Pumpkin the cat, the feline star of three Harry Potter films, has gotten used to a glamorous lifestyle.
The 10-year-old red persian has lived a rags-to-riches life. She was adopted from a Persian cat rescue center in the UK and made her debut as Hermione Granger’s pet cat Crookshanks in the movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, released in 2004.
Pumpkin’s trainer and caretaker, Donna McCormick-Smith of Douglas, a town on the Isle of Man, says that the cat has become quite the diva. She refuses to eat conventional cat food, preferring instead to snack on roast lamb and chicken, and she developed a taste for sparkling water while on the set.
McCormick-Smith was working as a trainer with Birds & Animals UK, a company that provides animals for blockbuster films, when there was a casting call for the role. Pumpkin was chosen for her looks and her ability to work in front of the camera.
The cat’s acting skills are so great that she has even crossed the gender divide to star in her role. Crookshanks is described as a tomcat with a “grumpy and oddly squashed face” that looked like he had “run headlong into a brick wall.”
Does Pumpkin have deep-seated self-esteem issues about being cast as a cat described in such an unflattering way? “She might have done,” says McCormick-Smith, “but she doesn’t anymore.”
She said Pumpkin enjoyed life as a movie star, and she even had her own dressing room — in the form of a travel crate. In makeup, she gladly settled in while her stylist back-combed her fur and added hairballs.
The cat had a good working relationship with Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley).
McCormick-Smith says Emma and Pumpkin “got on brilliantly.”
“The kids absolutely adored the animals,” she said.
Pumpkin has a natural talent. She was always able to sit nicely in scenes such as the journey on the Hogwarts Express train, which takes the students to school.
It took three to four months training to get Pumpkin ready for the role, McCormick-Smith says. “Its all about finding her favorite food and hers is lamb.”
Pumpkin was taught to run to her mark with the help of a treat on the end of a stick and a clicker for when she behaved.
Pumpkins involvement with the $6 billion Harry Potter franchise extended through the fourth and fifth films of the series. And while her stint with the Harry Potter films has ended, her career in front of the camera is not over yet.
Donna said she would like to do some work with Pumpkin for MannIN Shorts, an initiative based on the Isle of Man that will provide a short-film platform for hopeful filmmakers.[Source: Isle of Man Examiner]