Why Cats Are a Squib’s Soulmate
Have you ever noticed that Squibs seem to have a peculiar affinity for cats? Both of the Squibs with whom we become acquainted in the Harry Potter series seem especially attached to their furry friends. Is this just a coincidence, or is there actually an underlying reason that cats and Squibs seem to be made for one another?
Argus Filch, the cantankerous Hogwarts caretaker, is probably the best-known Squib in the Potter series. He is notorious not only for his unflappable determination to enforce school rules but also for his affection for his cat, Mrs. Norris, who is nearly as dedicated to catching rule breakers as he is.
The other famous Squib from the Potter series is, of course, Arabella Figg, Harry’s seemingly nutty neighbor. Mrs. Figg also displays a remarkable affection for her feline friends when she bores young Harry nearly to death, sharing pictures with him of her many, many cats.
Harry knew he ought to feel sorry that Mrs. Figg had broken her leg, but it wasn’t easy when he reminded himself it would be a whole year before he had to look at Tibbles, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty again.
So what is it exactly about Squibs and cats that makes them such perfect pals? Perhaps the answer lies not in what they are but in what they are not.
Squibs, as we know, are non-magical people born to wizarding parents. They are a part of the magical community, but they are not actually magical. They live on the edges of the wizarding world, discriminated against by many witches and wizards. They are made to feel by many as if they are something lesser than the rest of their magical brethren. As we see from his purchase of Kwikspell: A Correspondence Course in Beginners’ Magic, Filch desperately longs to be an equal member of the magical community and to be treated accordingly.
Cats, likewise, are the non-magical version of a magical creature closely related to them, which is known as the Kneazle. Kneazles are an incredibly intelligent version of a cat. They’ve even been known to be able to detect untrustworthiness in humans. We see this trait exemplified by Crookshanks in HBP, who is suspected to be part Kneazle. Kneazles are very similar in appearance to cats. They have plumed tails, like lions, and their fur is typically speckled, flecked, or spotted. Rowling confirmed on her website that Mrs. Figg took her love of cats to a whole new level and actually made her living by breeding Kneazles and part-Kneazles. Part-Kneazles are, of course, a combination of a Kneazle and a cat. Mrs. Norris, Filch’s cat, has often been suspected of being part Kneazle due to her apparent intelligence. Rowling, however, stated on her website that Mrs. Norris is “just a highly unpleasant cat.” That would certainly make her a match for the highly unpleasant Mr. Filch.
Cats and Squibs both have one very important thing in common: They are related to magical beings, but they themselves are not actually magical. Although cats are most likely unaware of this disparity, Squibs undoubtedly are not. No wonder they feel such an affinity to their feline counterparts! They identify with cats on a deeply emotional level. This is what makes a cat a Squib’s ultimate soulmate.
Do you think Squibs and cats are a magical match made in Heaven? Or do you think it’s just a coincidence that Filch and Figgy are both such avid cat lovers?