Isle of Man is purrfect home for Harry Potter cat

By Visit Isle of Man on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 08:37

ONE of the stars of the Harry Potter films lives in Douglas. And it seems Pumpkin, who plays the world’s most famous moggy – Hermione’s pet cat Crookshanks – has got used to a celebrity lifestyle.

Pumpkin’s trainer and owner, Donna McCormick-Smith said since starring in the blockbusters the diva has refused to eat conventional cat food in favour of roast lamb and chicken.

And she has also developed a taste for sparkling water after a shortage of still water on set one day.

Donna, aged 30, of Victoria Road, was working as a trainer with Birds & Animals UK, which provides animals for blockbuster films, when there was a casting call for the role.

Pumpkin, a 10-year-old red Persian from a UK rescue centre for Persian cats, was chosen for her looks and her ability to work in front of the camera. Her acting skills mean she has crossed the gender divide!

Crookshanks’ starring role is in the third book and film of the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, released in 2004.

The tomcat is described as having a ‘grumpy and oddly squashed face’ which looked like he had ‘run headlong into a brick wall.’

Donna denied that Pumpkin, who also appeared in the fourth and fifth films, had a complex about such an unflattering description: ‘She might have done, but she doesn’t anymore.’

She said Pumpkin enjoyed life on set and even had her own dressing room, in the shape of a travel crate.
And in make up, she was happy for her fur to be back combed and furballs added.

In fact, Donna said Pumpkin’s contented purring caused problems for the sound crew.

She had a good working relationship with Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley).

Donna said Emma and Pumpkin ‘got on brilliantly’.

‘The kids absolutely adored the animals,’ she said.

Pumpkin was the perfect cat for sitting nicely, such as in scenes on the Hogwarts Express train, which takes the students to school.

But two other cats were brought in for shots such as the action scenes.

Donna said it took three to four months’ training a couple of sessions a day to get Pumpkin ready for the role.

‘It’s all about finding her favourite food and hers is lamb,’ she said.

She 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.

While Pumpkin’s involvement with the $6 billion Harry Potter franchise 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 island film making scheme MannIN Shorts.

Pumpkin, who plays the world’s most famous moggy – Hermione’s pet cat Crookshanks off Harry Potter.