Who played Prim's cat in the Hunger Games films, and why the change?

What do we know about the cats who play Prim's cat Buttercup in the Hunger Games films?

In the first film, he looks like this:

black and white cat

In the second film, he looks like this:

orange cat

It's pretty clear that they changed the cat who plays him. Why? Has any reason been given for this drastic change in appearance?

In the fourth film, a certain scene between Katniss and Buttercup is perhaps the biggest tearjerker in the whole massively tearjerker-packed series. This cat deserves an Oscar!


2 Answers 2


This interview explains why they changed cats:

Francis Lawrence: You know what that was actually, and I was happy to do it, that was a request from Nina the producer and Suzanne the author. That they thought the cat from the first movie was not the way he was described in the book. And that had annoyed a bunch of fans, and things like that. But it also just kind of bothered them that Buttercup was not a black and white cat. So I was happy to get one that felt like the Buttercup of the book.

As to who actually played the two cats, we know what variety they were, from the Wikia:

In The Hunger Games film, Buttercup is shown as a black and white tom cat with a shaggy coat as opposed to the scruffy yellow tabby portrayed in the books. However in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Buttercup was recast as a large fluffy ginger/orange, most likely a Maine Coon or Snowshoe.

What the cats' names were though, I haven't been able to find!

Although it is doubtful whether it was a Maine Coon, as per @MikeEdenfield's insightful comment below!

  • 1
    I don't get why the heck a cat named Buttercup would be black and white, anyway. It did annoy fans, because it was such an obvious screw up.
    – user31178
    Nov 26, 2015 at 1:29
  • 1
    I've owned Maine Coones, btw, I don't think that cat's nearly hairy enough to be one. They've got manes that make them practically lions.
    – KutuluMike
    Nov 26, 2015 at 1:31
  • Thank you sir! +1, but let's see whether anyone finds the cats' names...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 26, 2015 at 1:38
  • @randal'thor no worries; I too would like to know their names! Nov 26, 2015 at 1:38
  • @CreationEdge Why not? Young children don't always apply logic when naming pets. Nov 26, 2015 at 15:09

This gorgeous red Maine Coon is Panther Hill Orion from North Carolina. Here is an article that his owner, Cain Haley, wrote.

In the first Hunger Games film, the feline role of "Buttercup" was played by a black and white cat—yikes! Fans of the book were in uproar when they saw it. They were aghast and incensed that the film Buttercup's appearance was so different from the cat described in the books and that they had imagined when reading the books.

Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, producer Nina Jacobson, and new Catching Fire director, Francis Lawrence wanted to make things right. Together they decided to recast the role for the second film.

Rion and I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to meet with the director and the author. They would have final say in which cat would be given the coveted feline role.

Two other cats hopefuls were also there auditioning for the part but it was Rion that was chosen.

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