Although Crookshanks was of a rather more exotic lineage than most domestic cats, containing bits of Kneazle, Lynx and surprisingly West Highland terrier in his pedigree, his feline instincts saw him slinking down the stairs of the Gryffindor girls' dormitory to prowl the corridor of second year Hogwarts.
He soon picked up the scent he had been tracking for some time, that of Ron's pet rat Scabbers. The rodent was licking his whiskers halfway down a corridor in front of a grim stone gargoyle. Crookshanks crept closer, eyes glinting in the torchlight, until the rat suddenly squeaked, spotting the crouching cat.
But before Crookshanks could pounce and finally devour the tantalising meat the gargoyle jerked aside, exposing a descending moving cascade of stairs.
The cat slunked into the shadows as a swirl of blue robes and pointy black shoes strode out of the opening and down the corridor. In the confusion the cat had lost sight of his prey! He hissed, frustrated. Maybe he went up that staircase? The high stairs were no problem to the ginormous cat, and he soon reached the large round room located at the top. The room itself was in darkness, but that cat's eyes easily scanned the books, odd clinking machines and dozing portraits.
The strong burnt smell from the stick in the corner told Crookshanks it was a phoenix nest and he gave it a wide berth. No sign of the rat, but a shimmering light from a dark cupboard drew his attention.
It was a shallow pool of water, which shone as if under moonlight. Now this may have been an intelligent cat, but he was still a cat, and he was very thirsty after all that exertion under hot fur. So despite the weird shiny stuff, despite the strange cold tingly feeling on his whiskers, he lent forward and stretched out his tongue.
Panic! He was falling! But once again his natural cat instincts kicked in and his tail and limbs twisted in a complicated manoeuvre that put any human gymnast to shame and he landed elegantly on his four feet.
He was in another torchlit Hogwarts corridor. If he had been human, he would have noticed the light was uniformly greyscale, but as it happens cats can only see in black and white so he was unalarmed.
In front of him were the same black leather pointy shoes and long flowing robes that had strode past have earlier. The cat's arrogance at the man's interruption of his hunt was displaced by his desire for a familiar scent in these trying circumstances, so he mustered his best attention-grabbing "purrr..." and tried to rub against his legs. But alas, those familiar legs were as insubstantial as smoke!
The man had been peering through an almost shut door, but suddenly threw it open and strode inside, Crookshanks anxiously following in his wake.
In front of him was a bizarre sight, a schoolboy with scrawny build, glasses and tight curly brown hair. Sitting on the edge of a table, laughing as a huge white stag pranced on his left, antlers scraping the ceiling and on his right gigantic black dog sat on its hind legs sniffing the air.
And in the middle – there was that blasted rat!!
At the sight of the huge dog Crookshanks hissed, fur standing on end with claws at the ready, although the boy was almost as alarming. Somehow, although obviously human, he gave off a strong canine musk.
"Having a party are we?" said the man suddenly, clearing his throat.
The boy started, jumping to his feet, his face pale, "uh... uh Professor, we were just... I... I mean."
The animals gave snorts and barks of alarm, and then they all twisted, flesh ripping – the stag and dog imploded becoming tall and thin, the rat exploded into a crouched, shaking figure.
Now there were four boys in the room. Their eight eyes stared anxiously at the headmaster, who started to chuckle.
Before Crookshanks could rest, a familiar pair of hands grabbed his middle and lifted him up. A brief whirling motion and then he was being placed gently down on a carpet in front of a crackling fire.
The man in the blue robes and shoes was back and gently stroking his ginger fur. If Crookshanks felt any confusion about his strange day it could wait as he curled up on the wizard's feet, in front of the warm coals and went to sleep.