According to the wiki, Mrs. Norris is played by four different Maine Coons, namely Maximus, Alanis, Cornilus and Tommy. Wiki states that Maximus is trained to run alongside Filch and jump on his shoulder while Alanis slept in his arms.

What was the purpose of the other cats? Also, does anyone have photos of all the cats, both during shooting and outside of shooting?

  • 2
    Given the high probability that all 4 will be asleep at the same time, having some extras increases the likelihood that one might be available to set up a shot...
    – Jon Custer
    Apr 5, 2019 at 0:20
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    @JonCuster Maine Coons are not like regular cats, they comply with their human's commands if they are told correctly. So, I don't think sleeping is the only reason for that.
    – user65648
    Apr 5, 2019 at 0:23
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    That was partly tongue in cheek. Having known a few Coons, however, they most certainly are quite cat-like in their sleeping habits. More seriously, spares to set shots up are entirely normal to reduce the load on those used for the real shots, particularly close ups.
    – Jon Custer
    Apr 5, 2019 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


It's very common for animals to be portrayed by multiple animal actors.

Hedwig, for example, was played by eight different owls. And she mostly just sits in a cage.

Animals are much harder to reason with than people are. If one decides they don't want to work today, there's not many tools that a trainer can use to change their mind. You can't exactly threaten to dock their pay, or sue them for violating their contracts.

Having more animals around makes it possible to substitute a stunt double for an actor that is having an off day.

Additionally, because animals can't communicate their wants and needs as clearly as people can, it is more important to take care of them and anticipate the stresses they are experiencing. A film schedule is stressful for all involved, human or animal. Using multiple animals for each character allows them to take more frequent breaks than their human counterparts, keeping their stress levels manageable.

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