Cat Folk

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mrrshantech_copy_6335.jpg

Cat Folk are Fantastic Sapient Species that are based on felines. They generally have a body type resembling felines to one degree or another, and are sometimes named after Real Life feline species. They can be science-fiction aliens or fantasy races. In terms of appearance, they can fall anywhere on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism from fully animal looking to barely non-human, however they must be sapient, non-human, and a distinct species from Real Life animals. Unlike Catgirls, Cat Folk have no particular tendency toward being female.

While Cat Folk have been depicted with a variety of behavioural and cultural characteristics, it is common to base at least some of their behaviour on feline Animal Stereotypes. Cat Folk based on large predatory cats, such as lions, tigers, and panthersnote  are generally depicted as being exceptionally strong and aggressive, with a Proud Warrior Race culture. Those based more around domestic cats are often depicted as selfish, arrogant and vain, with their fighting styles bent more towards dirty fighting, speed and agility.

This is closely related to Intelligent Gerbil (science fiction aliens based on animals), Petting Zoo People, and Little Bit Beastly. There can be overlap between this trope and Cat Girl, however only examples of Cat Folk that fall under Little Bit Beastly should also be listed under Cat Girl; Cat Girl examples should only be listed here if they represent an entire distinct species.

Feline therianthropes and humans that shapeshift into cats are werecats. Humans that are dressed as cats have on an Animal-Eared Headband. Cartoon Funny Animals and Talking Animals are not this trope, as they are intended to depict Real Life animals, however anthropomorphic they may be.

Not to be confused with the movie Cat People or the Cat Person series of Internet shorts.

Examples Include:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Cat Planet Cuties has the Catians, an alien race of creatures resembling Catgirls. Females enter their first heat at the age of 16. They are enemies with a race of dog-eared people.
  • Catnapped! has anthropomorphic cats from the planet Banipal Witt.
  • One of the many species inhabiting the Earth of Dragon Ball. Notable examples include Puar and Karin.
  • The French Manga-style comics Dreamland has the Cat Kingdom, with most of its people specialized in trade and marketing. With one or two Mega Nekos for Asskicking Equals Authority and a cute little cat with a mustache as a King.
  • The Exceed from Fairy Tail.
  • In Macross Delta, the Little Bit Beastly natives of the planet Voldor are descended from felines modified by the Protoculture.
  • The first such example of Cat Folk in One Piece is Pekoms, a crew member of on of the four pirate emperors, Big Mom. He is a lion-man with a Devil Fruit ability which allows him to become a turtle. Pekoms comes from Zou, an island full of Petting Zoo People called minks which includes several Cat Folk, such as the Jaguar mink Pedro of the Treetops and Boss Cat Viper, a large feline who co-leads the nation alongside Duke Dogstorm.
  • The Ctarl Ctarl from Outlaw Star are a race of cat-people who can shapeshift into big alien feline beasts. They are depicted as being a particular passionate and often violent species.
  • Space Dandy's Meow is technically called a Betelgeusian, but everybody he meets just calls him a "space cat". Meow isn't his actual name, but Dandy and QT couldn't be assed to pronounce his real one.
  • Fighting Foodons has Clawdia, an anthropomorphic cat with pink fur and is a skilled chef. She was once a human but was cursed and became the feline that she is at the beginning of the series. That being said, she is the only anthropomorphic cat in the series.

    Comics 
  • The Aldebarans from Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars.
  • DC Comics:
    • Among the humanoid animals in the future of Jack Kirby's Kamandi are a race of honor-driven tiger people; Final Crisis tied their culture's origins to the Captain Marvel character and proud Cat Fellow Mr. Tawky-Tawny, "the Civilized Tiger."
    • The potion-transformed Desmond Farr, otherwise known as Tiger-Man.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Cat People, who were created from house cats by ancient sorcerers. The Avengers character Tigra got her powers from them.
    • In one issue of X-Men, Beast met a feral mutant who was half human and half feline in appearance. Despite appearing to be about 20 years old, she also showed signs that she was dying of old age. After Jean Grey probed her mind and was unable to find any sort of human-like intelligence, Beast realized that she was, in fact, a cat who'd mutated to be humanoid rather than a human who'd mutated to have a more feline appearance. He released her so that she could live her remaining days in the wild that she'd always known.
  • The Felim in Nexus are a race of Little Bit Beastly aliens, who also qualify for Cat Girl.
  • Shakara: Valentine, a swaggering alien Professional Killer, recalls how he hooked up with a feline Femme Fatale client in his memoirs.
  • Orube in W.I.T.C.H. has feline-like features. This is a relatively common characteristic on her homeworld of Basiliade (the second inhabitant of Basiliade to appear, Luba, is even more cat-looking than her), but not universal, as shown by the very first of them to appear, the Oracle Himerish, being externally identical to humans.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The cats are just one of many species that populate the world in Diaries of a Madman.
  • The Svenjaya in The Keys Stand Alone. They're described as a cross between elves and cats, and are a Slave Race on the Flying Island of Tipaan. Except for being furry and hissing in anger once in a while, they don't seem to have many catlike traits. The four, George in particular, love them for being smart, dryly humorous, and musical.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Babylon 5 has Jha'dur, the last warmaster of the Dilgar and last surviving Dilgar in general.
  • The Irathient in Defiance definitely have some cat-like facial characteristics, although this is less defined than in most examples.
  • Doctor Who
    • The Cheetah People in "Survival".
    • The leonine Tharils in "Warriors' Gate".
    • The unnamed feline folk species that includes the Sisters of Plentitude in the episodes "New Earth" and "Gridlock" and Thomas Brannigan in "Gridlock". Called Catkind in the Expanded Universe.
    • Leandro in "The Woman Who Lived"
  • Grimm has both cat-like and lion-like Wesen; the cats are typically cunning and scrappy while the lions are forceful, proud and charismatic. They've mostly shown up as enemies.
  • On Red Dwarf, the ship's cats evolved over the eons into a Little Bit Beastly species of very vain humanoids, one of whom is a main character.
  • The Proud Warrior Race of the Venek are lion-like warrior aliens in Farscape. Also an example of Cats Are Mean.

    Literature 
  • The tarrie-cats of Clive Barker's Abarat, a species of oversized, intelligent speaking tabbies.
  • Karina's race in Cat Karina by Michael G. Coney. They are one of several races on a future Earth genetically engineered by humans from animal species.
  • C. J. Cherryh's Chanur Novels has the Hani, a species who are essentially bipedal intelligent terrestrial lions.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover stories: the cat-men (or cat-people).
  • A major focus of Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series is on the fight for the Lemurian, anthropomorphic cat-monkeys, survival. The Lemurians are first called cat-monkeys and monkey-cats (depending who you asked aboard the ship) before the term 'Cat is agreed upon as the appropriate diminutive. This species resembles cats so much that in the fifth book "Rising Tides" The humans in the Isles of New Britian, roughly where Hawaii should be, treats them as felines with the males showing disdain on the whole, and females lovingly cooing and stroking their fur.
  • The brownies in Cornelia Funke's Dragon Rider are described as humanoid catlike beings who love mushrooms and are experts in cultivating them. The same also applies to their four-armed Asian cousins, known as the Dubidai.
  • The Chelgrians in Iain M. Banks's Culture book Look to Windward (2000).
  • The Honor Harrington books have Treecats, a six-legged telepathic species resembling Terran cats.
  • John Ringo's Into the Looking Glass novel features the Mreee (pronounced the way a cat yowls when you stomp its tail) who look like three-foot tall anthropomorphic house cats and whose native language sounds like "cats stuck in a barrel."
  • The Kzinti in Larry Niven's Known Space books are an aggressive alien species resembling bipedal big cats in looks and personality. Or at least, their personality is derived from cat stereotypes. They are not strictly speaking bipedal cats — their physical features include a naked ratlike tail, ears resembling "pink parasols" or cocktail umbrellas and an almost ferret-like torso with ribs down to the pelvis, but the overall impression is catlike, and that's what they're most often compared to in the books.
  • The Toralii in Lacuna are basically this, with a side order of Proud Warrior Race.
  • The Hrrubans in Anne McCaffrey's Doona books.
  • Nohar Rajastan, from the Moreau Series is an anthropomorphic tiger, and the setting includes 'moreaus' based on several other felines.
  • Andre Norton:
    • The People in "A Breed to Come" were a race of sapient cats descended from modern Earth cats.
    • In Forerunner Foray, Yasa is a feline-evolved race; she is sensitive to scents, purrs, and totally self-absorbed albeit very practical about it.
    • The Salariki, who progress with astonishing rapidity from being primitive Proud Warrior Race Guys (Plague Ship) to sophisticated members of the interstellar community (Android at Arms).
  • The Klees of Eelong in The Pendragon Adventure are giant, bipedal cats, and the dominant species in that world.
  • Perry Rhodan has the Kartanin, who start out as a "plucky new species" making trouble for the at the time somewhat united races of the Milky Way galaxy when both sides are after the same unobtainium which for the Galactic species is at the time mostly a new curiosity while to the Kartanin it's vital to the functioning of their society and their defense efforts against their enemies (it provides female Kartanin with psychic powers) and are eventually revealed to be descended from advance scouts from another universe trying to lay the groundwork to one day transfer their entire home galaxy — where those of their species left behind still live in the then-present day — into ours to escape an artificially accelerated heat death in theirs.
  • Councilman Broft in Play Places, who has claws, orange fur, pointy ears, and a tail.
  • The Rogue King has the katess.
  • Lisanne Norman's science fiction series Sholan Alliance has humanoid cat-people as one of the main races of the setting, alongside humans and lizard-people. As they manage to be biologically compatible with humans, there are several interspecies pregnancies as a result of the frequent alien-human-alien three-way relationships.
  • The Togorians, Trianii, Cathars, Farghul and Catumans (among others) of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The Kumumgah (more famously known as Sand People or Tusken Raiders) have been reported to look slightly catlike under their bandage-masks; other than being savage, however, they do not correspond at all to pantherine creatures. And the Bothans are sometimes described as feline but look more like civets (small, weasel-shaped carnivores that are closely related to cats).
  • The Solaricans from Theirs Not to Reason Why are a fairly standard example.
  • The Sphinx race in Sergey Lukyanenko's Today, Mom! is a race of feline humanoids living on Venus. In the Film of the Book Asiris Nuna, they look mostly human with slight facial features reminiscent of cats and dreads. Their dress and architecture are reminiscent of Ancient Egypt. Shidla is a Sphinx who figures the most in the book and is the only one seen in the film. He snarls a lot and likes to call everyone "kitty". "Dog" is, apparently, an insult to his people. Like cats, they can see in the dark very well. In the film, Shidla dodges missiles Neo-style.
  • Uhura's Song features the Eeiauoans and their relatives the Sivaoans.
  • Robert Westall's Urn Burial has the Fefethil; a race of anthro-cats who look like humanoid cheetahs, complete with cat-ears, tails and eyes but human-esque hands and fingers (albeit with retractable claws still).
  • A. E. van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle had a cat-like alien called Coeurl.
  • Tigerishka's species in Fritz Leiber's The Wanderer
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe
    • The tigers in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Year of Intelligent Tigers. They're just intelligent tigers who have Bizarre Alien Biology, lay eggs, and have two opposable thumbs on each paw.
    • The Cat People in the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel Invasion Of The Cat People.
    • The Besiddians in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Dreamstone Moon, who have five rows of teeth, but are otherwise described very much as humanoid cats, including purring when they're happy.
  • Partly subverted in the Instrumentality Of Mankind series; most Underpeople, including catfolk, appear almost indistinguishable from humans, but vary greatly in how much of the non-human ancestry comes through, and at least one Lion underperson shows up in "The Dead Lady of Clown Town" who had fur, a mane, and claws.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the factions in Alkemy is the Khaliman Republic, a middle-eastern-style nation... populated entirely by anthropomorphic cat people.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Catfolk, a nomadic Beast Man species reminiscent of lions, found in the Races of the Wild rule book.
    • Another nomadic leonine is called the Wemic. They are centauroid lions. Wemics are excellent hunters and fighters. They do not make settled homes, but generally follow the herds they hunt for food, in the manner of a lion pride.
    • The Rakasta from the Mystara setting are another anthropomorphic cat-people in D&D, the most known subrace resembling domestic cats with very un-domestic personalities. A Dragon Magazine article featured a vast array of rakasta subraces, from alley cats to ocelots and lions to smilodons.
    • As of Bestiary 3, Pathfinder has both standard catfolk and maftets, a race descended from Sphinxes.
    • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Oriental Adventures had cat hengeyokai as character race.
    • The tabaxi are a race of leopard people who live in tropical jungles. The Forgotten Realms Spin-Off setting Maztica featured a race of jaguar people also called tabaxi; it explained that the name of the leopard-tabaxi from the Realms was pronounced "ta-bax-ee" while that of the Maztican jaguar-tabaxi was pronounced "ta-bash-ee". However, no justification was given to how two different species of cat-people on opposite ends of the world could have essentially the same name.
    • Also of note in Forgotten Realms is the city of Nathlekh, called the "City of the Cats", entirely populated by werelions, weretigers, and wemics and ruled over by a council of greater lammasu called the Council of Cat Lords. The city is devoted to the worship of Nobanion (Aslan under another guise) and Sharess, with hidden cults devoted to Malar.
    • 4th Edition's Player Handbook 2 includes the decidedly feline-looking Razorclaw Shifter, descended from Weretigers.
    • The Tibbit race, which are Small humanoids with cat ears and markings as if their skin were fur; they can also turn into a full cats in the manner of a Werecat.
    • The Guardinals were a race of extradimensional creatures of Incorruptible Pure Pureness who took on the forms of anthropomorphic animals. Their leaders were Leonals, or catfolk lions. Pathfinder expanded the race, gave it a new name, and made their leaders draconian creatures, but kept the leonals.
  • Magic: The Gathering
    • The cat warriors.
    • The lion-like Leonin from the planes of Mirrodin and Alara are considered a separate race from the leopard-, jaguar-, or tiger-like cat warriors of Dominaria (though cards that benefit cats work for both). Their ruler in the Mirrodin novels was Raksha Golden Cub. Ajani is a Leonin Planeswalker from Alara.
    • The Asian-inspired plane of Tarkir is home to Rakshasas, anthropomorphic demonic tigers note  who wield powerful dark magic, based off of a race of catlike demons from Hindu myth.
  • Rifts
    • The Kirn in the Rifts: Manhunter supplement.
    • There is an entire city of various types of cat people in South America, rule by three cat people gods.
    • The Emerin are sentient tabbies about six feet tall.
    • Dragon-cats.
    • Ramen are giant humanoid catfolk that serve Ra.
  • The Starfire board game has the Khanate of Orion.
  • Star Fleet Battles: Lyrans (lynx) and The Kzinti.
  • The Traveller Tabletop RPG has the Aslan.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the felinids, a rare strain of abhumans. That being said, its not exactly known if the Felinids are actually Cat Folk. Popular opinion, however, is that they are.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Age of Wonders II has a cat-folk race called Tigrans.
  • The Iskai of Albion look like cat people at first glance, but then not so much. They have a weird and elaborate set of characteristics: tall and thin humanoids with fur, a muzzle like a great cat's, huge eyes, differently-coloured long hair on their heads, digitigrade paws, bony hooks instead of claws, some gratuitous spikes at the elbows, bony ridges on their face, a telepathic forehead organ, four nipples/breasts, and a Prehensile Tail.
  • Avernum has the Nephilim, a furry, feline race renowned for their sharp senses and ability to see in the dark.
  • BlazBlue has a few examples; the Kaka Clan are essentially an almost always female race of Catgirls who wear hoods. There are also Jubei, whose clan was wiped out by the Black Beast (and whose DNA the Kaka were genetically engineered from) and his daughter Prof. Kokonoe, who's half human (or a half-human-looking Witch Species anyway).
  • The Breath of Fire series has the Woren.
  • In Darkstalkers, Catwomen are a Cat Girl style of Cat Folk that are their own distinct race of semi-human monsters. One of their more prominent members, Felicia, is a playable character.
  • Dofus: The Ecaflips are cat people and possess some feline traits. They also appear in the sequel game Wakfu, and in the cartoon of the same name.
  • Dwarf Fortress: A number of cat-based animal people — bobcat, cougar, jaguar, leopard, lion, lynx, ocelot and tiger men — in the shape of people with their animal counterpart’s head, tail and coat pattern can spawn in savage biomes. Like all other aboveground animal races, they’re not considered full intelligent races in-game and are essentially bipedal animals, although they can become citizens of an established civilization.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Khajiit are a feline race hailing from the deserts of Elsweyr in southern Tamriel. There are 17 known sub-breeds of Khajiit, with the sub-breed determined by the phases of the moon under which the Khajiit was born. The appearance of the sub-breeds can vary wildly. On one end are the Alfiq, who are the size of house cats and cannot speak, but do understand language and are reportedly powerful spell casters. Then there are several humanoid varieties of Khajiit, such as the Ohmes and Ohmes-raht (who appeared in Arena and Daggerfall). They are commonly mistaken for Bosmer (Wood Elves) due to their humanoid appearances with light fur and tails. The Suthay-raht, who appear in Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim are a bit less humanoid, but still bi-pedal with more cat-like features, postures, and hair. On the other end of the spectrum are the Senche and Senche-raht, who are quadrupeds with ape-like proportions and can be mounted by their comrades as Beasts Of Battle. Further, it's implied that all sub-species are capable of breeding with one another. The resulting offspring may not be either of the parents' breeds and is determined by the phases of the moons under which it is born. Culturally, the Khajiit (with their cross-continent merchant caravans, propensity for stealth, and being the frequent victims of Fantastic Racism) draw heavily from the Roma. Their language, Ta'agra, has no word for "rules", which can obviously lead to issues in the lands of other cultures where the Khajiit's actions may be interpreted as "theft." Finally, as a race, the Khajiit are highly susceptible to Moon Sugar addiction. (As well as its more potent derivative, Skooma.)
    • The Ka Po' Tun are a race of "tiger folk" hailing from the continent of Akavir. As they have not yet made an appearance in-game, it is unknown to what extent they may be similar to the Khajiit. Their culture is implied to be similar to the Chinese, with their Tiger-Dragon God-Emperor, Tosh Raka, having similarities to Mao Zedong.
  • In EverQuest, one of the playable races later on are the Vah Shir, a species of anthropomorphic big cats.
  • EverQuest II has the Kerrans, which physically resemble large humanoid felines. Their bodies are covered in fur with colors and patterns denoting their lineage.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • In Fire Emblem, the Beast Laguz tribe are based on both variations of cats: the smaller, quicker ones are based on house cats, while the larger ones are based on wild cats.
  • In Gems of War, the inhabitants of the Pridelands are often some sort of feline/humanoid combination; the Pride Hunter and Rex Warrior are lion-esque, while the Shadow Hunter is black-panther-esque. (There are also sabertooth lions, but they're just that, not cat folk.)
  • Guild Wars has the Charr, who play to the tiger end of the spectrum and, as a playable race in the second game, are highly disciplined soldiers and the most technologically sophisticated race in the setting, going full bore steampunk as opposed to the other races' more traditional fantasy looks. Played with a little in that they aren't just anthropomorphic felines, with horns, two sets of ears, and other physiological differences.
  • Iron Realms has a tiger-like race.
  • The Last Remnant has the Sovani race: tall, four-armed bipeds with lots of cat-like features.
  • Rengar from League of Legends is a leonine humanoid whose backstory and motivations are more than a little reminiscent of a Predator. His Headhunter skin further drives this point home.
  • Master of Orion series has an entire empire of cat-people, the Mrrshan, which were known for being one of the most aggressive and militaristic races throughout the series.
  • Nomad (AKA Project Nomad) has the Phelonese, a stuck-up matriarchal race of felines. Unfortunately, you have to deal with them, if you want to get the Quietus missiles, which can One-Hit Kill almost any ship in the game. They'll bring up their superiority every chance they get. Oh, and don't get in a fight with them, or they'll use those same missiles against you. At this point, it'll depend on other systems, such as thrusters (how fast can your ship turn to get them in front of you), targeting sensors (how fast can you get a lock), and missile loaders (Quietus missiles are notoriously slow to load). Shields at this point are useless, given the nature of the weapon.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon: Incineroar, the final evolution of the Fire starter, Litten, is a muscular, humanoid wrestling tiger.
  • The Quest for Glory series has the Katta, a race of cat-like humanoids. Quest for Glory I also has the feral Cheetaur, cheetahs shaped like centaurs, as strong enemies. It also has the Liontaur people, which are basically lions shaped like centaurs. Rakeesh in Quest For Glory II, III, and V is a major friend and supporting character of the Hero. Finally, Quest For Glory III has the Leopardmen, a secretive tribe in the jungle.
  • The Lombaxes of Ratchet & Clank are a race of bipedal, catlike aliens with a strong affinity for weapons and technology. With an exception or two, such as Ratchet himself, the entire species has been hunted into extinction (or has fled to an alternate dimension, rather) by Emperor Tachyon.
  • Another Proud Warrior Race Guy example is Dantom, a tiger-person boss from Shining Force CD.
  • Solatorobo's Felineko are a race of Cat Folk who follow several cat stereotypes, such as being fiercely independent, quite aggressive, moody, calculating, agile, and naturally skilled at magic. They come in several different breeds, from common house cats to tigers.
  • The Star Ocean series has the Fellpool race.
  • Star Trek Online has the Caitians and the Ferasians, the latter being copyright-friendly versions of the Kzinti. Their backstory implies they were once the same race, but the Ferasans did extensive genetic modifications.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic features the Cathar, a mostly Republic-aligned race of humanoid felines. The first Non-Player Companion of the Republic Trooper class is a Cathar trooper Aric Jorgan.
    • Knights of the Old Republic also has a Cathar party member with Juhani. The species hat is that they are fierce fighters, loyal to a fault, and tend to run hot and cold emotionally with HairTriggerTempers by human standards. If you've made them angry, they'll come at you, claws out. If you get past the prickly exterior and earn their loyalty and trust, they're incredibly sweet.
  • The Kilrathi from the Wing Commander series, who are the primary antagonists through much of the series, are bipedal felinoids evolved up from lion-analogues on Kilrah, with their evolution outlined in broad strokes in Voices of War.note 
  • The Wizardry series has had Felpurr, humanoid cats described as descended from house cats, stretching back to 1990 in Wizardry 6: Bane of the Cosmic Forge. Felpurr are known for having one of the best stat lines in the game, reaching many elite professions with fewer attribute points than any other race. Particularly favoring speed and personality, they overshadowed even hobbits as the best thieves and bards in the series.
  • World of Warcraft has the Tol'vir; a race of centaur-like beings with lion bodies and feline faces, crafted by the Titans from stone (and turned into flesh by the Old Gods).
    • With the release of Warlords of Draenor, we now have the Saberon which are a bipedal (but also have the ability to run on all fours) race of saber-tooth cat people. They live in various, independent tribes and are extremely hostile to everyone, with a few exceptions. At level 100, feral druids can take a talent to transform into one, in place of their standard cat form, with added benefits.
  • The Wrothians of Xenoblade Chronicles X are a Proud Warrior Race of these with a very Japanese-inspired culture.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The Chakat species, which are hermaphroditic felinoid taurs genetically engineered to be disease resistant and empathic. They are able to breed with all of the other taurs except Quange, which are horse-based. This is probably because chakats are the best of many species brought together, but none of the used species were equine. It also created a powerful maternal instinct that can manifest as a rage brought on by threatening to harm their children, which one xenophobic vixen discovered the painful way.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Itica are cat people who live in the jungles of Eastern Aison.
  • The Stallonians in the Monster World series by deviantArt's monstermaster13.
  • Tom from Ruby Quest.

    Western Animation 


Alternative Title(s): Feline Folk, Humanoid Cat

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Catfolk