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What Kind of Cat Breed Was Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter? Movie Facts

black tabby cat on a catio
Image Credit: Pixnio
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Ed Malaker

The “Harry Potter” series, written by J.K. Rowling, has captivated readers and moviegoers worldwide with its enchanting story and memorable characters. One such character is Professor Minerva McGonagall, the strict yet wise Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While she is known for her stern demeanor and exceptional magical abilities, another aspect of her character that has piqued fans’ interest is her Animagus form, which is a cat. Many wonder what kind of cat she turns into. The book and films describe her as a tabby cat, so keep reading as we explain what breed that is and provide other interesting facts that will help you be better informed.

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What Kind of Cat Is Professor Minerva McGonagall?

Professor Minerva McGonagall is described in the books as having an Animagus form of a tabby cat. A tabby is a type of coat pattern, not a specific breed. Other common cat coat patterns include solid, tortoiseshell, calico, pointed, and bicolor. In many cases, when there is no mention of a specific breed for a tabby cat, they are a common domestic shorthair cat, which has no documented history. They are generally the result of many generations of breeding with other cats in the same region and are essentially the “mutt” of the cat world.

a tabby cat sitting on the windowsill
Image Credit: Xseon, Shutterstock

What Is the Tabby Pattern?

The tabby pattern is one of the most common coat patterns found in cats, and you can identify it easily by looking at the cat’s face: You should see an “M” on their forehead. The pattern can come in various colors, and there are several types, including the classic tabby pattern with swirling stripes on the sides of the body and the mackerel tabby pattern with thin parallel lines. The spotted tabby has the stripes broken up into small, distinct spots that can vary in size and shape. Professor Minerva McGonagall appears to be a classic grey tabby with black stripes.

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Other Cats in Harry Potter


Crookshanks is a half-Kneazle, half-cat hybrid owned by Hermione Granger. He plays a significant role in the third book, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and helps Harry and his friends unravel the mysteries surrounding Sirius Black. In the films, Crookshanks is played by a ginger tabby Persian cat.

Mrs. Norris

Mrs. Norris is the loyal cat companion of Argus Filch, the caretaker at Hogwarts, and she often patrols the hallways alongside Filch, acting as an extra set of eyes and ears. In the movies, a series of Maine Coon cats played the part.

a tabby maine coon cat at home
Image Credit: Daniel Zopf, Unsplash

Interesting Facts

  • The cat that played Professor Minerva McGonagall ran away during filming but luckily, returned a few days later.
  • In the films, you can see that Crookshanks suffers from a tear duct overflow, which is a common problem for Persian cats due to their flat faces.
  • In the books, Mrs. Norris is described as scrawny and small, but the Maine Coon breed is one of the largest cats, often weighing 25 pounds or more. According to reports, multiple cats had to play the role of Mrs. Norris, as they often became uncooperative or disinterested during filming.
  • Author J.K. Rowling revealed that her real cat inspired the character of Crookshanks. The cat was highly intelligent and seemed to have a special ability to sense and recognize suspicious or untrustworthy individuals.
  • Cats are often associated with mystery, independence, and intuition. In many cultures, they are symbols of wisdom and magic. These qualities resonate with McGonagall’s character, who is wise and intuitive and possesses extraordinary magical abilities.

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Professor Minerva McGonagall is a tabby cat, but there is no mention of her specific breed in the books or the films, though she is likely a domestic shorthair cat. During filming, the cat that played Professor McGonagall ran away and was missing for a few days, but luckily, she came back so filming could continue. Several other great cats have played parts in the “Harry Potter” movies, including Crookshanks, a ginger tabby Persian cat that was Hermione Granger’s pet, and Mrs. Norris, a Maine Coon.

Featured Image Credit: Pixnio

About the Author

Ed Malaker
Ed Malaker
Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.

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