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Feline Themed Races

Deja II

New Member
When looking for a couple references for characters and races, I could not pin down the right key words to use. Therefore I have come to ask what feline themed races are there, in all the different fantasy worlds? Sentient humanoids is the defining line of race, for today. All species of cats are on the table, as well.


Myth Weaver
On my worlds, I have the 'Rachasa,' drawn very loosely from South Asian mythology. These (my version) are short, muscular humanoids covered with fur from 1/2 inch to 1 inch long (2-4 centimeters) that ranges from gold to brown to red to black in color. Facial features are very cat-like. Three fingers on each hand, with retractable claws several inches long (10 centimeters or so). Likewise, three toed feet, also equipped with retractable claws. While only chest high or so to a typical human, rachasa tend to be far stronger. They can leap straight up most of twenty feet (six meters) and can manage a standing broad jump of 40+ feet. With a running start they can leap a gorge 150+ feet in width (25 meters or more). Despite their strength, Rachasa are not built for endurance: they'd win against a human in a hundred meter dash, but probably lose a five kilometer marathon.

One rachasa is considered to be a match for three of four normal human warriors - though the very best knights and fighters are a rachasa's near equal in combat. Only their small numbers and lack of disciplined organization keep them from being a major threat. One weakness: Rachasa do fear fire.

Rachasa consider themselves to be hunters and warriors above all else. Commerce is principally barter; money holds no real interest, though some treat it as a sort of game - one they will not hesitate to walk away from if it becomes boring. A rachasa merchant is almost an oxymoron. Speakers (diplomats, language experts) and Rite Masters (shaman, healers) do practice magic, but this is always secondary. Magic usually focuses on weather, communication, and finding/luring prey. They are organized into nomadic 'septs' or 'packs' ranging from as few as three or four to well over fifty. Many septs will have members of other races with them - slaves who act as groomers and 'fire tenders' responsible for cooking and simple metalwork. Five to fifteen septs make up a clan or tribe, which will have a central encampment that might almost be taken for a town.

On the one world, some of the gathering points became towns in fact, and Rachasa overlords used them as bases to annex large territories, creating nations of a sort. Said nations are almost always either loose confederations or brutal dictatorships. Both sorts incorporate large numbers of other races as artisans, petty bureaucrats, and other professions Rachasa cannot be bothered with.


Heheh, take care looking this stuff up. You might find more than you reckon for.
One thing to consider is just how animal-y you want them to be. While it's less important in a non-visual medium it'll probably affect how you think of them if they're just people with tails & cat ears vs guys with full lion heads and covered in fur vs basically houscats walking on their hind legs.

Insolent Lad

My only intelligent cat-like beings so far have been the sphinxes. One appearance, a few references to them. I chose to make them essentially large cats with somewhat human-looking heads (but NOT human in any way). Of course, gods with an alternate cat persona are an whole other thing.


Khajiit in Elder Scrolls world is one. D&D has the rakshasa, although more used as a monster. There's one in the Star Wars universe that I can't remember the name!


Have written cat people. Can't say I made them any one race, more a collection of different breeds. And, yes, watch what you look for when researching with this, especially on sites like Pinterest. Yeesh. :eek:


One thing to consider is just how animal-y you want them to be.
Queshire has a good point. I have a race that is almost completely human/elven in appearance except for cat eyes, cat fangs, and sharper nails. The part where their 'feline' side becomes more evident is in how they behave and act. They move very gracefully like a cat, they behave as if they are superior to most races, they tend to chase random small creatures, they enjoy climbing, they aren't very fond of baths or water, they are known to target an enemies throat, they tend to play games with their enemies a lot, they jump about 20ft up in the air if you sneak up on them and so on.


Hi All,
Don't forget the Kzinti from Larry Niven. While sci-fi one, could adopt them or a facsimile into a fantasy world. I also think there is plenty of mythology/fables around cats as shapeshifters in human society. One could also introduce a lycanthropic version of felines.

Semper Fidelis
Right now, I only have a race called "Catfolk," but that's just a working name until I come up with something better. Basically, in my setting, there were nine original races. However, an event called the Divine War caused groups of people to be transformed in various ways. The gods were waging a direct war with each other, and I decided that when one god punches another god, weird stuff happens to the physical world. So, you'd have groups of Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, etc., who suddenly transformed into things like Satyrs, Minotaurs, Centaurs, and the like. My Catfolk were originally Elves who took on feline attributes when the clashing divine energies affected them. I'm still working out the design, but I'm thinking that they have fur all over their bodies, cat ears and tails, and possibly feline noses. Oh, and claws.

Over time, the Catfolk have diverged into various subgroups, so you have some that are more like big cats (lions, tigers, jaguars, etc.,) and some that are more like domesticated cats. I think the ones that are more like big cats have stronger feline features while those that are more like domesticated cats have shifted a bit back toward looking like Elves.


In my setting, the Duoverse, a powerful god experimented with using cats as messengers. The infusion of divine energies caused the cats to rapidly evolve, becoming identical to humans save for their ears, tails, eyes, and facial markings. This was the birth of the House of R'Chell, who now travel the Duoverse trying to find meaning in their existence after being abandoned by their creator.


I have a feline based race, they're shape shifters, able to look human, though their eyes remain cat-like, and they have the sinuous, elegant way of moving of cats, plus night vision. They usually go full cat when in battle and when in their own small village communities - mostly in the tropics. Regular humans call them Kats, intending it to be slightly insulting.

BJ Swabb

I have a few, but ones that you might be interested in are werecats. I haven't ever seen them used much. The one place I have seen them used was in the Inheritance Cycle by Paolini.


I've heard them called beastkin, that's what I'd use though it sounds more like a slur, and in the gritty novels I write that's fine. It's hard to use this one without actually having an intact Japan in your world but they can also be called nekos. That just means cat in Japanese, but it's used to refer to cat-folk, catgirls especially, but also femboy catboys. I doubt a full fledged cat man would let you call him neko.


When looking for a couple references for characters and races, I could not pin down the right key words to use. Therefore I have come to ask what feline themed races are there, in all the different fantasy worlds? Sentient humanoids is the defining line of race, for today. All species of cats are on the table, as well.


In my current WIP my main character is what her people call a Changeling, the result of a chance mating with a human. While her facial features are humanoid, she possesses the tail, fangs, and retractable claws of her people, along with feline ears set on the sides of her head. In the story she becomes depressed by the persecution of other children, even though her mother is the queen, and decides to go live among humans as one of them. Her father's reaction when she turns up on his doorstep goes like this:

'Her father's voice from long ago: Sweetheart, you can get away with the ears, your hair will cover them, and no one is going to look hard at fingernails so long as you keep them retracted. But that tail ! Her father had sighed in resignation. Well I suppose as long as you wear loose trousers...you're really sure you want to do this?'