The Cat is a constellation that appears at the feet of the Goddess constellation in the night sky above Tortall. It is known to disappear from the sky periodically, for up to several decades at a time, which makes it a 'wanderer'. Presumably, this is when The Cat takes on corporeal form as a black-furred, violet-eyed cat who comes to the aid of mortals like Alanna of Trebond and Beka Cooper. The Cat has the same name in both the language of humans and that of crows. Although he would have the power to heal humans he wasn't allowed to do so. He considered human's magic, especially healing, clumsy.
In the Mortal Realms, the Cat is incarnated (presumably, born), as a kitten. Though he possesses magical abilities, he is mortal in this form and can be killed.
The Cat first appeared as Pounce, the companion of Beka Cooper in 242 HE. Nearly 200 years later, in 434 HE, the Goddess sent Faithful, an identical incarnation of the Cat, to aid and protect Alanna of Trebond. The Cat's activities between these two times are unknown.
When Daine visited the Divine Realms in 452 HE, she observed The Great Mother Goddess shooing a black, purple-eyed cat off of her throne. Presumably this is The Cat when he is not in his mortal form.
It is unknown what purpose the Cat serves, other than aiding mortals, or if he is the only constellation capable of assuming a corporeal form.
Faithful was sent by the Goddess to aid and protect Alanna of Trebond. He took the form of a small, short-haired black cat with violet eyes identical in color to Alanna’s.
Alanna meets and names the cat Faithful shortly after becoming a squire. Faithful saved Alanna's life several times, and he accompanied her on her adventures for many years. In 439 HE he was killed by Josiane Rittevon in the Coronation Day Battle.
Pounce is Beka Cooper's cat. She found him in the stable loft while living in the Lord Provost's house. He often accompanies her on her rounds as a Provost's Guard and sometimes uses his magic to help defend her and apprehend lawbreakers. However, this also causes some trouble for Beka, sometimes. His calls to tell her where criminals are have repeatedly caused Beka to be injured, leading to the highest healer's bill of all puppies in her year. Although he might be considered a pet he has a will of his own and even uses his magic to disobey Beka, at least he does so when she tells him to stay at home and locks him in.
Pounce gets along well with Beka's friends and fellow dogs. However, after being petted and cosseted for a little too long, he found kittens for Aniki Forfrysning and Koramin Ingensra, so they would leave him alone. Pounce can speak the languages of other animals as well, as seen when he soothes Achoo when the hound first comes to Beka.
Pounce is particularly fond of cheese, although it doesn't improve his breath.
On Midwinter of 246/247 HE Pounce saved Matthias Tunstall's live. After this Tunstall called him hestaka, which means wise-one in his native tongue, Hurdik. Pounce seemed to particularly like being addressed such.
Pounce leaves Beka for a time in September of 247 HE because some of the younger constellations make trouble and he has to work things out with them. However, he returns to Beka by the time she finishes her assignment in Port Caynn.
In 249 HE Pounce accompanies Beka and her friends on their search for the kidnapped prince. During this hunt Pounce uses his magic to heal Achoo and is later punished by the Great Gods to 100 years as a constellation.
When acting as Faithful, the Cat often balances out Alanna's fiery temper and recklessness. When with Beka, he frequently vexes her with displays of his independence and magical qualities. He is a very loyal companion to both of the mortals whom he has befriended, and often fights for them. Although he was mentioned chasing after 'real or imaginary prey' in The Song of the Lioness Quartet, he does not kill or eat mice in Beka's books, and calls them his 'little brothers'.
He is far more mysterious about his true identity in The Song of the Lioness, and it is only hinted that he is actually a constellation after his death in Lioness Rampant. Whenever his unusual qualities are remarked upon, he ignores it, or Alanna brushes it off. However, in Beka's time, he corrects people who call him a god, saying that he is in fact a constellation, and Beka refers to him at least once as her 'constellation cat'. It is unclear why he is so secretive two hundred years later. This could be a choice of Pierce's, possibly because readers familiar with Alanna's story will already know or infer that Pounce and Faithful are the same cat, and that he is not mortal. Or perhaps in the two hundred years between his adventures with Beka and Alanna, he changed his mind about the way he interacts with mortals.
- 'Pounce' was a name suggested for Faithful by one of Alanna's friends (Jonathan).
- Not even Tamora Pierce knows what Pounce was up to while he was away in Bloodhound. He was using sounds not even she understands, in electron or gamma ray.
- As Faithful in The Song of the Lioness-quartet: In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant
- As Pounce in the Beka Cooper-trilogy: Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff
- ↑ Terrier, April 22, 246 (p. 353; Random House paperback)
- ↑ Trickster's Choice, Cp. 15 (p. 353; Random House paperback)
- ↑ Bloodhound, September 23, 247 I (p. 518; Random House hardcover)
- ↑ Terrier, April 1, 246 (p. 23; Random House paperback) [Beka says Pounce showed up four years ago]
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 http://www.tamora-pierce.com/faq_timeline.html
- ↑ TROTG, Chp 10
- ↑ Terrier, April 1, 246 (p. 36; Random House paperback)
- ↑ Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 38; Random House hardcover)
- ↑ Terrier, April 1, 246 (p. 35; Random House paperback)
- ↑ Terrier, May 8, 246
- ↑ Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 54; Random House hardcover)
- ↑ Terrier, May 13, 246 (p. 555; Random House paperback)
- ↑ Bloodhound, September 8, 247 (p. 37; Random House hardcover)
- ↑ Random Buzz; "Bloodhound!!! **Spoilers**"; April 16, 2009