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Dude cat 13 the change inside cover higher res

Tobias's cat Dude from inside book 13 (also Mattingly's cat Orson)

Orson was cover artist David Mattingly's black and white cat, who died several years before Animorphs was published. Ever since then, Mattingly tries to put pictures or mentions of his cat as hidden "easter eggs" in many pieces of his art as he can. He did this for many of the Animorphs books inside covers, until Scholastic asked him not to do it anymore[1]. The Anibase (a database from Scholastic including many behind the scenes details on the books) has an "Orson Watch" section in the trivia part for those books which include a picture or mention of Orson.

Anibase Trivia[]

This information is quoted directly from what appeared in the trivia section for a given book in the Anibase (except in the case of Book 45, where info did not appear).

  • Book 5 - One some of the stepbacks (inside covers) -- the pages behind the front cover that show a scene from a book -- cover artist David B. Mattingly would hide little images of his beloved, deceased cat Orson, as well as some other surprises. If you look on the brick wall on the stepback of this book, you can see "ORSON" spray-painted across it in white, and the initials "DBM" to the left in black, right above "96" -- the year the cover was made. Below Orson but above the trashcan is the name of another of David's cats, "MOUSE". There're a few more hidden images (of David's other cover work) and even part of the name of another of David's cats, but you'll have to find those for yourself.
  • Book 13 - Orson Watch: You can find a picture of cover artist David B. Mattingly's beloved cat, Orson, on a shelf in the picture of Tobias's room, standing in for Tobias' own cat, Dude.
  • Book 18 - Orson Watch: The original sketch for the inside cover shows that Orson would have been in a framed photo in the back.
  • Book 24 - Orson Watch: If you look very carefully at the crowd observing the anteaters on the stepback of this book, you can make out a cat poking its head between two of the people. The cat is none other than Orson, making one of her many cameo appearances.
  • Book 35 - Orson Watch: The stepback of this book is just chock full of hidden images! Check out the monitors behind Tennant: the images are made up of cover art from other books David has done, pictures of his family, and of course, there's even one of Orson!
  • Book 38 - Orson Watch: Take a look at the license plate of the VW Bug on this book's inner cover. The personalized plate reads -- you guessed it -- ORSON.
  • Book 39 - Orson Watch: Take a gander at the police officer's shoulder badge. It reads ORSON POLICE and the center features a picture of Orson's cheery face!
  • Book 41 - Orson Watch: Through Jake's window you can see a rather futuristic billboard for cat food featuring cameo cat extraordinaire, Orson!
  • Book 45 - Orson's face can be found in the middle of the speedometer on the dashboard of Marco's dad Peter's car.
  • Book 46 - Orson Watch: On the side of the jet, if you look closely, you can make out the names of two captains: Orson and the cover artist himself, David Mattingly!
  • Book 49 - Orson can be seen on what appears to be a box of cat food.

Inside covers with photo or mention of Orson[]