In the Harry Potter movies, Crookshanks was portrayed by two Persian cats. They were both red Persians: Crackerjack, a male, and Pumpkin, a female. The primary feline actor behind Crookshanks was Pumpkin, who was known for her adorable and distinctive features that closely resembled the character described in J.K. Rowling’s books. So, when you watch the Harry Potter films, most likely you will be watching Pumpkin in action!
Curious to learn more about Persian cats? Read on, Harry Potter fans, read on!
What Is a Persian Cat?
Persian cats are medium-sized cats, often recognized for their long coats. Persians do have different facial features. There is the “doll face” Persian with a more pointed face and the Persian with a more squished face. Crookshanks (played by Pumpkin) had a flatter face, but this does not take away from her cuteness!
Flat-faced Persian cats may have excessive tearing due to their facial structure. Tearing can stain their fur if it is not taken care of regularly. This means that they will need their face cleaned more often than the doll-face Persian.
All About Pumpkin
Pumpkin’s long, luxurious fur and squashed face, classic features of the Persian breed, were a perfect match for the role of Crookshanks. Her expressive golden eyes and bushy tail completed the enchanting look that fans of the series had come to love. Pumpkin’s performance brought to life Crookshanks’ unique personality and quirks, from her aloof yet endearing demeanor to her keen intuition and loyalty to Hermione.
Pumpkin was a former rescue cat adopted by a cat enthusiast named Donna McCormick. She was about 10 years old when she was picked to portray Crookshanks. Many of her features matched what readers had envisioned reading the books except for one thing: she wasn’t quite scruffy and unkempt enough. To make her look more authentic, Pumpkin (and Crackerjack) were back-combed every day and the fluff was shaped into hairballs that were gently and safely reattached to Pumpkin. This gave her more of the look that matched Crookshanks’ personality.
After filming for the movies, Pumpkin and Ms. McCormick moved to the Isle of Man in the British Isles and lived in quiet luxury until Pumpkin passed away. Ms. McCormick has said that Pumpkin never gave up her film star lifestyle; she turned up her nose at any meal other than lamb, chicken, and sparkling water.
The Legacy of Pumpkin and Crookshanks
Pumpkin’s portrayal of Crookshanks in the Harry Potter movies left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans worldwide. Her performance not only captured the essence of the character but also helped emphasize the importance of magical creatures and their unique roles in the wizarding world.
Crookshanks, with Pumpkin as her real-life counterpart, symbolizes the magic that exists not just in spells and potions but also in the connection between humans and animals. Their legacy continues to remind us that every pet, whether magical or muggle, has the potential to bring joy, love, and wonder into our lives.
Pumpkin, a real-life Persian cat, was a perfect choice for bringing the beloved character of Crookshanks to life on the big screen. Through her enchanting performance, Pumpkin added depth and charm to the magical world of Harry Potter, making her a beloved star in her own right. Pumpkin became an enduring symbol of the magical bond between humans and their faithful feline companions (much to Ron Weasley’s chagrin!).