The Mysterious Third Thing. Is There a Thing 3 in The Cat in the Hat?

Introducing The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat is a beloved children’s book written by acclaimed author Dr. Seuss. First published in 1957, it tells the story of two children, Sally and her unnamed brother, who are visited by the eccentric Cat in the Hat while their mother is away (The Cat in the Hat – Wikipedia). With his iconic red-and-white striped hat, the Cat brings chaos and excitement into the children’s dull rainy day at home.

The Cat arrives uninvited, carrying a large red box and introducing his helpers Thing 1 and Thing 2. Despite the children’s protests, the Cat proceeds to have fun in the house by balancing and playing tricks. The Cat’s antics escalate until he is challenged by the family’s pet fish to clean up the mess before the children’s mother returns.

With its simple rhyming text, imaginative vocabulary, and playful illustrations, The Cat in the Hat captured the imaginations of young readers and helped launch Dr. Seuss’s career. It is considered a milestone in children’s literature and has been translated into over 15 languages (The Cat in the Hat – Amazon). The memorable characters, humor, and rhythm make it a classic story that continues to delight children and adults today.

Summary of The Cat in the Hat Plot

The story begins on a cold, rainy day in an unnamed town. A young boy named Conrad and his sister Sally are stuck inside with nothing to do while their mother is out. Suddenly, a tall humanoid cat wearing a red and white top hat and bow tie appears at the door. He introduces himself as the Cat in the Hat and offers to entertain the children with some tricks. The skeptical fish in the fishbowl urges them not to let the stranger in, but the Cat persists and releases Thing One and Thing Two from a big red box. The Things cause all kinds of ruckus, flying kites in the house, knocking pictures off the wall, and generally creating chaos. The Cat struggles to control the Things, tracking mud in the house and breaking household objects. At the end, the Cat manages to gather everything up and cleans up the mess just before Conrad and Sally’s mother returns home.

Analyzing the Main Characters

The three main characters in The Cat in the Hat are the mischievous Cat, Thing 1 and Thing 2. The Cat is the focal point of the story and the driving force behind the chaotic events that unfold. As described in the Dr. Seuss wiki, “The Cat in the Hat is Seuss’ most famous and most popular character, followed by the Grinch and Horton the elephant. Because his book has become such a landmark in children’s literacy, The Cat in the Hat has become an icon worldwide” [1]. The Cat enters the lives of Sally and Conrad when they are bored and looking for entertainment. With his iconic red and white striped hat, the Cat brings them on an adventure that gets increasingly out of control.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are introduced when the Cat unpacks a big red box from which they emerge. These identical twin creatures are referred to as “things” and not given proper names. They have blue hair and wear matching red jumpsuits. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are energetic, acrobatic and constantly moving, helping the Cat create chaos in the house. While the Cat seems to have some sense of right and wrong, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are completely oblivious as to whether their behavior is appropriate. In the end, the Cat attempts to restore order before the children’s mother comes home.

The Origins of Thing 1 and Thing 2

In The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2 suddenly appear out of a big red box brought in by the mischievous Cat. Their origins are never fully explained in the original story, leaving some mystery around where these chaotic characters came from.

According to the Dr. Seuss Wiki, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are the first two of the “Number Things” that live in a place called One and Up. The Cat brings them from this imaginary world into the real world of the story. Their silly names are based on them being the first and second Number Things.

While the Cat does acknowledge that Thing 1 and Thing 2 belong to him and he brought them along, further details about their origins in One and Up or their relationship to the Cat are never provided. Dr. Seuss ultimately leaves the backstory vague, focusing more on the chaos and fun the Things bring to the story rather than explaining where they came from.

Is There a Thing 3?

In the original Dr. Seuss book, only Thing 1 and Thing 2 are introduced as companions to the Cat in the Hat. There is no mention or appearance of a Thing 3 in the story. The Cat summons Thing 1 and Thing 2 from a box to entertain the children while their mother is away.

However, some fans have theorized that there could be a mysterious Thing 3 that was purposely left out of the book. One dark fan theory suggests Thing 3 is an eldritch horror that was too terrifying to include (source). But this is purely speculative – within the original book itself, the Cat only interacts with Thing 1 and Thing 2.

In later adaptations like the animated TV series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! a light blue Thing 3 was introduced. But in relation to the original 1957 book, there is no evidence or existence of a third Thing.

Significance of the Things

In The Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two represent chaos, mischief, and unrestrained fun. Their arrival shakes up the mundane world of the children on the cold, rainy day. According to the Dr. Seuss Wiki, Thing One and Thing Two “cause mischief by flying kites in the house, knocking pictures off the wall, and picking up the children’s mother’s new polka-dotted gown.” They bring an energy and spirit of adventure that upends the order and boredom in the house.

As Edwin Shaw notes, Thing One and Thing Two are all about contrast – “Thing 1 is order, structure, planning and process. Thing 2 is freedom, emotion, chaos, creativity.” Together they create a dynamic partnership. The Cat balances the forces of Thing One and Thing Two to bring controlled chaos and imaginative disorder to the children’s day.

While Thing One and Thing Two never listen or follow the rules, they open up possibilities through their playful troublemaking. Their defiance of the Cat’s instructions shows their irrepressible sense of fun. In the end, the Cat cleans up after them, restoring some order, but the children are left with lasting memories and stories from the Things’ escapades.

Other Dr. Seuss Books

While The Cat in the Hat is one of Dr. Seuss’ most famous works, he authored over 60 children’s books over his career. Many of his other popular titles also featured whimsical characters and rhyming storylines similar to The Cat in the Hat.

For example, Green Eggs and Ham ( featured the character Sam-I-Am persistently offering green eggs and ham to the narrator. Horton Hears a Who! ( centered on Horton the Elephant hearing a small voice from a speck of dust containing the microscopic world of Whoville. These books highlighted Seuss’ talent for crafting fanciful tales using simple vocabulary and rhyme.

Seuss also frequently created stories involving imaginative creatures, like The Lorax which featured a small fuzzy being defending the forest. The connection across many of Seuss’ works is the emphasis on creativity, wordplay, and conveying timeless messages in a whimsical style.

Legacy and Impact

The Cat in the Hat has had a significant and enduring influence on popular culture since its publication in 1957. The titular character has become an iconic symbol of mischief and fun. Phrases like “the cat in the hat” are now commonly used in pop culture to refer to someone who causes mayhem.

The book is considered one of Dr. Seuss’s most important and iconic works. As notes, The Cat in the Hat was a “revolt against authority” that also encouraged literacy and imagination in children.

The Cat in the Hat’s iconic red and white striped hat and oversized bowtie are instantly recognizable in pop culture. The character has made appearances in TV shows like The Simpsons, movies like Austin Powers, and as inspiration for celebrities’ costumes and outfits. Thing 1 and Thing 2 also remain memorable characters representing mischief and mayhem.

The book’s distinctive illustrations, rhymes, and made up words like “moss-covered three-handled family grudunzle” have also deeply influenced children’s books and educational programs. To this day, many picture books mimic the style and wacky humor that made The Cat in the Hat a classic.

Adaptations and Spin-Offs

The Cat in the Hat story and characters have been adapted into various media over the years. Some of the most notable adaptations include:


In 2003, a live-action film adaptation titled The Cat in the Hat was released. It starred Mike Myers as the Cat, along with Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, and Alec Baldwin. The film took creative liberties with the source material and received mixed reviews (


An animated television series titled The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! aired on PBS Kids from 2010-2018. It featured the Cat traveling the world with his friends the Fish and Nick and Sally, going on adventures and learning about science, nature, and more.


There is a wide range of Cat in the Hat merchandise available, from stuffed animals and action figures to apparel, toys, and more. The iconic Cat’s tall striped hat and bold red bowtie make him easily recognizable. He remains a popular character for educational books, games, and other products aimed at young children.


In summary, The Cat in the Hat features the iconic characters Thing 1 and Thing 2, but there is no evidence of a Thing 3 in the original Dr. Seuss book. While the “Things” cause mischief and mayhem for the children while the Cat entertains them and their fish, they are an integral part of the story and demonstrate Dr. Seuss’ wild imagination. The Cat in the Hat leaves just as quickly as he arrived, taking Thing 1 and Thing 2 with him. The children are relieved that their house is back in order before their mother returns.

The Cat in the Hat is one of Dr. Seuss’ most beloved and well-known stories that continues to capture children’s imaginations to this day. The book teaches children about rhyming, introduces early concepts of physics as the Cat balances objects, and shows that reading can be fun and entertaining. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are some of Dr. Seuss’ most iconic creations, though they are not joined by a Thing 3 within the pages of the original classic story.

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