Describe the relationship between Stew Cat and Timothy in "The Cay".

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Timothy had been a worker on the deck gang of the Hato. Stew Cat belonged to the cook on the ship, and when the Hato went down, Timothy was able to drag himself and Phillip onto a raft. When the cat, who had been thrown into the sea and was covered with oil from the stricken ship, climbed onto the raft as well, Timothy "'ad no heart to trow 'im off".

Timothy is kind enough of Stew Cat, but does not appear to be particularly fond of him. To Timothy, the creature is just an animal who happens to be with them, but to Phillip, Stew Cat is a much-needed companion. Timothy tolerates the cat because he knows he is important to Phillip, good-naturedly returning to the raft to fetch him when they find land and depositing him into Phillip's lap. When Timothy comes to believe that the cat is the source of their bad luck on the cay, and would personally prefer that he be removed from the island so their luck can change, he preserves the cat's life out of consideration for Phillip, painstakingly going out of his way to put Stew Cat on the raft moored safely just offshore so that he can perform the required ritual of of purification without the offending entity's presence.