The Cats of Berúthiel
In the late ninth and possibly early tenth century of the Third Age, Berúthiel, wife of Tarannon, King of Gondor, kept cats, nine black and one white. The marriage of Tarannon and Berúthiel was not a pleasant one: his love for the Sea drove her mad. She hated all making, all colours and elaborate adornment, and set her cats to spy on everyone, learning their secrets. Berúthiel conversed with the cats and read their mind and memory. She even set the white cat to spy on the others, to torment them. Berúthiel's reign of terror came to an end when Tarannon put her and her cats on a ship and set it adrift. It was last seen passing Umbar.
Though there are no other cats that play a large role in history, some are mentioned in Hobbit folklore. Bob, the ostler of the Prancing Pony, had a cat. After Frodo Baggins sang The Man on the Moon (in which the ostler of an unnamed inn had a tipsy cat that played a five stringed fiddle), several patrons suggested that he'd to the same. Similarly, a cat, or "four-legs", was part of an old riddle Bilbo asked Gollum.
Other versions of the Legendarium
Perhaps the most important cat in the legendarium was Tevildo, the Prince of Cats. Mentioned only in early writings, Tevildo was a demonic servant of Melko, who would eventually be replaced by Sauron. He is the principal antagonist in The Tale of Tinuviel.
Especially in the case of Berúthiel and Tevildo, cats in Middle-earth are portrayed in a negative light. It could be argued that Tolkien was not a cat-person. When a cat-breeder asked permission to use names from The Lord of the Rings for her cats, Tolkien replied to Allen & Unwin:
- "I fear that to me Siamese cats belong to the fauna of Mordor, but you need not tell the cat breeder that."
- ― J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 219
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Shelob's Lair"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, 12: "Cat"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Riddles in the Dark"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Journey to the Cross-Roads"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", note 7
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "The Music of the Ainur", page 52
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Tale of Tinuviel"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 219 (dated October 14, 1959)