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So how did Data get his cat, Spot? Did Data pick him up on Earth or something?

  • 2
    +1, I knew there was a question I wanted to aks but had forgotten to! – AncientSwordRage Apr 29 '12 at 15:06
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    I'm surprised it's not covered there, but I think the Memory Alpha article about spot is still relevant. – bitmask Apr 29 '12 at 15:34
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    At the local space SPCA. – Jared Apr 30 '12 at 0:31
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    NO! Obviously Data built him while practicing building positronic brains before Lal. And this also explains why Spot changed breeds and couldn't relate to Geordi. – ThePopMachine Apr 30 '12 at 19:20
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    Well the Enterprise has an Arboretum on board, why not a pet shelter too? – Robo Stalin Jul 9 '13 at 22:14
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Strange though it may sound, there does not appear to be any explanation, canonical or otherwise, for Spot's appearance (let alone for changes of breed or gender, as mentioned in the Memory Alpha article referenced in the comments above). One day, ("Data's Day", to be precise :-) ), we just suddenly discovered that Data had a cat, and apparently had had one for some time.

For all we know, Spot predates Data's duty aboard Enterprise-D. Beyond that, we can speculate endlessly -- she might have been Data's own acquisition or that of another crew member who passed away or discovered they were allergic or otherwise couldn't care for her any more, for example.

We simply don't know, and, to judge from the Memory Beta article (which tracks non-canon references), no author has chosen to speculate.

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    I would have expected him to worry about Data when the Enterprise was separated in Encounter at Farpoint. I'd think he didn't have Spot back then. – bitmask Apr 30 '12 at 0:00
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    Cat or no cat, Data was an on-duty officer in a time of crisis. He would no more spend time openly dwelling on his cat's well being than another officer would about his wife or children; especially this early in Data's exploration of emotion. – Michael Scott Shappe Apr 30 '12 at 5:50
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    Interesting timing on this post. I just watched "Data's Day" last night, in my quest to re-watch the entire season, and was thinking of asking this same question. If we presume Data's ownership of Spot pre-dated his service aboard the Enterprise, that would leave some plot holes where Spot should have appeared previous to "Data's Day". Additionally, it seems Spot has changed breeds at least once since her first appearance as well. – Iszi Apr 30 '12 at 14:43
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    You know cats...maybe it played with the replicator, tail hit the wrong button, fur got recolored,...it happens. – Bart Silverstrim May 2 '12 at 14:24
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    He definitely doesn't predate Data's duties aboard Enterprise D - if that were the case, he certainly would've been accounted for or at least mentioned during his trail as a sentient being in "Measure of a Man". – Zibbobz Feb 3 '15 at 18:11
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Spot does look a lot like Tasha Yar's cat. Given that she and Data "hooked up" during the episode 'The Naked Now', perhaps he inherited her cat when she died.

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    The TNG Novel Survivors indicated that her cat was killed on-planet before she left to join the Federation. Obviously the novels aren't canon but there's no special reason to assume it's incorrect. – Valorum Feb 3 '15 at 1:22
  • Cannon or not, this is the answer I choose to believe. (assuming Yar did have a cat on TNG?) – Mazura Feb 3 '15 at 3:15
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It was mentioned somewhere (wish to GOD I could recall where) that the cat from "Data's Day' had contracted feline leukemia and passed away rather suddenly, and that a second cat had been replaced due to attacking a castmember (I do believe it was Michael Dorn!) when seeing him in costume.

  • This doesn't appear to answer the question. – O. R. Mapper Apr 6 '15 at 9:03
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Data's Day happens shortly after Data meets Dr. Soong, and it is clear after he returns to the enterprise that he has brought back some of Soong's belongings. My theory is that Spot actually belonged to his father and so he inherited her.

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    This is a fan-theory. It's kinda interesting but not an answer to the question asked. – Valorum Nov 11 '14 at 15:40
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    It's as valid as the other Theories. I like it. – Darth Egregious Nov 13 '14 at 20:10

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