Grudge the Cat is having a season of firsts on Star Trek: Discovery.
The floofy Maine Coon is the beloved companion of Cleveland Booker (David Ajala), a mercenary and cargo-runner who turns out to be a galactic do-gooder, stealing animals from the illegal interstellar wildlife trade and bringing them to the safety of sanctuary.
Considering the illegal wildlife trade is thriving and directly contributing to the extinction of many species here on Earth, it’s not a stretch at all to imagine people in the future would pay a hefty premium on ultra-exotic pets from alien worlds. The Booker/Grudge storylines may even prompt more people to pay attention to what’s happening here on our own world.
In Thursdays episode (mild spoilers ahead), the crew of the Discovery receive a hail from outside the cloaked and secret Federation headquarters of the 32nd century. Anyone with the top-secret location of the base — and the ability to hail ships within it — must be VIP or have urgent business, so the acting captain orders the hail on screen, and the entire bridge crew braces as the image resolves into…
…floofy Grudge sticking her face into the camera.
The cast does an excellent job of looking befuddled and amused at a cat contacting the Discovery on a priority channel when they were likely expecting Orions or Andorians or any number of antagonists.
And so, for the first time in Star Trek history, a cat has hailed another starship.
It turns out Booker, anticipating trouble on a dangerous mission, set his ship to auto-return to Discovery’s Commander Michael Burnham if he didn’t make it back in time. That sets up the episode’s main plot in which Burnham goes to rescue Book.
The best line of the night goes to Michelle Yeoh’s Commander Phillipa Georgiou: “That cat can’t get lost. It has its own gravity field!”
That’s floof, not fat, Georgiou!
Grudge is referred to as a female cat in the show, but she’s played by Leeu, a two-year-old, 18-pound male Maine Coon.