7.31.2016

The cats of Hogwarts.

(Originally published July 17, 2012 6:09 PM)


I've been doing a lot of unnecessary thinking.

And a lot of math.

When asked during an interview, JK Rowling once stated that there are about a thousand students studying at Hogwarts at any given time. And that's nice to assume, because it's very easy to picture Hogwarts as a huge, bustling city of its own. But given the information in the books, I don't think this is accurate.

There's a lot of disagreeing evidence, but the consensus is that there are many less students. For instance, if there were a thousand students at Hogwarts, there would be 250 students per house and 36 per year in each house (assuming that the split is fairly even). I don't know about you, but I distinctly remember exactly eight students mentioned to be in Harry's year in Gryffindor: Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Lavender, Dean, Seamus and Parvati. Did she just forget to mention the other 28 students? And furthermore, in the books, during a double potions class, there are 20 cauldrons set up on desks: ten for Gryffindor, ten for Slytherin (Bear with me. This is going somewhere, I promise).

This suggests that there are about 10 students per year in each house, which would add up to 280 students total. But that's a drastic reduction from JK Rowling's guess of one thousand, so I'm willing to be lenient, and propose that in any given house, the number of students per year could potentially vary between 10 and 20. Which (using the higher limit) could bring the final total up to 560 students at Hogwarts.

Phew! I'm out of figurative breath. Sorry that took so long.

So basically, 560 total students. Got that? Kay good. So now it's time to get down to the real point of this post. The cats.

We know that students are allowed to bring one pet to school with them. This pet can be either an owl, cat, or toad.

It would probably be safe to assume that given the choice, most students would rather have an owl because they seem to be the most useful. But the school provides owls for student use, so a personal owl isn't absolutely necessary. And owls are probably more expensive than the other two types of animals. So using this information, I estimate that about 30 percent of the students (170 out of 560) own owls.

Only one student's toad is mentioned in the book, and we know this to be Trevor, who belongs to Neville. This toad is quite a lot of trouble for Neville, for it is forever running away. And Neville, for a good portion of the series, is pretty lame. The fact that he has a toad enhances this. No one chooses to have a toad. You get stuck with a toad. Considering this, I have concluded that maybe 20 students have toads (and I think I'm being generous).

There are probably a fair amount who don't own pets at all. I think about 180 students thought that a pet would be too much of a burden, which leaves 190 students...

Of course, we must consider those students who don't follow rules and smuggle in other pets not mentioned on the school supplies list. Ron has Scabbers. Lee Jordan has a tarantuala. I think it's safe to assume that a couple Slytherins brought their snakes. And a rabbit or turtle wouldn't be too hard to hide. So maybe 40 students brought contraband animals.

Which leaves us with 150 students. One. Hundred. Fifty. students could potentially own cats. There could potentially be 150 cats roaming around Hogwarts at any time.  This is a lot of cats.


Cats are well-liked throughout the world and rank sufficiently higher than a lot of animals on the "cuteness scale". I don't think this number is far-fetched.

So think about it. We know that cats are basically allowed to go wherever they please. Just look at Crookshanks and his many a midnight stroll with Sirius/Snuffles, the dog. Cats can roam freely without a second look. I don't know about you, but I find this to be a cause for concern.

Let me just tell you, when there is a stray cat on my college campus, it's like Christmas. Everyone knows the cat. The cat is given 300 different names. The cat is picked up, pet, fed, even taken inside the buildings.

People love cats.

If there were 150 cats just prowling Hogwarts' halls, students would never get to class. They would sit all day playing with the cats and conjuring up mice for the cats to chase. There would be cats in the library, cats in the Great Hall, cats in classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens… Cats in the astronomy tower, cats in Hagrid's pumpkin patch, cats in the Room of Requirement… And everywhere you go, you would have to pet the cats. Because cats control peoples' minds.

And the bigger dilemma is, people would trip over the cats.

I know Hogwarts is a big place, but with 150 cats spread out all over it, you are bound to walk past at least five in a day. And if you were in a hurry, and had to rush to Potions because Professor Snape hinted that if you were late one more time he would slip some swelling solution into your pumpkin juice, it's not impossible to imagine that you would run by a few cats without noticing them. And because cats are stealthy and like to cause humans pain, they would probably strategically place themselves directly in your path. And then you would fall to your death (or extreme injury) and break your glass vials and brass scales, and the cat would walk away unscathed, because magical cats really do have nine lives.


We know this has happened because I spent way too long proving it.


So we can't overlook the cold hard truth: Harry has tripped over the cats.


And I'm a little outraged knowing this. Because JK Rowling never thinks to mention it.

I'm no "boy who lived" so I guess my problems aren't as "pressing" as Harry's, but if I tripped over three cats daily on my way to Charms, you can be sure I would write about it in the story of my life. I think that's something worth mentioning. Even if you just alluded to the monontony of it to add a bit of contrast like,

"Harry couldn't believe it. He was the seventh horcrux. Voldmort's soul had latched on to him. He had to die. But he would make sure he died for everyone he loved. Nothing but pure determination filled his mind as he tripped over yet another cat on his way into the forest to meet Voldemort and his last few breaths."

I don't know, I would have appreciated the honesty.


38 comments:

  1. The almost sad but actually brilliant part of this is that you've put so much effort in to it, and your numbers are probably quite correct. I assumed that for the most part cats were kept in the dorms but Crookshanks found a way out, and he was occasionally in the common room with Hermione. There were an awful lot of cats at that school though, that is for sure, and someone must have fallen over them somewhere.

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    1. Well I can always count on you to bring me back down to earth

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    2. This is what true Harry Potter fans do Mark. It's awesome and far from sad! But tell us how you really feel, I'm sick of reading your comments where you just regurgitate what the writer has written!

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  2. Lexie, you are awesome! Not once did I think of this at all! How naive of me to believe that Crookshanks was the only cat at Hogwarts!

    I particularly like the idea of students bringing contraband pets in!

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    1. I always wondered why no one said anything to Ron about Scabbers. Because rats are gross and SO not on the list.

      I do also believe one of Harry's kids was seen with a ferret in the last scene of the movie. Basically a GIANT RAT.

      Some things are contraband for a reason...

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  3. Hahaha you're adorable. Why no one else has ever written something like this blows my mind. Neville kind of got cool and competent and stopped being comedic relief...tripping over cats totally should have been the new Neville!

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    1. Yes! I love that Neville became incredibly awesome. It just shows that having a toad really isn't the end of the line… success is still possible and you can overcome it! lol

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  4. I love that you wrote a post about this. You are awesome.

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    1. Shanks!! You are awesome as well :)

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  5. I already want to be in Hogwarts right now (who doesn't!?), and your cat math has amplified my need for Hagrid to bash down my door and hand me a letter. Cats are awesome, you've just gotta chose one on Pottermore. Nobody wants a toad... :P

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    1. I'm glad my cat math brought you such yearning!

      Oh but unfortunately I picked an Owl on Pottermore because Owls are my favorite, but now I really wish I would have chosen a CAT =)

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  6. I was thinking about this post all day and I wanted to ask, is Katie Bell and Padma Patil in Harry's year? I honestly can't remember lol

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    1. Well Padma is in Harry's year, but she's in Ravenclaw, and Katie is in Gryffindor, but she's a year older :)

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    2. Ahh okay, thanks for that! Why were Padma and Parvati in the Gryffindor common room in HP4 (movie) then?!

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    3. I don't know. I think they just didn't feel like casting another person, so they kind of turned Lavender into Padma…of course…for the sixth movie they realized that they had to cast Lavender anyway lol

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  7. I can say with 560% certainty that I have never once called to mind the obvious over-abundance of cats at Hogwarts. Your posts are like my bloggy crack.

    Loved this. Especially the little modified snippet at the end. Clearly cut out by editors. The world needs to know about the cats! :p

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    1. hahaha I cracked up at "bloggy crack". You are my favorite.

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  8. This is amazing. And not sad. But definitely brilliant. How do you think like this when reading it? I just think, "Oliver Wood sounds really hot. I love accents."

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    1. I'm glad YOU don't think I'm a depressed lame fool who sits in her room counting cats…. even though SOMEONE does…. heehee

      It's totally fine. When Cormac McLaggen comes about I totally forget everything I know and just think "He stands for everything I hate…but damn. Boy is hot." So there you go :)

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  9. I love this so much that I want to come back to Ohio and hug you. I literally love it so much. like. Forever.

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    1. YOU SHOULD LITERALLY COME BACK TO OHIO BECAUSE IT'S BORING WITHOUT YOU AND AVATAR

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  10. Mind blown. You are so right. Not to mention brilliant.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you agree with me. Nothing is better than having wonderful supporters of your harebrained rants! This makes my day!

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  11. I love you sometimes. You're completely right. And the absence of cats is slightly disturbing; maybe we've discovered what house-elves eat? ;) ♥

    Sarah ^.^

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  12. This is amazing..and so technical. I never thought about other characters pets, let alone the lack of cats mentioned. I mean Crookshanks and Mrs Norris really hog the spotlight!!? Xxx

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  13. Haha, there really are very few cats, I'd never really noticed that! :P x

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  14. This is a really good post. If there were 150 cats at Hogwarts and they just roamed freely around the school, I would just take one and hope that no one would notice (like anyone would notice anyway)

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  15. That's a very good logical thinking, you know :) Firstly, the math is impressing and also how you came to the conclusion about cats. At least now we know who discovers all the secrets in Hogwarts :)

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  16. Umm.. wow.
    I haven't read harry potter but I know a lot of people who have and none of them have analysed the number of students :P

    Hahahaha omg you're amazing.
    (I just read your pets analogy.)

    Definitely following your blog :D

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  17. I am loving this post! partly because I have an obsession with searching for cats on the internet, they are just too funny! How on earth would they get any work done if there were that many cats all in one place!?!

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  18. I'm in love with you. First time visiting, first post and BOOM. Love.

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  19. Just started following your blog and find it delightful. This post in particular has me cracking up. Love it. Excited for more posts, on all subjects, HP or no!

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  20. Omg. Thank you for writing this. I love that someone actually took the time to do the math. I was brushing my teeth today and thinking about Hogwarts and cats. I googled it then stumbled upon this blog post. Safe to say, this made my day.

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  21. So, I came back to find this post after reading it on Pinterest once. First off, the math and time in this is brilliant, and it is surprising how few cats are talked about in the books. However, two possible solutions. First, owls were/are the main form of communication in the wizard world- this was before cell phones and main stream internet (remember Harry was at Hogwarts in the 90s). Also the wizarding world don't use many common place "muggle" items and technology. Thus it makes sense for communication purposes, student were more likely to have owls despite the popularity of cats. Second, the basilisk had to eat something while in the chamber of secrets for the thousand or so years. Though the chamber was "closed" we could assume there was still smaller ventilation pipes which rodents and cats could have gotten through and sadly have become basilisk food- why else would they have fallen on a big pile of bones when first jumping into the chamber. Just my two sense on this otherwise brilliant observation!

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