The tale opens with the third and youngest son of a miller receiving his inheritance —
a cat. At first, the youngest son laments, as the eldest brother gains
the mill, and the middle brother attains the mules. The feline is no
ordinary cat, however, but one who requests and receives a pair of
boots. Determined to make his master's fortune, the cat bags a rabbit in
the forest and presents it to the king as a gift from his master, the
fictional Marquis of Carabas. The cat continues making gifts of game to the king for several months.
day, knowing the king and his daughter are traveling by coach along the
riverside, the cat persuades his master to remove his clothes and enter
the river. The cat disposes of his master's clothing beneath a rock. As
the royal coach nears, the cat begins calling for help in great
distress, and, when the king stops to investigate, the cat tells him
that his master, the Marquis, has been bathing in the river and robbed
of his clothing. The king has the young man brought from the river,
dressed in a splendid suit of clothes, and seated in the coach with his
daughter, who falls in love with him at once.
cat hurries ahead of the coach, ordering the country folk along the
road to tell the king that the land belongs to the "Marquis of Carabas,"
saying that if they do not he will cut them into mincemeat. The cat
then happens upon a castle inhabited by an ogre who is
capable of transforming himself into a number of creatures. The ogre
displays his ability by changing into a lion, frightening the cat, who
then tricks the ogre into changing into a mouse. Once that change is
complete, the cat pounces upon the mouse and devours it. The king
arrives at the castle which formerly belonged to the ogre, and,
impressed with the bogus Marquis and his estate, gives the lad the
princess in marriage. Thereafter, the cat enjoys life as a great lord
who runs after mice only for his own amusement.