Dr. Cat, from Ultima VI
This article is about the in-world character in the Ultima game series. For the game designer, see Dr. Cat (David Shapiro).
Warriors of Destiny
Dr. Cat could first be encountered by the Avatar during Blackthorn's reign, working the bar of Paws' lone tavern, The Cat's Lair, well into the night. There, he offered services typical of the era's other drinking establishments, while affording little discussion with the hero outside his capacity as a bartender. He did, however, appear to sit and engage with the magician Bandaii for a short time each evening, during which the bar would be closed. Adventurer Glinkie also seemed a particularly familiar patron, stopping by twice daily and even allowed to partake of a dawn meal as the barman slept.
The False Prophet
Dr. Cat maintained his business to success for at least twenty years thereafter, continuing its operation throughout the gargoyle incursion that unsettled Britannia in the late Age of Enlightenment. Having returned to the realm during this period, the Avatar could find the Lair's proprietor surrounded by a number of feline companions as he tended the bar, and approaching him soon made apparent his predilection for mimicking their vocalizations.
By this time an affable conversationalist, Dr. Cat spoke fondly of Paws and advocated its ideal location for his tavern, being situated equidistantly along the highly traveled King's Way—the thoroughfare linking Britain and Trinsic—and accordingly enjoying regular patronage. To this end, he was able to make acquaintance with a number of locals and visitors alike: Patrick, the Lair's house bard; town artisans Thindle and Mortude; Kytyn, the curator of Britain's Royal Museum; and the traveling bard, Mandrake, who included The Cat's Lair among his regular tour of performances.
As well, the tavernkeeper was familiar with two gypsy bands who frequented the King's Way, respectively led by self-proclaimed kings Arturos and Zoltan, and cautioned against mistaking them. While regarding Arturos' company—camped north of Trinsic—to be a group of swindlers, Dr. Cat seemed amiable toward Zoltan's roaming band; in particular, he had come to consider Taynith the seer his dearest friend, and would even close The Cat's Lair for the duration of her regular stopovers. If prompted by the Avatar at Taynith's suggestion, Dr. Cat would recount a wager between the two, in which the gypsy bet against his ability to catch a duck barehanded. Succeeding, however, the bartender then leashed the bird and gifted it to Taynith as a pet.
Dr. Cat was partial to games as a pastime, although felt Thindle and Mortude's simple game of flippets lacked the intellectual complexity of his preferred entertainment, Nim. Nim consisted of players progressively subtracting 1–3 glass beads from a starting total of 10, which ensured Dr. Cat could never lose as long as he played first. The cunning man would take bets as large as 50 gold pieces from the Avatar, but was willing to indulge in a round for free. In discussing games, he also spoke of his desire to own a copy of Snilwit's Big Book of Boardgame Strategy; should the hero have possession of it and accept, Dr. Cat would eagerly purchase the tome for 200 gold pieces.
Ultima V: Lazarus
Immediately recognizing the Avatar in Ultima V: Lazarus, Dr. Cat was proud to tell the hero that he helped looked after the cats of Paws, and merely ran a tavern as a means of paying the bills, telling the hero how had bought and renamed the Folley Tavern from Rob before the previous tavernkeep moved to a new location. The strangely feline man was enamored with the cats of the town, and spoke at length of his affection for the animals, saying he believed Lord British's virtues should also apply to Britannia's treatment of animals. Still, with Blackthorn's recent rigid interpretation of the virtues with his Ethics, Dr. Cat felt all hope was lost for improving the treatment of cats throughout the land. He believed that Ferru, who benefited from selling his horses to the Oppression and spying for them, was not necessarily an evil man, just one who was ignorant of the true intentions of the Oppression and was blinded by the profit to be made by serving them.
After speaking to Windfer, Dr. Cat mentioned the recent disappearance of his serving girl Kitten, having a hard time understanding would could have happened to the sweet young girl. The distraught tavernkeeper asked the hero to talk to all the citizens of Paws to see if anyone knew of her fate, ultimately learning that the young girl had been arrested due to Ferru's influence. The Avatar could finally discover the fate of Kitten by traveling to Wrong, and there in the first chest of the dungeon was Kitten's brooch. The hero could then choose to tell Dr. Cat that the young girl had been imprisoned and tortured to death. Horrified by this knowledge, Dr. Cat bade the hero to talk to Ferru, and let the stablemaster know the true consequences of his flirtations with the Oppression.
The Ultima 6 Project
In The Ultima 6 Project, Dr. Cat mentioned that recently a small farmer's home in Paws had been burnt by a suspected Gargoyle war party, and the family killed. Dr. Cat recommended the hero talk to the Tower Guard for more information about the deaths of Dugan, Amarus, and Kier. The tavernkeeper felt that the father Dugan had been an angry sort who blamed everyone else for his problems. With the arrival of the Gargoyles, he held these creatures to blame for his lot in life, and would often get drunk at the tavern and start to belligerently yell about sending them all back from whence they came. Amarus, his wife had been cold-hearted as well, and Dr. Cat noted that none of the womenfolk had been able to develop a friendship with her. Dugan, their child had been disturbed as well. Upon further investigation, the Avatar learned that the family had actually died due to an unfortunate accident, and Dr. Cat felt that perhaps their burning hatred had indirectly led to their death.
Dr. Cat mentioned that Ferru, whom the hero had met in Ultima V: Lazarus, had disappeared shortly after Lord British's return from the Underworld. The tavernkeeper suspected it had been another member of the Oppression looking to silence Ferru. However, he didn't like to talk too much of the past, as the wounds still hadn't healed properly.
If the Avatar brought a book about the fight of Gertan against the dragon Freitag at the suggestion of the warrior, Dr. Cat would be thankful, rewarding the Avatar for the find. Also, after the Avatar won enough times at Nim, he would admit defeat and stop playing with the Avatar.
Runes of Virtue
In the Runes of Virtue series for the Nintendo Game Boy, Dr. Cat is depicted as an anthropomorphic cat-like creature, who would offer many useful hints for the hero.
He would also appear again in Runes of Virtue II, where he operated the bar in Jhelom. He at first insisted the hero make a wish at the local wishing well, but after Lord Zellivan's kidnapping, he admitted the crime had been good for business because many citizens now frequented his pub to talk about their loss.
- Dr. Cat is the in-game counterpart of David Shapiro, programmer of the Commodore 64 and 128 ports of Ultima V and writer for Ultima VI. The character's name is an amalgamation of Shapiro's first two online aliases, Dr. Who and Samurai Cat, and is also his professional pseudonym.
- If she is present, Dr. Cat will jest with Sherry the Mouse by calling her food for his pet cats.
- In The Ultima 6 Project, Dr. Cat will let the Avatar take the first stone every second game of nim. This allows the hero to make considerable gold because they can bet high when they play first, but bet low when Dr. Cat plays first. After losing about 4,000 gold, Dr. Cat will no longer play against the Avatar.
- Though never incorporated into game materials, David Shapiro's head canon for his alter ego in the Ultimas was a "traveller who had come to Britannia the same way Lord British and the Avatar had. Only he didn't come from Earth. He's originally from Kasuria, the world that my game Furcadia is set in. He has also visited other dimensions besides Kasuria and Britannia."
- Dr. Cat. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "job, patr, visi, paws".
- Dr. Cat. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "game, thin, mort, purr, kyty, mand".
- Patrick. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "stor, cat".
- Mandrake. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "tave, cat".
- Dr. Cat. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "tayn, gyps, zolt, king".
- Dr. Cat. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "duck".
- Dr. Cat. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "game, inte".
- Dr. Cat. Ultima VI Transcript. Ultima VI. "play, snil".
- Dr. Cat. Ultima V: Lazarus Regional Profiles. Ultima V: Lazarus.
- Windfer. Ultima V: Lazarus Regional Profiles. Ultima V: Lazarus.
- Shapiro, David. "AMA with Dr. Cat". Reddit. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
- Shapiro, David. "Question for Dr. Cat". Facebook. 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2017-02-07.