I read this theory that Crookshanks (the cat [Kneazle] that Hermione bought in HPPOA) was originally owned by the Potters.

Two notes from the books that do kind of make me lean into this theory are this.

  1. The saleswoman from whom Hermione buys Crookshanks says "Poor Crookshanks, that witch said he'd been in there for ages: no one wanted him" (HPPOA, The Leaky Cauldron)

  2. Lily Potter's letter to Sirius says: "He nearly killed the cat"

JKR has a way of linking up totally unexpected ends, so I was wondering if Crookshanks is actualy 'the cat' from the letter. Also, the way Crookshanks chased around Scabbers (the untrustworthy Peter) also kind of led me to thinking this.

Is there any official source/book snippet/interview from JKR/Pottermore snippets that confirm or bury this theory?

  • 5
    Unless wizard cats have an enormous lifespan, the theory is not feasible. Crookshanks is described as a young and healthy cat, intent on hunting rats and generally chasing everything that moves. A 13-year-old cat is quite old, and is unlikely to be so active. – TimSparrow Oct 16 '17 at 10:48
  • 5
    not really a valid point... A Kneazle can become up to 26 years old, following this link... – Torsten Link Oct 16 '17 at 12:10
  • 1
    JKR does drop hints here and there. But if she hasn't revealed this connection up until now, I think it it is safe to assume this is a wild fan theory based on a remote reference. – Anya Mae Oct 16 '17 at 13:39
  • 3
    Crookshanks is specifically a Half-Kneazle and chases Scabbers because Kneazles have the ability to detect suspicious or distrustful people, which Pettigrew certainly was, especially whilst masquerading as a rat. – DisturbedNeo Oct 16 '17 at 14:46
  • 3
    Honestly, if you asked JKR, she'd probably make some crap up and say yes! – Möoz Aug 1 '18 at 8:54

It's highly unlikely that Crookshanks was the Potters' cat.

If Crookshanks was the Potters' cat, he would have then been around 13 years old when Hermione got him in her third year. In addition, Crookshanks is around after that, and shows no sign of being an old or aging cat. Scabbers was only able to have such a long lifespan since, being an Animagus, his was a human lifespan and not a rat's. Crookshanks is part-Kneazle, but Kneazles aren't mentioned as having extraordinarily long lifespans either.

When the sales lady tells Hermione that Crookshanks has been there for ages, it likely doesn't mean years. People say things take "ages" metaphorically sometimes, like "this food is taking ages to come, the chef is so slow". So, it's more likely she meant Crookshanks has been there longer than most pets, rather than actually for years.

In addition, Crookshanks didn’t seem to recognize Sirius like he probably would have if he had been the Potters’ cat - he realized Sirius isn’t a real dog, but he takes a while assessing him before trusting him. Sirius seems to be new to him rather than a familiar figure he was now unsure of.

“This cat isn’t mad,’ said Black hoarsely. He reached out a bony hand and stroked Crookshanks’s fluffy head. ‘He’s the most intelligent of his kind I’ve ever met. He recognised Peter for what he was straight away. And when he met me, he knew I was no dog. It was a while before he trusted me. Finally, I managed to communicate to him what I was after, and he’s been helping me …’

‘What do you mean?’ breathed Hermione.

‘He tried to bring Peter to me, but couldn’t … so he stole the passwords into Gryffindor Tower for me … As I understand it, he took them from a boy’s bedside table …”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 17 (Cat, Rat and Dog)

As for why Crookshanks chased around Scabbers, it's because as part-Kneazle, he'd be able to detect suspicious and shady people (or rats) easily.

“The Kneazle has an uncanny ability to detect unsavoury or suspicious characters and can be relied upon to guide its owner safely home if they are lost.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Crookshanks did indeed realize Scabbers was trouble - but that's likely because of his Kneazle senses and not previous experience.

  • Additionally, the state of their rats shows that the Menagerie doesn't have much time for second-hand pets. – The Dark Lord Oct 17 '17 at 23:35
  • I'd add that Harry had photos of his family, and he would have seen Crookshanks on those if he was a familiy cat. – b_jonas Aug 1 '18 at 7:59
  • Sirius' quote above also indicates that he [Sirius] didn't recognize Crookshanks as a cat he had seen before (granted, we may take 12 years in Azkaban as a grain of salt). One might think if he had known the cat w/ the Potters, Sirius would have said so. – NKCampbell Aug 1 '18 at 15:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.