- "No! I can still do this...I can still do this! One last kill... Bring pride to my district."
Cato was the male tribute from District 2 in the 74th Hunger Games and one of the main antagonists of The Hunger Games. He was the leader of the Career alliance formed by the tributes from District 1, 2, and 4 (in the film, only Districts 1 and 2) in the 74th Hunger Games. Like Katniss Everdeen, he volunteered for the Games.
The male tribute from District 2 was Katniss Everdeen's main enemy in the 74th Hunger Games. He is probably seen as the most dangerous threat to all the tributes out of all the other Careers. Obscene, vulgar, and relentless, Cato used brute strength for almost everything and fought hard to win. In the book from Katniss' point of view, she refers to him as "a monstrous boy from District 2 who lunges forward to volunteer." He is a Career Tribute, and for all of his life has trained for the Hunger Games. During the Reaping, after Clove is chosen/volunteers for the female tribute for District 2, Cato lunges forward and volunteers to be the male tribute since he had confidence in his abilities and believed he could win.
The 74th Hunger Games
In the film, Cato enters the tribute parade wearing a Roman-like outfit along with his district partner, Clove. Cato glares and listens to Katniss and Haymitch Abernathy's conversation after the parade and gives them a dirty look.
In the training center, Cato and the other tributes train and prepare for the Games. Cato sees Peeta's weakness and views him as a "meal" until Peeta shows his true strength, surprising Cato and the other Careers. In the film Cato is angered when he thinks the District 6 male took his knife, which actually was taken by Rue when he wasn't looking and kept out of sight via the climbing station. He provokes a fight with the other boy until the Peacekeepers separate them.
In the book, Cato trains at the swordsmanship and spear throwing stations and displays his prowess with the weaponry. He most likely shows off his skills with either or both to the Gamemakers in his private session. Due to the fact he's been training his entire life, he receives a high score of 10.
Like most of the other tributes, Cato ran towards the Cornucopia to battle for supplies. In the film, he targets the boy from District 6 first, like he promised in training, and pins him to the ground where he beats him up with his fist. After that is taken care of, he picks up an iron machete and spots the boy from District 10 running towards his direction. He swings his machete into the boy from 10's chest, killing him. Then, after the girl from District 4 tries to slash his head with a sword, he ducks and knocks her weapon off her hands with his machete. He hits her in the stomach with the iron machete and then throws the girl from 4 into a supply crate. Later, he picks up a water canteen near where the corpse of the girl from District 3 was laying. He puts the boy from District 9 in a headlock and uses the canteen to smash his head. After hearing Glimmer cry for help, he runs into the Cornucopia and makes a quick kill. He then kills the boy from District 6, who tried to kill Glimmer, by tripping him with his sickle then slamming him in the stomach with it, finishing him off with another stab. He then kills the District 4 male with a sickle by slashing his throat when he tries to escape thus making Cato have the last kill of the bloodbath. After killing him, he finds a sword that he will use for most of the games.
As is typical in the arena, the Career Tributes of the 74th Hunger Games form an Alliance. Unusually, other tributes who are not Careers are added to the pack. The alliance included Glimmer, Marvel, Clove, Cato, the District 3 male, the District 4 female, and Peeta.
During the Games
On the first night, the Careers go hunting for tributes and discovers the District 8 female who has started a fire to keep warm. Cato attempts to kill her, but when the Gamemakers withhold firing the cannon, Peeta realizes something must be wrong and goes back to "finish the job." When he leaves, the Careers argue about whether they should kill Peeta now, but decide to let him stay, as he is their best chance of finding Katniss. A few days into the Hunger Games, just after the enormous fire forces the tributes closer, the Careers manage to find and chase Katniss up a tree. Cato attempts to follow and kill her, but falls, as the branches cannot support his weight. Glimmer makes an attempt with her bow and arrows to shoot Katniss, but is inexperienced with it and misses. The Careers, knowing that it will be hard to kill Katniss while she is up in a tree, decide to make a camp below her, so she cannot escape without them knowing.Katniss sees Rue in a nearby tree, who silently points out the tracker jacker nest above Katniss, which is sedated from the smoke from the fire. Katniss cuts the branch away and it falls down on the Careers below. While Glimmer and the District 4 female are killed from their stings before they make it to safety, Cato and the other Careers manage to escape to the nearby lake. Katniss runs in the other direction, but goes back for the bow and arrows that a dead Glimmer is clutching, covered in tracker jacker sting pus. Peeta returns and is alarmed that she is still there, and urges her to run. As she does, Cato then crashes through the bush and realizes what Peeta had done. While Katniss escapes, Peeta fights off Cato, resulting in Peeta's leg wound, with the addition of the tracker jacker stings and the burn.
Sometime later, Cato and the other Careers come across the District 3 male, whom they let join their Alliances on the condition that he would rewire the mines in the arena to protect their supplies. The Careers see the fire lit by Rue (as a decoy for the Careers) and go to kill the tribute that has started it, taking the District 3 male with them. When Foxface manages to steal some food from the Cornucopia with a series of carefully placed steps, Katniss realizes that the District 3 male has brought the mines back into working order, but Foxface has been stalking them and has found the path to safely reach the supplies, taking only a little at a time as to not alert them. Katniss then carefully shoots a bag of apples, causing them to spill out and activate the mines, which destroy the Careers' supplies. When Cato realizes this, he becomes furious with the District 3 boy's job, and snaps his neck, instantly killing him. The other Careers search for something to salvage, but find nothing. Marvel and Clove are able to calm him down by telling him that the one who destroyed the supplies was probably killed in the explosion. The mine explosion also injures Katniss' left ear, leaving her partially deaf.
During the feast, Cato and Clove form a plan whereby Cato would scout the area for any tributes hiding nearby while Clove obtains their backpack. Cato is out scouting for Thresh, Katniss, and Peeta when Clove attacks Katniss after she makes a run for the feast table holding the supplies. When Thresh hears Clove talk about his fellow district tribute, Rue, he kills Clove by denting her skull with a large stone (though in the movie, he kills her by smashing her head twice against the Cornucopia). Katniss tells Thresh about their Alliances together and how she had sang to Rue until she had died, and then covered her in flowers. Cato hears Clove's screams and rushes to Clove's safety, calling for her to "stay with him" but is too late. Thresh takes both her and Cato's packs and runs to the safety of his field, knowing Cato will pursue him rather than Katniss in order to claim his pack, which contains the thing he needs most. Cato presumably kills Thresh a few days later during a huge storm, in the fields filled with grain, in revenge for killing Clove (though in the movie, Thresh is killed by the wolf muttations). It is assumed that Cato's (and Clove's) pack contains armor, which would protect Cato and Clove from Katniss' arrows, as she was seen as the biggest threat left in the competition.
On the last day of the Games, wolf-like muttations appear out of nowhere, chasing a bloodied and beaten Cato out of the woods. Katniss and Peeta think he is on his way to kill them, so Katniss shoots an arrow at his chest, but it bounces off since he is wearing some sort of body armor that was thought to be in District 2's pack. He rockets past Peeta and Katniss and makes his way to the Cornucopia, to which Katniss and Peeta follow, being chased by a pack of muttations. While Katniss is busy fighting off the muttations, Cato puts Peeta in a head-lock, cutting off his ability to breathe. In the film, Cato beats both Katniss and Peeta in an attempt to kill them and puts the latter in a head-lock while Katniss is distracted by the mutts. Katniss turns around, ready to shoot Cato with her bow when Cato points out that if she shoots him, both he and Peeta would fall to the muttations. While holding Peeta, Cato gives a speech about being a pawn of the Capitol and states that he only wanted to bring pride to his district, stating all he knew how to do was kill. Almost out of options, Peeta shakily draws an "X" in blood on Cato's hand with his finger. Katniss shoots her arrow at Cato's hand forcing him to reflexively release the almost unconscious Peeta and fall to the mutts. At first Cato fights them off; the sounds of his sword impacting against the mutts' flesh and against the Cornucopia are heard for a long time before eventually he is disabled, leaving him at the muttations' mercy. The muttations brutally attack Cato for what seems to be hours, but he is too weak to defend himself.
After what is perceived to be hours, Katniss hears Cato's moans of pain and despair and decides to use her second to last arrow to end his suffering. She jumps into the mouth of the Cornucopia and finds a savagely-bloodied, barely alive Cato at the back. He mouths, "Please," and out of pity, not vengeance, she shoots the arrow through his skull, killing him instantly. Cato placed 3rd out of the 24 tributes.
In the film, Cato does not suffer for very long. After falling to the muttations, Katniss shoots an arrow into his heart.
In Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta went to District 2 on their victory tour and saw Cato's grieving family. She tries not to look them in the eye, as she was responsible for his death.
Katniss states that she remembers Cato, Clove, Enobaria, and Brutus' bloodthirsty eagerness to win the Hunger Games. Katniss goes to District 2 and explains that she remembers how in District 2 during the Victory Tour, she saw Cato and Clove's grieving families at the Justice Building.
During the Games, Cato, being a Career tribute, had many supplies such as medicine, food, water, and weapons from the Cornucopia, but they are destroyed by the mines set up by District 3 boy. Cato was left with his sword, and later he received some kind of high tech Capitol body armor, most likely from his District 2 backpack from the feast. This allowed him to deflect arrows and knives when they were thrown at his chest. However, it was too strong when he was attacked by the muttations, which allowed him to suffer for hours while the muttations attempted to tear into his flesh.
Tall, strong, muscular, and good-looking, the monstrous boy from District 2 has no restraint when it comes to killing, and is thought to be the most dangerous tribute in the game. He uses all the weapons he can get his hands on. He can easily choke anyone within seconds of getting his hands on their throats, and he proves this raw, physical power by grabbing another tribute (the boy from District 3) and snapping his neck almost instantly. He is one of the most feared tributes in the Games, but is considered the second strongest tribute. This reputation is solidified after supposedly killing the huge Thresh.
Defiant and stupidly brave, Cato never gives in. After Katniss blows up the supplies, he unleashes another side of him, a side that convinces Katniss he is not completely sane. Determined to win, he does everything he can to achieve his goal. Cato is bloodthirsty and he does not care who he kills in the process, whose lives are spent, as long as he comes out alive. Like Clove, Marvel and Glimmer he truly hates Katniss either because of her 11 in training, her taunting them in the tree, or the tracker jacker incident. He expresses this when he says that when they find her he will kill her his own way. He later shows compassion and humanity when Clove is killed, and in the films, by giving a speech at the end about being a pawn in the Capitol's games.
Despite his deadly nature, Cato seems to be at least partially loyal to his friends and allies. When his partner from District 2, Clove, is at the mercy of the dangerous District 11 tribute, Thresh, he rushes to her aid, having been searching for Katniss and Peeta. When he arrives, he begs her to stay alive, but he is too late. Cato is genuinely saddened by her death, and in another fit of rage, he chases down Thresh to avenge her death. At the time, they could have used the same deal as Katniss and Peeta and both have been crowned victors.
Cato isn't very thorough during the Games which is displayed when he slashed Peeta in his leg, a place that should have killed him but it didn't, and when he possibly stabbed the District 8 female, but then had to have someone to return when her cannon wasn't released. His arrogance seemed to cost him dearly in the games.
Cato, along with the Careers, kills at least six tributes in total. He himself kills at least two tributes. The ones known to be killed by him were most notably Thresh and the District 3 male.
In the film and the book, Cato kills the male tribute from District 3, an ally to them. When they go off to kill Rue at one of her fires, they leave him behind to watch their pyramid of supplies, Marvel leaving him with only one spear. He sits waiting in a chair, as Foxface makes her way through the pedestal mines and takes a few supplies from the pyramid, then runs away. He hears her run into the woods and takes off, looking for her with the spear. Katniss has her arrow aiming at a bag of apples, and slices the top off. Without breaking into the bags, Katniss aims for the bottom, and successfully works. The apples fall down to the mines, blowing up all of the supplies that the Careers have hoarded. Cato, Clove, and Marvel all run back angrily. Cato asked the District 3 male how it happened. The others are poking around for items with uses still potential, but the mines blew them to crisp. Cato is so angry, he simply puts him in a headlock (in the film, he snaps his neck), and sharply jerks his head to the side, cracking his neck and killing him, as he falls to the ground. The Careers continue, as Clove tries to calm him down after the killing.
In the film, Cato does not kill Thresh. At the bloodbath in the beginning of the games, he kills the District 10 male by slashing his chest with a machete. When the District 4 female confronts him and swings an axe towards his head, he easily dodges and slashes her. He then grabs her and throws her into a supply crate, causing her to somersault. He later finds her in the forest with the rest of the career pack and kills her himself. He kills the District 6 male like he promised him in training. When the tribute attempted to stab him, he grabbed his armed arm and slashed his leg with a scythe, causing him to fall, following up with another slash in the stomach, making him hit the floor with impact. He then slashes him one more time, again in the stomach. Near the end of the bloodbath, Cato is also shown killing the District 4 male by slashing his throat with a machete, causing the tribute to back up until he hits a supply crates, splattering blood on it.
It does not show Cato killing the District 8 female, but rather he hands his sword to Glimmer, who is presumed to do the deed, though this does not happen in the book, as he says, "I stuck her myself."
In The World of The Hunger Games and the Bonus Features trailer, it was revealed that Cato does kill the girl from District 4, notably shoving or throwing her into a supply crate. In the bonus features, he is seen using a baton or machete to hit the District 10 male, causing him to fall onto the floor, but in the film, his jacket color could have altered a bit to look green/black. In the weapons trailer and the bonus features, he is shown using a small scythe like weapon to slash and stab the District 6 male.
- Receives a training score of 10, the same as his district partner, Clove.
- His odds of winning are shown as 3-1, making him receive the highest odds. He shares these odds with the District 8 male.
- It is shown that he weighs 185 pounds.
- Cato is the only known tribute (besides Katniss) in the 74th Hunger Games to have volunteered.
- In the film, he kills both of the tributes from District 4.