It has occurred to me that in the course of sailing through Disc 1 (we’re closing in on the totally unexpected climax of the game’s first half rapidly), that I skipped a party member introduction a while back. Anyone who’s played the game and is already familiar with this last character could probably understand why I skimmed over him. He’s just not very interesting when he first joins the party, which happens in the middle of the party’s first visit to the Gold Saucer (which is when we were dealing with Barret’s backstory, a far more compelling plot point at the time).
The character in question is a fortune-telling robot cat who rides a behemoth of a stuffed moogle and makes his mount attack by calling out commands with his megaphone. Anyone over the age of five probably read that last sentence and wondered what the heck I’m talking about. It’s okay; I’ve played this game a couple times, and I still don’t know what to make of this party member.
Cait Sith (which translates from Scottish as “faerie cat” and is pronounced “kat sthee”) is the resident trickster figure of the group. He joins the party under the pretense of wanting to find out what the meaning of a particularly mysterious fortune that he’s dispensed is, and for some reason everyone’s just cool with it.
I don’t know about you, but if I encounter anyone who’s associated with the Fae, I’d run the other way very quickly, because those mythological creatures are way beyond unpredictable. Of course, Cait Sith operates much the same way in battle, because he’s a gambler-type character (Final Fantasy has a long, storied tradition of characters who do random stuff that range from being only mildly helpful to really harmful for the party, and very rarely doing something great) whose Limit Breaks revolve involve a random damage generator and a slot machine that can either instantly win a battle or wipe out the entire party.
Like I said, don’t mess with anything associated with the Fae.
Of course, since Gaia’s a planet that apparently only has a handful of cultures (none of them even vaguely Celtic), the party probably don’t know that they should be very concerned about letting Cait Sith tag along. What they do have that should be a warning sign is the knowledge that they’re wanted fugitives from Shinra.
So when we get the big reveal at this point in the game that Cait Sith is actually a spybot whose controller works for Shinra and has been feeding the company information about Cloud and friends’ movements, I just have to shake my head and say, “I told you so. Never trust a faerie cat.”
Though it’s not quite been revealed yet, we’ll soon learn that Cait Sith’s controller is someone at Shinra that we’ve met before, although he’s a very minor character that I barely remembered seeing at the beginning of the game. He’s captured Barret’s daughter Marlene, and is holding her hostage, which is a wonderful explanation for why after discovering that we have a spy in our midst we should let him stay in the party.
I always thought it was funny that you could go along and have Cait Sith in your party at this point, but because the plot says we don’t hurt him, none of the horrible cruel things you could do to him, like beating him up or turning him to stone in battle, would stick in the game world. Even something as mildly passive aggressive as just refusing to heal him (in case his controller was watching and saying, “Don’t hurt me or the small child gets it!”) would have been satisfying.
Of course, this will all get straightened out eventually and the guy behind the cat will have a change of heart so he can fully support the party in their quest to save the planet (and also to act as a double agent). That part’s not really so unexpected, because a game like this can only take one dramatic loss of a
annoying valued party member for plot reasons. Still, it kind of sucks for Shinra that their spy ends up spying on them.
But like I said, stay far away from anything to do with the Fae.
Also, because where else will I have an opportunity to link back to this video: