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art by John R. Neill
|First appearance||Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz|
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
Eureka is a white kitten who was found by Uncle Henry who gives it to his niece Dorothy Gale. He calls it Eureka which means "I have found it!" Dorothy carries Eureka in a small cage on a train with her to San Francisco to visit her relatives on Hugson farm. While riding with Bill Hugson's nephew Zeb, an earthquake opens a large chasm in the ground, and Eureka falls with Dorothy, Zeb, and Jim the Cab-Horse into the land of the Mangaboos, people made of vegetable. The strange lights in the Magaboos' cavern create all sorts of odd colors, and Eureka looks pink there. Afterward — perhaps in part due to the chapter's title, "The Pink Kitten" — Eureka is often referred to as a "pink kitten," or sometimes, as in Glinda of Oz, as a "purple kitten." Explanations of Eureka's color are common in fan fiction.
Eureka is somewhat of a stereotype of a cat. The last third of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz presents her as very dishonest, and she is placed on trial for having eaten one of the Nine Tiny Piglets — the smallest one that was given to Princess Ozma as a pet. She has said throughout the novel that "it was always his fault," but she stubbornly refused to explain what she meant by "it." Eureka is threatened with execution until the piglet is found. Indeed, Eureka tells them where the piglet is, but is amused at being tried for something it is in her nature to attempt. Throughout, John R. Neill portrays her in ridiculous clothing, including a tailed coat and feather cap, though these are not mentioned in the text.
Eureka later lives in Oz, but how she got back there is another unexplained mystery. The fact that she lives in Oz, and the first statement that she is pink, comes from a statement by the Shaggy Man in The Patchwork Girl of Oz.
Eureka plays a significant supporting role in Dick Martin's 1986 novel The Ozmapolitan of Oz. And she is the heroine of Chris Dulabone's The Colorful Kitten of Oz (1990), which, among other things, addresses the inconsistency of Eureka's color.
- Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; p. 64.
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