How to Throw a Cat

For those of you who don’t read my blog, here’s an excruciatingly detailed analysis of the GURPS rules for picking up a cat and throwing it at somebody.

Anyone feel able to write something similar for another system?


God no. That kind of joke is part of why crunchheads playing Pathfinder incorrectly think GURPS is complex.

Sorry, don’t mean to be aggressive but IMHO this is not the way to draw people in.

(And just to show off my own immense cleverness for people who don’t read Roger’s blog…)

I have to protest.

Most of what you are proposing is straightforward enough but you are not taking into account the Psychology (IQ Hard Skill Defaults: IQ-6 or Sociology-4) of the situation.

One would never kneel or crouch in attempting to get hold of a cat. Bending from the waist gives the feline the least warning of your intent and the briefer chance to use its Body Language (Human) skill to figure out what you’re up to.

Indeed the human might need to make their Body Language (Cat) to give him a decent chance. A contest of Acting vs Body Language perhaps.

And at that point you have a fist full of cat. You talk later of the cat becoming upset. It is at this point he or she starts to become upset, not when flying through the air.

I would suggest that the most likely thing to happen would be that as the human pulls his arm back for the throw the cat will dig its claws into the human’s arm. What happens here is a little obscure when it comes to GURPS rules but I would suggest that the cat’s claws should (if the cat’s attack is successful) do damage based on the human’s ST not its own.

Of course in the actual circumstances we faced on Sunday the cat thrower was a vampire and might not notice the pain or just shrug off the attack out of sheer undead toughness but the principle is the important thing.

I may have some levels of specialisation in Psychology (Feline).

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Doctor Who:

  1. Make a Presence + Convince roll to pick up the cat, with +2 if you have Animal Friendship.
  2. Make a Coordination + Marksman roll to throw the cat.
  3. Damage is your Strength (or less for a bare success result or more for a Fantastic result).
  4. +2 because the cat is sharp (it has claws & teeth)
  5. Finally… Spend lots of story points so the cat doesn’t hate you forever!

Eclipse Phase
Spend a long time arguing if the ability of cats to land on their feet is enhanced or degraded by the fact that you are throwing the cat in a spin habitat. Try to apply the coriolis effect rules to the cat hurling. Then pause to get into another argument about what the stats for genetically and cybernetically altered pets are…

You throw the cat. Oops, it was an Aslan cub! Its mother beats the crap out of you.

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AD&D1e: First, try to spot if the DM has a copy of Monster Manual II. If they have, and you’re first level, consider if you really want to try this: a domestic cat has 1d5 hit points, AC 6, 15" of movement, and nearly the same hit probability as you. It only does 1 point of damage if it hits, but that makes it eligible for another attack, doing 1d2 damage. Even if you try it, the cat is only surprised one in six times, and can outrun you, so it doesn’t look like a great idea. If it’s a wildcat, go get the rest of the party. Wildcats are dangerous.



First of all we don’t have stats for a common or garden cat but the smallest (SIZ 1) of the hunting lynxes or Shadowcats (hmm… Where did WoD go for that term?) that hang around with the Orlanthi are said to be ‘the size of housecats’ so let’s use them. There are stats on p159 of the BEASTIARY.

The human is using his default Grapple skill which would be at the base of 25%. The cat has a dodge of 50% so the human is unlikely to catch him unless he augments his skill with his own Beast Rune or his Motion Rune or perhaps one of his passions. (“My honour requires I catch this cat!” GM: Uh-huh? No.)

But assuming he grapples the cat he can throw him the very next round (rules on Grappling Core Book p 224.) Now, this is a natural attack and has a Strike Rank of about 8. The cat is of course faster and it is going to use it’s three weapons to dig into the human: Left Claw, Right Claw (both 50%), Bite (40%) all on SR 7. The damage on the first round isn’t good: each of those three attacks does 1d6 -1d4. But if both claws hit the cat does not fly through the air with the greatest of ease but hangs on and on SR 7 of the next round the rip with its hind claws does 3d6 - 1d4 to the human’s arm. It really, really matters which bit the human got hold of the cat with!

Assuming the cat isn’t hanging on though the human uses his DEX x 5% to throw the animal (it is unbalanced and not designed for this use) and it will probably hit in a random location (p 159 of the Core book). If it had been a rock or other deadweight inanimate object it might have done half the throwers damage bonus to wherever it hit.

But in fact it is a live, angry cat and is about to go claw-claw-bite on the person it has just struck.


If I were doing this in Mage: The Ascension (the non-GURPS campaign I’m running):

To pick up the cat, Dexterity/Animal Handling, difficulty 6
For the cat to dodge, Dexterity/Dodge, difficulty 6

Net successes: 1, you have a grip; 2, you’ve picked up the cat; 3, the cat can’t attack you

With 1 success, you have to try again and make more successes, while the cat tries to claw you. The cat can’t dodge effectively, but its Dexterity/Brawl to attack you subtracts successes from your second attempt.

With 2 successes, you can throw the cat, but if it moves before you, it can claw you, and that will prevent you throwing it.

With 3+ successes, you can throw the cat.

If you throw the cat, I’d make it Dexterity/Athletics to do so, difficulty probably 7 or 8, because the cat’s not balanced for throwing. The target gets to roll Dexterity/Dodge. The impact of the cat is going to be pretty minimal, probably Strength-2, but the cat itself gets to claw for Strength+1 with its own Dexterity/Brawl.

Any rolled damage is soaked in the usual way.