Origins of the Starvelling Cat [Spoilers]

A thought occurred to me today, regarding the origins of that most infamous of felines. I would first warn that this topic likely involve reference to certain of the more interesting secrets of Fallen London, and that anyone who has not yet delved into the mysteries of the Starveling Cat or Mr Eaten would be wise to leave now.

It’s commonly acknowledged that the Starveling Cat is connected to a certain eaten gentleman, whose influence is no doubt to blame for it’s current state, and that said gentleman assumed his current state sometime during the second city. It is from these assumptions, ones which have been discussed in great detail elsewhere and by others far more eloquent than I, that I shall work from.

Now, some of you may have heard the following rhyme: "Starveling Kitty! Starveling Kitty! Ruled the roofs of five stolen cities!". Normally I would not put much stock in such rumours, but there are many such rhymes about the Starveling Cat and they all have had the gleam of truth to them, judging from my experiences with the foul beast. If this is true, it raises a curious question, and one I have yet to see voiced;

If the Starveling Cat has indeed lived through five cities, what was it like during the first city, before Mr Eaten entered into his current state?

I turn the floor to you, delicious friends.

T.W.O. Chandler
~For Secrets are their own reward
edited by T.W.O. Chandler on 1/10/2012

Maybe the cat made Mr. Eaten what he is. I also just thought that Starveling Cat was just a high rank demon. Maybe even the devil its self. That’s my two cents.

Hm. I believe I posted a theory about the origins of the Starveling Cat on the TV Tropes Wild Mass Guessing page. I’ll repost it here:

One of the sidebars talks about the story of a man who cooked a pan of Neath-snow, being told that he would get white glim for his trouble. Instead, he got strange white goo. His cats tasted it when he left it unattended. One of them died outright, and it does not say what happened to the other one – only that something so terrible happened to it that the man locked it in his cellar and says he does not imagine he will let it out, ever. While saying that that cat is the Starveling Cat may be a bit of a stretch, perhaps it’s a roundabout way of showing that a similar fate befell it? Perhaps the reason the cat had to be locked up was because it went mad from the revelation.

Also, that’s a very interesting theory, Cubethulhu.

How wonderful. I was always curious as to why such a grand feline should always be so hungry. Does one learn all this upon possessing the cat, or…?

[color=rgb(0, 0, 0)]Mr. Eaten’s origins, or more specifically how he ended up as he is now, are strongly hinted to lie with [color=rgb(255, 255, 255)]an incident in the second city involving [/color][color=rgb(255, 255, 255)]"[/color][/color]The tall man’s daughters. The city of granite. The drowning" [color=rgb(0, 0, 0)][color=rgb(255, 255, 255)]among other things. Drowning in a well is the element we can be most certain of, though the specifics of the thing are still quite mysterious.[/color][/color] Either way, the available evidence indicates that things are probably the other way around, and that Mr. Eaten made the cat what he is. The only evidence we have that the Starveling cat had any notable traits prior to it’s exposure to Mr. Eaten, is the rhyme mentioned in my original post that talks about it being present for the first city.

Oh course, there is the possibility that one of the assumptions I was making - that Mr. Eaten has his origins in the second city - is incorrect. This would explain how the the Starveling Cat could have been present through all five fallen cities. On the other hand, if it were so, it would take away the explanation for the Masters’ antipathy for the second city and all things Egyptian.

It does become quite apparent as you seek the name, a task which requires a number of starveling cats. [color=rgb(0, 0, 0)]The reason is[/color] [color=rgb(255, 255, 255)]that exposure to Mr. Eaten causes, among other things, one to develop a ferocious and nigh-insatiable appetite, as tracked by the Unaccountably Peckish menace. The Starveling Cat is linked to Mr. Eaten, and thus experiences similar effects. As the rhyme goes: "[/color]The Starveling Cat! The Starveling Cat! Jumped down the well for a good long chat!". [color=rgb(255, 255, 255)]Why such exposure to Mr. Eaten prompts this hunger is unknown, but it does.[/color]

I had come to suspect it, myself, that the two were related. Many thanks for the confirmation.

These are my musings on the origins of Starvling Cats, and thus completely fictional except for the parts that increase your nightmares. Please enjoy.

Mr. Eaten had advance warning that the other Masters would betray him, and so to protect his Heart from their Hunger he sealed it away in a certain box with 7 locks, each more difficult to open than the last. The 7th and final Key to his Heart he gave to the Kashmiri Princess(es). This is also why Mr. Stones and the other Masters tread lightly with her - their desire to get at Eaten’s Heart prevents them from doing anything that might cause the required Key to be forever lost.

Name Seekers, who have been known to act out the moments of Eaten’s Betrayal, wrap cats in 7 layers of boxes because unlike the Masters they cannot function without their own hearts in their proper places and thus would not be able to continue their foolish search. By the time the poor thing is finally released the influence of the search has made it Starveling.

“The starveling cat! The starveling cat! It knows what we think! And we don’t like that!”
Coupled with,
“The wretched thing follows you about and tells wicked lies!”

(Does anyone else think that perhaps the cats actually can see into our inmost thoughts, and the “wicked lies” they are speaking are actually the dark truths we don’t want to admit to everyone?)