The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Location
Widespread, in both wild and domestic forms
Species
Felis silvestris (catus)1
Meaning
From Latin cattus2

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 17 January 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

Cats

The mouse-hunters of Middle-earth

The most famous cats in the histories of Middle-earth were the cats of Queen Berúthiel, nine black and one white, belonging to the Queen of King Tarannon of Gondor.


Notes

1

The species name Felis silvetris includes numerous subspecies of wild cat as well as the familiar domestic variety Felis silvetris catus. The distinction is relevant because we have references to both types in Tolkien's tales. The black and white cats of Queen Berúthiel, for instance, are clearly of the domesticated kind, but we do have at least one unequivocal reference to wild cats. Specifically, the noise made by the alarmed Goblins of Goblin-town is compared to 'Several hundred wild cats and wolves being roasted slowly alive together...' in The Hobbit 4, Over Hill and Under Hill.

2

In classical Latin, the word for 'cat' was felés (from which we get, for example, modern 'feline' as well as the generic name Felis), but in later times the word cattus made its way into Latin vocabulary. From this source comes the word 'cat' in English (and similar words in many other European languages). The ultimate origin of this word is uncertain, but most analyses suggest that it was adopted from a culture somewhere in North Africa or the Middle East.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 17 January 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1998, 2001, 2018. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
The powerful, accurate, cost-effective DISC personality test developed and improved for 24 years.
The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Menu
Homepage Search Latest Entries and Updates Random Entry