The Cat Lady's House
Earlier in the year I wrote about the Abandoned Graveyard that is located in Bree-land and how LOTRO has several curious locations that appear to be residual abandoned quest lines. Someone today left a comment and mentioned The Cat lady’s House in Bree. For those who are not familiar with landmark, it can be found as you enter Bree via the Eastern gate. As you proceed up the hill, you pass the stable to your left and the forge of Flint Oakhewer to you right. After the forge, there is a flight of stone steps going up through several terraces of houses. This is the Scholar’s Stair. At the top of the stair the passage widens. To the right is a door with a cat outside. It is opposite the recently added Scholars Hall.
Once inside you will find a lot more cats. The house is full of them. Four of them are named. These are Oliver, Horatio, Wink and Sylvester. At first glance, this may seem like nothing more than a piece of whimsy or a developer’s in-joke. Or you may think that this is another example of the quest hub that was removed from the game, such as the abandoned graveyard. However, The Cat Lady’s House does play a functional role in LOTRO. It is a specific destination in one of the sub quest of the infamous “Chicken Run”, or what the developer more formally refers to as chicken session play. If you are unfamiliar with this mini game then the following link below will provide you with all the details.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding The Cat Lady’s House. It does seem to be a rather large embellishment just to provide a NPC (Wink the cat) for a solitary quest. So perhaps it did have greater significance during the games development. What is the purpose of Oliver and Horatio? Note also the creepy picture on the wall. It seems a little out of place does it not? Does it have any wider significance? Also, who and where is the Cat Lady herself? Or was the name simply added so the location wasn’t called the cat house which has other connotations. It should also be noted that according to the LOTRO Wiki the house used to be only accessible by drinking from the Inn League Keg. Your character would land inside the house drunk and would have to hearth home.
The LOTRO Wiki also indicates that The Cat Lady’s House is linked to several Spring Festival quests. One of which involves some poor love-sick NPC in the Bree market, who wants you to deliver some flowers. Due to a mistake with the address, the quest takes the player to The Cat Lady’s House and allegedly she is in. Sadly, I cannot confirm whether this particular quest is still active. Either way, the entire location is a very nice embellishment to LOTRO. Like so many others, this dates back to games launch. I am not aware of any similar examples being included in more recent content. The last jovial embellishment that I remember is the “Killer Rabbit” homage to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in The Wailing Hills in Enedwaith. The game does seem to be getting more functional with each expansion and update. So please take note Standing Stone Games and indulge yourself from time to time. Including such whimsy adds to the games overall fun.