Buttercup is Primrose Everdeen’s cat. Prim rescued Buttercup and brought him home to be raised by her family.

The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen, however, loathes Buttercup from the moment Prim brings him home. She does not want the additional mouth to feed and even attempts to drown him before he is rescued by Prim once again.

Buttercup Character Profile

  • Name: Buttercup
  • Age: Unknown
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of origin: The Seam, District 12 
  • Physical appearance: Squashed nose with eyes the color of rotting squash and a muddy coat.

Physical Description

Katniss describes Buttercup as a “hideous-looking cat.” Her sister, Prim, on the other hand, finds him cute.

Katniss describes Buttercup as having a nose that looks like it has been smashed in and eyes that are the color of rotten squash. He has a muddy yellow coat and half of his ear has been cut off. Katniss often calls him the “world’s ugliest cat.”


Early Life

Primrose finds Buttercup on the streets, severely malnourished and scraggly looking, and brings him home. She names him Buttercup as she believes his muddy yellow coat to resemble the bright yellow petals of the buttercup flower. However, Katniss despises Buttercup and attempts to drown him in the header tank, as she could not deal with another mouth to feed.

Buttercup has an extremely close relationship with Prim. He sleeps with her every day and provides her with emotional support when she gets nightmares. Eventually, Katniss begrudgingly admits he is beneficial to the family as he helps to control their rodent problem.

Catching Fire

Buttercup moves with Katniss and her family into her new house in the Victors’ Village. However, he does not like the new house and keeps returning to the old house in the Seam. Katniss bonds with him over this, and he eventually begins to sleep with Prim in the new house once again.


Buttercup manages to survive the bombing of District 12. Katniss finds him when she visits the remnants of her house and notices that he looks fat and healthy. She suspects that he might have survived by feeding on the corpses in District 12. She knows how much Buttercup means to her sister, and so, she stuffs him into her bag and brings him back to District 13 with her. Prim is overjoyed to see him.

Katniss negotiates for Prim to be able to keep Buttercup as a pet in District 13 by agreeing to become the Mockingjay only if her conditions are fulfilled. The leaders of the rebellion accept her terms and thereby move Katniss and her family into a room with a window to allow Buttercup to wander outside for a few hours every day.

During the lockdown of District 13, Prim realizes that Buttercup was not in the bunkers with them. Despite the great danger to herself, she goes looking for him. She finds him and runs back to the bunkers, and heads to safety only just in time with the help of Gale Hawthorne.

Crazy Cat: The Flashlight Game

In the bunker, Katniss invents the game “Crazy Cat” with Buttercup. She shines a light on the floor, and the walls as Buttercup frantically tries to capture the light with his hands. With little else to do, most people in the bunker are entertained by this game. 

However, Katniss soon begins to relate her own situation with President Snow and Peeta to the game and becomes upset. She thinks that President Snow is dangling her with the hope of being reunited with Peeta, just like she was providing hope to Buttercup that he could catch the light from the flashlight. Once she switches the light off, Buttercup looks confused for a while but soon regains his composure. Similarly, Katniss contemplates what she would do if President Snow removes the light from her life.

After the Rebellion

Primrose dies during the Second Rebellion, and Buttercup misses her terribly. Despite the great distance, he travels from District 13 to District 12 by himself in search of her. However, all he finds is Katniss in District 12. He soon realizes that Prim is no more and screams at Katniss upon this realization. Similarly, Katniss is struck with grief for her sister, and she takes it out on Buttercup. However, the two soon realize that they only have each other to remember Prim by and begin to get along.

Buttercup does not make an appearance in the epilogue. However, it can be presumed that he is dead, given the number of years that have passed.


Why did Katniss try to drown Buttercup?

Katniss deeply disliked Buttercup because she felt that he would be an additional burden on the family when food was already so scarce. She felt that her family would be better off without an additional mouth to feed.

Why did they change Buttercup in The Hunger Games

The director of the Hunger Games franchise, Francis Lawrence, recast Buttercup in Catching Fire at the request of Nina Jacobson (the producer) and Suzanne Collins (the author of the trilogy) herself. This is because they felt that the black and white cat that was first cast in the movie did not match the yellow ginger cat described in the books.

Who plays Buttercup in The Hunger Games?

Buttercup is played by a black and white tomcat in the first Hunger Games film. However, as this cat in the first film did not match the description of the cat in the books, Buttercup was recast in the second film as a yellow ginger cat.

What breed of cat is Buttercup in Mockingjay?

The cat that played Buttercup in Mockingjay: Part 2 is a Maine Coone that goes by the name, Orion. Orion is a seven-year-old accomplished show-cat that has taken part in competitions across the United States.

Does Katniss like Buttercup?    

No, Katniss does not like Buttercup in the beginning as she believes that he is an additional mouth to feed and, therefore, an unnecessary burden on her and her family. However, she grows to tolerate him because of the joy he brings her sister, Primrose.

Are buttercups edible?

No, buttercups are not edible. They are toxic to human beings, especially when they are blooming and flowering. Consuming buttercups can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain as well as dizziness, and headache, amongst other side effects. In extreme cases, the poison present in buttercups may cause a person to lose consciousness as well.

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