We first meet Crookshanks in the third installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in the magical pet shop, the Magical Menageri. Crookshanks is a most fascinating creature. He appears to be a large ginger cat with a squashed flat face and bottle-brush tail. He belongs to Hermione. Crookshanks is part Kneazle, which accounts for his unusual intelligence and his ability to identify suspicious characters, most notablyPeter Pettigrew when disguised as Scabbers, Ron’s pet rat. But he also recognizes and disapproves of cheating, judging by the way he stared at Ron and Harry when they were making up answers on their Divination homework. But he can also be a normal cat, one to chase gnomes in the yard, or simply play with a ball of string. Because of the cat’s attitude toward his pet rat, Ron disliked Crookshanks intensely when Hermione ought him. However, once the cat’s true nature and intentions became clear (and when Scabbers’ did as well), Ron accepted Crookshanks and even held up Pigwidgeon (Pig for short), his new owl, up to the cat for approval. JK Rowling says this about how she thought of Crookshanks:
” When I was working in London in the late 1980s I used to eat my lunch in a nearby square on sunny days and a large, fluffy ginger cat that looked as though it had run face-first into a wall used to prowl around the sunbathers there; I assume it lived in a nearby house. I didn’t ever get close enough to give myself an asthma attack, but I became distantly fond of this cat, which prowled among the humans around it looking disdainful and refusing to be stroked. When I decided to give Hermione an unusually intelligent cat I gave him the appearance of this haughty animal, with the slightly unfair addition of bandy legs.”
Poor Crookshanks, he still gets picked on in the movies and in the books my non other, Ronald Weasley. But you will never find a more intelligent pet than our dear old Crookshanks. You can find more information on Kneazles in JK Rowling’s rendition of Newt Sacamanadar’s Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them on Amazon.com.