8 famous book characters who were originally written as cats

1. Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series

In the first draft of Stephanie Meyer’s famous book, romantic interest Edward Cullen was originally conceived as a semi-feral cat that Bella finds under her car in the school parking lot and tries to tame and take home. In subsequent revisions, Edward was transformed into a vampire, but many of the original, feline-oriented scenes were left in the final publication.



2. Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit

Tolkien is well known for his extensive world-building notes. A recently discovered journal reveals that the great author originally planned to have the Shire populated by cats. It was only after he finished developing his other Middle Earth races that he changed the name of his Shire-dwellers from “feline” to the more original-sounding “hobbits.” Over the next few years, other changes followed so that today, the only remnant of Bilbo Baggins The Orange Tabby is the character’s catlike stealth and dislike of change.


Credit: SuperFan Builds

3. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Darcy was first developed by Jane Austen to be a cat – a pet whose presence and antagonistic relationship with narrator Elizabeth Bennet would be a microcosm of the larger Bennet family dramas. In later revisions, though, it became clear that in order to win a broader readership appeal, Austen needed to include more society balls and outing where a cat – adorable though he may be – would not be welcome.

Cat with Lady

Credit: Antoine Jean Bail, Portrait of a girl with cat


4. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird

At its earliest stages, the title of this beloved novel was a a direct reference to the story’s main plot point – it was to be a WWI suspense thriller in which Scout The Cat pursued a gang of mockingbirds who had stolen critical government documents to sell to the Germans. However, when the original outline was deemed too violent and out of step with the times, it was rewritten with an all-human cast and a new, more youth-friendly message of tolerance, family ties, and justice.


5. Jekyll and Hyde from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Originally penned by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson as mere observations of day-to-day cat behavior, the concept was ultimately transformed it into a psychological thriller that still lives in our imagination today, albeit with human characters.


Image source.

6. Paul Atreides from Dune  

Frank Herbert’s original magnum opus told the story of young noblecat Paul Atreides, whose feline family takes over ruling the sunny desert planet Arrakis. However, when the cover artist balked at the idea of drawing catworms, the story was simplified. All references to desert “mice” were subsequently changed to “spice.”


Image source.

7. Ender Wiggins from Ender’s Game

The ultimate faceoff between Earth’s felines and the insect-like alien invaders. However, with Laika, the first dog in space, giving canines a significant popularity bump in the ratings, this idea never got the traction it needed, and so was eventually scrapped.

cat vs bug

Image source.

8. Howard Roark from The Fountainhead

Years ahead of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the original draft of Ayn Rand’s masterpiece, “Fountaincat,” was crafted as an animal morality play with the independent, objectivist cats facing off against the pack-loving, communist dogs. Unfortunately, early beta readers failed to pick up on the philosophical drive of the novel, causing Ayn Rand to change the title and remove the animal references. The behaviors and character interactions of the protagonists, however, remain purely feline to this day.



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