<<Bungle, the Glass Cat is a character in the Oz books of L. Frank Baum. Bungle first appears in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, the seventh of Baum's fourteen Oz books.
- King Henry V Act 2, Scene 2
KING HENRY V: All other devils that suggest by treasons
- Do botch and bungle up damnation
With patches, colours, and with forms being fetch'd
From glistering semblances of piety.
The magician Dr. Pipt tests his Powder of Life by animating an ornamental glass cat figurine, for the specific purpose of catching mice for his wife Margolotte. But the Glass Cat turns out to be exceptionally vain, and unwilling to do any work. Margolotte names it Bungle. The Glass Cat is transparent, except for its hard blood-red ruby heart, two large emeralds for eyes, and its bright pink brains, which look rather like a collection of marbles and can be seen working in the cat's head. It has a tail of spun-glass.
In personality, Bungle is almost stereotypically catlike — cool and reserved and aloof as well as vain. The cat "is so determined not to show emotion that when implored to bring help she sets off very slowly and runs only when out of sight." Through its incessant prowling throughout the Land of Oz, however, the Glass Cat has acquired intimate knowledge of its complex terrain; and it is generally willing to exploit this knowledge to the benefit of Dorothy and her friends. In The Magic of Oz, for example, the Glass Cat guides the rescue party that saves Trot and Cap'n Bill from entrapment on the Magic Isle. And the Cat is virtually invulnerable to harm, which is a great advantage in its various adventures.
It was quickly reasoned that it was Bungle's pink brains that had made her so conceited, and the Wizard of Oz eventually replaced them with clear ones to make her more agreeable. After her adventures with Ojo the Lucky and the Patchwork Girl, the Cat ended up being a pet of Princess Ozma in the Emerald City.
While various writers have explored the theme of invisibility, both before and after H. G. Wells, Baum was unusual in creating a character that is transparent but visible. At least one other writer has taken up Baum's inspiration: James Alan Gardner's transparent woman, Oar, in his novels Expendable (1997) and Ascending (2001), has a Bungle-like vanity, but also a positive impact, much like Baum's cat.>>