- "It won't sound too pretty to say you've caught the kitten and let the cat escape."
- ― Gorbag in The Two Towers, "Shelob's Lair"
Cats were animals that lived in Arda.
The cats of Queen Berúthiel
- Main article: Cats of Queen Berúthiel
In the late ninth and possibly early tenth century of the Third Age, Berúthiel, wife of Tarannon Falastur, the twelfth 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 spent much of her time in her austere chambers with her ten cats. She hated all making, all colours and elaborate adornment, and sent her cats out to spy on everyone, learning their dark secrets. Berúthiel conversed with the cats and may have been able to read their memory. She even set the white cat to spy on the others, to torment them. The cats were feared and reviled in Gondor, and people cursed upon seeing them. Berúthiel's reign of terror only came to an end at last when Tarannon banished her from the realm. He put her and her cats alone on a ship and set it adrift before a north wind. Berúthiel and her cats were last seen passing Umbar, sailing away into the southern seas.
Though there are no other cats that play a large role in history, some are mentioned in Hobbit folklore (for example, the Hobbit poem Cat). Bob, the ostler of the Prancing Pony, had a cat. After Frodo Baggins sang The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late (in which the ostler of an unnamed inn had a tipsy cat that played a five stringed fiddle), several patrons suggested that he had to do the same. Similarly, a cat, or "four-legs", was part of an old riddle Bilbo asked Gollum.
Other versions of the legendarium
One of the more important cats in the development of the legendarium was Tevildo, the Prince of Cats. Mentioned only in early writings of The Book of Lost Tales, Tevildo was a demonic servant of Melko, who would eventually be replaced by Sauron. He is the principal antagonist in The Tale of Tinúviel. Other cats appearing in The Tale of Tinúviel include Miaulë, Oikeroi, and Umuiyan.
In this early stages of the Elvish languages, the Gnomish vocabulary about cats was miog ("cat"), miaug/miog ("tom cat"), miaulin ("she cat"). The Qenya word for "cat" is meoi. Later Qenya words were miue ("cat"), titse ("kitten").
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:
Portrayal in adaptations
2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:
- Cats are found throughout Middle-earth, especially in Bree-land. There is a "cat lady" who has a house full of cats. Lore-masters can also have a non-combat cat pet.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Riddles in the Dark"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Journey to the Cross-Roads"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", note 7
- 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 Two Towers, "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "Cat"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "II. The Music of the Ainur", The Music of the Ainur, p. 52
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel", passim; see pp. 53-6
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 57
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", entry "Tevildo"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "Qenya Noun Structure", in Parma Eldalamberon XXI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne and Arden R. Smith), pp. 12-13, 20, 27
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Roverandom