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The Cat
Sacred Animals
Human Beneficiary Rebakah Cooper
Alanna of Trebond
Events Three Rivers Hunt
Coronation Day Battle
Biographical information
Epithet Hestaka or "Wise One" (by Tunstall[1])
Aliases Pounce (mid-200s HE)
Faithful (433—438 HE)
Race Feline
Species Constellation
Physical description
Gender Male
Hair Black fur
Eyes Violet
Other Traits
Family information
Other family
Affiliation Great Mother Goddess
Bibliographical Information
Tortallan Universe character
First Mentioned '
Only Mentioned '
First Appeared In the Hand of the Goddess
Last Appeared '
Latest Appearance Mastiff
Only Appearance '
Last Mentioned '

The Cat as Faithful with his charge Alanna

"The Cat is a god of sorts. He makes his decisions to help or to hinder two-leggers."
Nawat when discussing the constellation with Aly[src]

The Cat,[2] also known as Pounce and Faithful, is a celestial being that appears at the foot of the Great Mother Goddess constellation in the night sky above Tortall.


The Cat is known to disappear from the sky periodically, for up to several decades at a time, which makes it a 'wanderer'[3]. Presumably, this is when The Cat takes on corporeal form as a black-furred, violet-eyed cat who comes to the aid of mortals like Alanna of Trebond and Beka Cooper. The Cat has the same name in both the language of humans and that of crows[4].

Although the Cat has a choice of whether he wants to serve, it seems like a particular god usually asks him to help a particular human. The Great Mother Goddess asked him to help Alanna, and it is assumed that the Black God, Beka Cooper's patron, asked the Cat to help her.

Power and magic

The Cat possesses a huge amount of magic, and has the ability to heal humans. A contract with the gods forbids him from doing so. He can sense bad things, as well as magic. During the Tusaine War, he was aware that Alanna was exceeding her life force by healing, and warned other humans who could stop her. He considered human magic, especially healing, to be clumsy[5]. He could sense dark magic, like when he knew that Akhnan ibn Nazzir was drawing a rune that would destroy the entire Bloody Hawk village and perhaps even the entire Great Southern Desert. He knew when Ishak had run away with Duke Roger's cursed sword. He was also able to magic Liam Ironarm asleep while Alanna went to retrieve the Dominion Jewel from Chitral—although that is perhaps the weakest showcase of the power he had.

The Cat seems to be immune to the Gift or cursed objects. When Deirdry Noll threw a cursed necklace at Beka, he caught it, was stunned perhaps for a few seconds, and then recovered. That necklace would've killed any human who touched it instantly, and the Cat did not think much of it.

Pounce can speak the languages of other animals as well, as seen when he soothes Achoo when the hound first comes to Beka[6].


In the Mortal Realms, the Cat is incarnated (presumably, born), as a kitten. Though he possesses magical abilities such as healing and speech with humans, he is mortal in this form and can be killed. If he is killed, his essence/spirit returns to his place in the sky and he can even enter the Divine Realms.[7]

The Cat first appeared as Pounce, the companion of Beka Cooper in 242 HE[8]. Nearly 200 years later, in 434 HE[9], the Goddess sent Faithful, an identical incarnation of the Cat, to aid and protect Alanna of Trebond. The Cat's activities between these two times are unknown.

When Daine visited the Divine Realms in 452 HE[9], she observed The Great Mother Goddess shooing a black, purple-eyed cat off of her throne.[10] Presumably this is The Cat when he is not in his mortal form. It reinforces the idea that The Cat is not a god, as he can ignore the Great Mother Goddess and go about his own business. It also reinforces the idea that he is not beholden to the gods, and it is up to the gods to come to him to ask for help.

It is unknown what purpose the Cat serves, other than aiding mortals, or if he is the only constellation capable of assuming a corporeal form. Koramin Ingensra mentioned the existence of wandering constellations, a category which includes the Cat. This suggests that more constellations are able to take corporeal form, but they likely have their own differing reasons to take such a form. Even so, there are no other such characters who appear in the novels as of now.


"My mother knew the Cat. At least, that's what she told me when I was a little girl. That the star-Cat became a mortal one, and taught her things as she grew up."
Aly in a discussion on the constellation with Nawat[src]

Faithful was sent by the Goddess to aid and protect Alanna of Trebond. He took the form of a small, short-haired black cat with violet eyes identical in color to Alanna’s.

Alanna meets and names the cat Faithful shortly after becoming a squire. Faithful saved Alanna's life several times, and he accompanied her on her adventures for many years. In 439 HE[9] he was killed by Josiane Rittevon in the Coronation Day Battle.


"If he is a cat. Did you know mages have named certain constellations 'wanderers,' because they appear and"
Koramin Ingensra commenting on Pounce[src]

Finding the Cat

Pounce is Beka Cooper's cat. She found him in the stable loft while living in the Lord Provost's house[11]. He encouraged her through her Dog training, and helped her locate and catch Rats. His information about Rats and criminals repetedly caused Beka to be injured, leading to the highest healer's bill of all puppies in her year[12]. Pounce is particularly fond of cheese, although it doesn't improve his breath.[13]

The Shadow Snake

Pounce helped Beka get used to her particular type of magic that seemed to come directly from the Black God. She used the magic as a puppy to locate the Shadow Snake, men killed by Crookshank, among other cases.

He came to like Beka's new friends Koramin Ingensra and Aniki Forfrysning. He did like Rosto the Piper, but he also enjoyed it when Beka insulted him. He brought Kora and Aniki kittens when they wouldn't stop petting him[14].

Beka goes hunting

In 247 HE, a crisis emerged in the Tortallan economic system. Counterfeits of silver had been popping up even in Corus, but it was believed to come from Port Caynn. Before Beka went of to the port city with Clara Goodwin, Pounce and Beka saw Ercole Hempstead, a Senior Dog and handler, abusing the dog Achoo. The dog used to belong to Phelan Rapp, who was excellent with her. At first Beka balked at the idea of confronting a Senior Dog who would only write her up, but Pounce urged her to, saying that she was not the girl he thought she was if she was going to let this go[1].

On Midwinter of 246/247 HE Pounce saved Matthias Tunstall's life. After this Tunstall called him hestaka, which means wise-one in his native tongue, Hurdik. Pounce seemed to particularly like being addressed such[15].

While Beka was away, Pounce did not go with her, and instead needed to get the younger constellations in line because they were making trouble. He returned to Beka by the time she finished her mission in Port Caynn and caught the counterfeiters.

The Prince is kidnapped

Prince Gareth, the King and Queen's only child and heir, was kidnapped from his nursery in around 250 HE. Beka, Pounce, Tunstall, Sabine of Macayhill, and a mage known as Farmer Cape, were charged with bringing Prince Gareth back and his rescue.


When acting as Faithful, the Cat often balances out Alanna's fiery temper and recklessness. When with Beka, he frequently vexes her with displays of his independence and magical qualities. He is a very loyal companion to both of the mortals whom he has befriended, and often fights for them. Although he was mentioned chasing after 'real or imaginary prey' in The Song of the Lioness Quartet, he does not kill or eat mice in Beka's books, and calls them his 'little brothers'.

He is far more mysterious about his true identity in The Song of the Lioness, and it is only hinted that he is actually a constellation after his death in Lioness Rampant. Whenever his unusual qualities are remarked upon, he ignores it, or Alanna brushes it off. However, in Beka's time, he corrects people who call him a god, saying that he is in fact a constellation, and Beka refers to him at least once as her 'constellation cat'. It is unclear why he is so secretive two hundred years later. This could be a choice of Pierce's, possibly because readers familiar with Alanna's story will already know or infer that Pounce and Faithful are the same cat, and that he is not mortal. Or perhaps in the two hundred years between his adventures with Beka and Alanna, he changed his mind about the way he interacts with mortals. It could also be that when Pierce created his character, she was unsure or undecided of the extent of his power and what exactly he would be.

In the George Cooper epilogue of Mastiff, Pounce muses about George Cooper, "You’re wary of god-touched people, and the sight of me might scare you away from the one who will upend your life. So--forget the purple eyes, George Cooper. Your ancestress had a black cat that went everywhere with her. No more, no less." He presumably alters George's memories of Beka's journals so that his future appearance as Faithful won't scare him away from Alanna. George would meet Alanna later the same year.


  • 'Pounce' was a name suggested for Faithful by one of Alanna's friends (Jonathan).
  • Not even Tamora Pierce knows what Pounce was up to while he was away in Bloodhound. He was using sounds not even she understands, in electron or gamma ray.[16]


Books are listed by publication date.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bloodhound, Sept. 8 247 (pages 32—43; Random House hardcover)
  2. TPWords, Faithful/Fido and Many Names
  3. Terrier, April 22, 246 (p. 353; Random House paperback)
  4. Trickster's Choice, Cp. 15 (p. 353; Random House paperback)
  5. Bloodhound, September 23, 247 I (p. 518; Random House hardcover)
  6. Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 54; Random House hardcover)
  7. End of The Realms of the Gods, The Cat is seen sitting on the Great Mother Goddess's throne.
  8. Terrier, April 1, 246 (p. 23; Random House paperback) [Beka says Pounce showed up four years ago]
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 http://www.tamora-pierce.com/faq_timeline.html
  10. The Realms of the Gods, Chp 10
  11. Terrier, April 1, 246 (p. 36; Random House paperback)
  12. Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 38; Random House hardcover)
  13. Terrier, May 13, 246 (p. 555; Random House paperback)
  14. Terrier, May 8, 246
  15. Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 37; Random House hardcover)
  16. Random Buzz; "Bloodhound!!! **Spoilers**"; April 16, 2009

See also

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