Cato is the male tribute from District 2 in the 74th Hunger Games. His district partner is Clove, a 15-year-old girl from District 2. He is Katniss’s main competition in the first book.

The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

Cato is one of the primary antagonists in the first Hunger Games book. He places third in the Hunger Games, right after Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. As the leader of the Career Pack, Cato is a monstrous boy with a brutality that is commonly seen amongst career tributes.

Cato Character Profile

  • Name: Cato
  • Age: 16 (book), 18 (film)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of origin: District 2
  • Height: 6′ 2″
  • Physical appearance: Fair skin with blonde hair and blue eyes
  • Skills: Spear and sword (book), mace, serrated sword, machete (film)
  • Strengths: Physical strength, power, ruthlessness 
  • Weaknesses: No strategic thinking
  • Loyalties: Unknown 

Physical Description

Though Cato is only 16 years old at the time of volunteering for the Hunger Games, he is extremely well-built for his age. He has strong muscly arms and his physical prowess is a constant wonder for Katniss. In the films, Cato is shown with short and spiky blond hair with blue eyes.



Cato comes from District 2, which is a career district and one of the wealthiest districts of Panem. Here, most residents live comfortably, and starvation is not as common as in poorer districts such as District 12. As such, children from this district could afford to specially train for the Games before volunteering for it. This is exactly what Cato did, most likely training for most of his life before volunteering for the 74th Hunger Games at age 16. This was a common practice in District 2, where a child could train his/her whole life for the glory of the Games and the eternal fame one could gain by becoming a Victor.

74th Hunger Games

Cato and his district partner, Clove, are described as wearing Romanesque clothes during the Tribute Parade. Cato is unhappy with being outshone by Katniss and Peeta during the parade and immediately decides to make them his targets in the arena, thereby pronouncing a death sentence on them.

In the training center, Cato demonstrates his skills with the spear at the spear-throwing station. He, most likely, forms the Career Pack at this stage, allying with the other tributes from career districts, and becomes the leader. In the film, Katniss tells Peeta to show the Career Pack his brute strength, as they were looking at him like “a meal.” Cato receives an extremely high training score of 10 during his private training session with the Gamemakers. In his interview with Caesar Flickerman, Cato shows himself off as a ruthless killing machine. He is not afraid to show off his true strength at every chance, thereby drawing the fear of his fellow tributes and competitors. 

In the arena, Cato plausibly eliminates several tributes in the initial Cornucopia Bloodbath. After the bloodbath, Cato and his allies (which includes his district partner Clove, Marvel, Glimmer, and the District 4 female tribute) begin to look for other tributes to finish off. This is when the Career Pack allows Peeta into the alliance as they believe that Peeta might help them find Katniss. The Career Pack later expands to include the District 3 male as well.

After a few days, Katniss is forced into the middle of the arena by an artificial forest fire. She runs into the Career Pack, who chase her up a tree. Cato tries to follow her up the tree, but to Katniss’ good fortune, he falls as the tree branches prove too thin to hold his weight. Glimmer then tries to climb Katniss’s tree, but finds it impossible as well. She tries to shoot Katniss with her bow and arrow but misses. The careers then decide to camp underneath the tree until Katniss comes back down again.

In the night, however, Katniss is alerted by the presence of a tracker jacker nest by Rue. Katniss then saws off the branch holding the tracker jackers, allowing the nest to fall on top of the sleeping careers. The Career Pack scatters with a couple of career tributes of the 74th Hunger Games dying from tracker jacker stings. In the resulting chaos, Peeta helps Katniss escape. Cato realizes this and aims to kill Peeta. However, Peeta manages to escape with an injured leg.

Katniss allies with Rue, and the two of them decide that their best chance at surviving is to blow up the Career Pack’s supplies (which contains food and weaponry) at the Cornucopia. While Rue creates a distraction, Katniss manages to destroy all the supplies in an explosion. Cato is furious when he first sees the scene, snapping the neck of the District 3 male who was supposed to be guarding the supplies. After he calms down, he heads back into the woods to hunt down the rest of the tributes.

During the feast, Cato’s district partner, Clove, is killed by Thresh. Cato is visibly distressed by Clove’s death and runs after Thresh to take revenge. He presumably kills Thresh as the cannon fire soon goes off, signaling a death in the arena.


In the end, Katniss, Peeta, and Cato are the only tributes remaining. This is when the Gamemakers decide to release the horrifying wolf muttations into the arena, which chase Cato to the Cornucopia. Katniss shoots an arrow at Cato, which bounces off his chest due to the body armor he had gained from the feast. Katniss, Peeta, and Cato climb on top of the Cornucopia to get away from the muttations. Cato holds Peeta in a death grip, slowly cutting off his air supply, and encourages Katniss to shoot him so that they both go down.

Katniss shoots Cato’s arm, forcing him to release Peeta. Cato loses balance and falls to the mutts, whom he bravely attempts to fight with his sword. However, he proves to be no match for them and is attacked by them for hours on end. Katniss finally shoots him in the head out of pity to end his suffering. Cato thus places third in the 74th Hunger Games.


What is the reason Katniss kills Cato?

Katniss kills Cato out of mercy. In the end, when the wolf mutts are attacking Katniss, Peeta, and Cato, Cato gets caught by them and is unceasingly mauled by them. Instead of allowing Cato to suffer a painful death at the hands of the mutts, Katniss chooses to give him a peaceful death by shooting him with an arrow.

What does Cato symbolize in The Hunger Games

Cato symbolizes the complete loss of power in The Hunger Games. This is ironic because Cato is arguably one of the strongest tributes in the arena. However, he is under the Capitol’s thumb to such an extent that he is incapable of any original thought or action.

Did Cato and Clove have a thing? 

Cato and Clove were not a couple in The Hunger Games. They were merely allies. However, the two of them bonded in the arena and relied heavily upon each other. Cato was genuinely distressed by Clove’s death and decides to kill Thresh in vengeance. Because of this, Fans speculate that Cato and Clove might have ended up together if they had survived the Games.

Why is Cato kept alive by the dogs? 

Cato is mercilessly kept alive by the wolf mutts as they are trying to inflict as much damage as possible on his body before killing him. The mutts are most likely engineered in a way to play with their prey before killing them to provide prime entertainment to the Capitol viewers.

What were Cato’s last words?

Cato’s last words in the novel were, “Shoot me and he goes down with me.” He tells this to Katniss as he holds Peeta in a tight grip between his arms. Cato’s last words in the movie were, “I can still do this. I can still do this. One more kill. It’s the only thing I know how to do – bring pride to my district. Not that it matters.”

Were Cato and Glimmer a couple?    

Cato and Glimmer were not a couple in The Hunger Games. They were not even from the same district. They were merely allies in the Career Pack together.

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