krantz screened a short test reel for the studio, executives requested that Bakshi and Krantz cast major film stars, and remove the explicit sex in the scene between Fritz and Bertha.
European prints of the film carried a dedication for supervising animator Ted Bonnicksen, who died shortly after the film's U.S. release. Ralph Bakshi asked that a similar dedication be added to any subsequent re-releases of the film in North America, but this was never done.