Wanna be a lion
Everybody wanna pass as cats
Let's face it: Cats are a huge part of the human experience. They make things cuter
, they complement schemes to take over the world
, their ears and tails are often added to the human form
(and indeed, the feline face itself has long been described as vaguely humanoid in appearance
), but there's another class of cat altogether. Ever since the first anthropoid was dragged off and eaten by a sabertooth, the large cats have invoked fear and awe in the hearts of humans. They've become the symbols of kings, empires, even gods and demons. Their pelts are gorgeous and carry with them a sense of awe. And, obviously, they have a profound impact on humans and the fiction they produce.
See Analysis.Panthera Awesome
for ways this trope applies to specific cats.
See Cool Cat
for when this applies to regular cats. Lions also get their own page as the King of Beasts
. Also note Our Gryphons Are Different
, when big cats (specially lions) are mixed
with other awe-inspiring creatures, the birds of prey
. Despite the popular name, the Tasmanian Tiger
(more accurately, the Thylacine) is not a cat, but a marsupial.
While this trope is about big cats, it should not be confused with Mega Neko
, which is about cats that are exceptionally
large for their species.
Also not to be confused with the metal group Pantera
, which is indeed awesome, but not feline.
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In General / Multiple Types
Anime and Manga
- Animal Land features several of these among its animal cast. They range from Kurokagi, a gigantic lynx, to lions the size of small skyscrappers.
- From Cardcaptor Sakura, the true forms of Kerberos and Spinel Sun.
- In the Discworld fanfic Whys and Weres, the werewolves of Überwald realise - belatedly - that they are not the only were-creatures on the Disc. For, from out of Darkest Howondaland, the Leopard Society has stirred and come to town. And when a werewolf meets were-leopards, never has the phrase "they fight like cat and dog" been more appropriate....
- In the 2011 movie We Bought a Zoo, although the movie is about zoo in general, the animal that gets the lion's share of the story focus is tigers. A male lion also makes an appearance. Jaguars are also mentioned but never showed.
- Similarly, although multiple animals appeared to converse with, the Eddie Murphy remake of Dr. Dolittle focused a great deal on a tiger and the movie's climax revolved around an operation to save his life, with the doctor's conversational talent critical to making this possible (first by identifying what was wrong with him, then being used to help soothe and calm him while he was being operated on).
- The moor cats of Shannara are a fictional species resembling the panther with the ability to blend into their surroundings. They are a match for most of the franchise's monsters, including the werebeasts and the Shadowen.
- In Kingdoms of Light by Alan Dean Foster, a spell transforms a bird, a terrier, a snake and three cats into humans to return color to the drab Kingdom of Gowlands after it was taken over by an evil warlock and his goblin hordes. During the Final Battle all the animals transform into larger wild animal counterparts of their respective species. The bird turns into a firebird, the terrier into a large wolfdog, the snake into a reticulated python, and the three cats into a lion, a panther, and a leopard respectively.
- Also by Foster, you have Ahlitah from the Journeys of the Catechist series. He's a hybrid of lion and cheetah, and possesses his father's strength (the lion), and his mother's speed. He basically serves as The Snark Knight throughout the series, and The Big Guy for the first book.
- And also by Foster, the world of Spellsinger doesn't have many feline characters appear, but among those which do many cats are Mooks for the bad guys; one, the sadistic Sasheem, is the first mate for Pirate Parrot Corroboc; and the heroic, Badass, Dual Wielding Amazonian tigress with a Southern drawl, Roseroar, becomes a great ally to the hero of the series.
- In Warrior Cats, the cats' mythology says that they're descended from a LionClan, TigerClan, and LeopardClan, and they have folk tales about these Clans (which Word of God says are just stories - the big-cat Clans did not actually exist). One big cat does actually make an appearance in the series - a mountain lion that preys on the local cats, who have dubbed him "Sharptooth".
- The Honor Harrington series and its Young Adult spinoff Stephanie Harrington feature the hexapuma, a six-legged felinoid that only vaguely resembles Earth "big cats", and can grow up to three meters long, massing several hundred kilograms when mature. To the other six-legged felinoids, the Treecats, they're known as "Death Fangs", and even with high-powered human rifles (civilian, anyway) can take several shots to kill.
- Come to think of it, Treecats themselves deserve an honourable mention here; they're not much larger than an Earth housecat, but they can do a remarkably good impression of a self-propelled buzzsaw if threatened.
- In the Obsidian And Blood trilogy, people born on the day of the Jaguar in the Aztec calendar can summon jaguar spirits. Most people can only manage insubstantial kittens, if that; but someone with enough training can summon a war-beast capable of splitting bone with its claws.
- In ''Forests of the Night'' and the sequel Fearful Symmetries the hero is Nohar Rajasthan, an 8-foot anthropomorphic tiger.
- Super Sentai (and by extension, Power Rangers) that have any animal theme at all will have at least one big cat in the mix. Special notice goes to Gekiranger/Jungle Fury, in which "big cats" were the de facto theme: the three core Rangers had tiger, cheetah, and jaguar powers, the Big Bad was a lion, and one mentor type, Sha Fu/Master Mao, is apparently a caracal. The only exceptions were Kakuranger/Mighty Morphin' Season 3, the dinosaur-themed Abaranger/Dino Thunder and Kyoryuger/Dino Charge, and bird-themed Jetman - though they did manage to throw a sabertooth into the other dinosaur season, Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin' Season 1.
- Kamen Rider OOO has this as Kazari's Animal Motif, with Lion, Tora (Tiger), and Cheetah Core Medals.
- Big Cat Diaries focuses on the lives of three real big cat families each season - a cheetah family, a lion pride and a leopard family. You get to see the real-life awesomeness of these cats in this show, although with just how hard it is to be a wild animal.
- The playfield for Atari's Middle Earth pinball is dotted with several exotic cats, all of which are large, fanged, and ferocious.
- The Bastet werecats from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. There are nine tribes, each based on folk depictions of the animals. Simba werelions style themselves as natural leaders, Swara werecheetahs are messengers, Khan weretigers are warriors and heavily involved with the Hengeyokai, Bagheera werepanthers/leopards are judges/justice-dealers, Pumonca werecougars are travellers, Qualmi werelinxes are mystics/riddle-lovers, the Ceilican are faerie-touched Eurasian wildcats, and the Bubasti are mysterious Egyptian black cats. Unfortunately, the Bastet as a whole are difficult for players to portray. They're solitary by nature except for the Simba and Khan, but only in the context of an African or Asian setting. And like other Changing Breeds, they're an ill fit for the social dynamic of a werewolf pack. This does not stop players with Special Snowflake Syndrome from insisting on playing one.
- The Lyran Empire in Star Fleet Battles names all its ship models after species of big cats, e.g. the Tiger cruiser, Saber-Toothed Tiger mauler, Cheetah frigate...
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Rakasta, humanoid big cats who come in much the same types as Werewolf's Bastet.
- Catfolk appear in both 3rd Edition and Pathfinder. They seem to be based roughly off of lions in the former, leopards in the latter.
- Third Edition also featured numerous feline based prestige classes, usually centered around gaining the ability to transform into cats, gain catlike senses or other traits, or summon various types of felines. Or any combination of the above.
- Traveller : Played with, with the Aslan. The Aslan look like lions, however they are not even mammalian and act like many tribes of humans do.
- Anima: Beyond Fantasy has Arturia, the white lion that was the companion of Zhorne Giovanni, the first Emperor and Dakku, a black panther in lots of steroids that's the companion of Lucanor Giovanni
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!
- there is the Sylvan Morigami Alsei, which is a gigantic plant-like tiger.
- Also, Naturia Leodrake has the highest attack power among the Naturia, but has no effects whatsoever. It later becomes Leoh, Protector Beast of the Sacred Tree, who is enhanced with the armors worn by the "Constellar" and the "Evilswarm", respectively. Leoh is also a shortened version of "Leodrake". Gao is one Level higher than "Naturia Leodrake" and has 100 more ATK and DEF.
- The very purple, very humanoid Panther Warrior is probably meant to be a melanistic leopard, but it's hard to say. It's a four-star monster with a fairly high attack rating, but one that comes at a price (requiring tributes every time it attacks).
- Soul Tiger, a soul-eating ghost tiger, is a four-star monster with no attack power, but a very high defense rating of 2100 at no price.
- Amazoness Tiger is another four-star tiger monster with the potential to balloon up to a beefy 2700 attack rating just by being around other Amazoness cards.
- A fair number of units in BattleTech are named after big cats. They tend to be much more dangerous than their size implies.
- Oddly enough, many examples share a very specific weight class—35 tons. This specific category includes light Battlemechs such as the Panther, the Puma (properly known as the Adder in Clan circles), the Cougar, the Ocelot, and the Jaguar.
- There is also the larger Lynx medium Battlemech.
- Tiger and Puma tanks.
- Aircraft with Panthera family names include the Cheetah light fighter and Lion and Leopard DropShips.
- Transformers. Every group of animal-based 'bots will have at least one cat in the mix, sometimes breaking the only-one-of-each-type rule that most such teams would be expected to have. (The original Predacons have a lion and a tiger, the early Maximals have a tiger and a cheetah). Even several series with mostly vehicle types tend to have a kitty as one of the few animal-based 'bots.
- Primal Rage's toyline had the, well, toyline only Slash Fang, a character who was supposed to show up in the cancelled sequel, and showed up in the novelization of the story. He's a giant two-legged sabretooth tiger, as his name implies.
- The Bonus Boss in The World Ends with You, Sanae Hanekoma Panthera Cantus. His noise form is a Palette Swap of Tigris Cantus and Leo Cantus at the same time.
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn has the Beast tribe laguz which consist of lions, tigers, and "domestic" cats, among other things. King Caineghis (lion), Skrimir ('nother lion), Giffca ('nother lion) and Ranulf (cat) are the most badass of the bunch. The backstory has the White Lion, Soan, who's halfbreed descendent is a recruitable Master Swordsman in both games.
- Bloody Roar went nuts with the were-felines as the series progressed. It started with Gado (lion) and Long (tiger), then introduced Shina (leopard), Shenlong (another tiger), and Uriko (Cat Girl).
- Coeurls in the Final Fantasy series tend to appear as large cats with long whiskers, and have a powerful psychic attack.
- Guild Wars has the charr, who are playable in Guild Wars 2. Also, they have horns.
- The Warcraft series and its sequel MMO World of Warcraft provide several examples:
- Large cats are particularly associated with night elves. Priestess of the Moon heroes and huntress units in Warcraft III rode Nightsabernote mounts, and these same animals became the racial mount for night elves in WoW. In addition, night elf hunter characters start with a nightsaber as their pet when they are first created.
- Druids learn Cat Form early on the in the game, which is the form that allows them to deal melee damage. Night elf and worgen druids become panthers, trolls become tigers, and tauren become lions.
- Lions feature heavily in the heraldry of the humans as well. Anduin Lothar, a legendary human warrior from the Kingdom of Stormwind, was called the "Lion of Azeroth," and a lion emblem is front-and-center on the crest of the Alliance, one of the two major playable factions. Many players have pointed out that this makes little sense, as no lions can be found on the Eastern Kingdoms, the continent where humans hail from.note
- The Shado-Pan, an elite society of Pandaren warriors and monks introduced in Mists of Pandaria, use variously-colored tigers as mounts. Players can ride them as well upon reaching sufficient reputation with the faction.
- Also introduced in Mists was Xuen the White Tiger, one of the four Celestials who watch over the continent of Pandaria. Xuen embodies the "warrior spirit" of Pandaria and especially the Pandaren.
- Finally, many, many varieties of Cat exist for hunter characters to tame. They can be found all over the world, and some are unique in some fashion and highly sought after.
- In Age of Empires III the whole package of big cats appears with Asian Dynasties expansion. Jaguars, cougars, lions, tigers, white tigers, snow leopards and leopards, in the form of black panthers. They are all quite nasty to face, especially the ones available as trainable units.
- In Age of Empires II The Conquerors you only have jaguars. And the elite unit of Aztec Civilization is Jaguar Warriors.
- Primal Rage's cancelled sequel was to have a giant sabretooth tiger amongst the pantheon of pre-historic gods, named Slash Fang.
- The Ronso, a Proud Warrior Race of tribal, one-horned big cats found in Final Fantasy X's Spira.
- Panthera, clearly. It's about a bunch of teens with attitude who can use magic to transform into giant feral cats.
- One of the shapeshifting Beings in But I'm a Cat Person is normally a tiger. In spite of the usual one-species-only limit on its kind, it can also turn into certain related cats like a leopard and an Iberian lynx. (The reasons are only apparent if you study ancient Greek and Sanskrit.)
- The German Army has gotten in on the trope via Theme Naming of their armored vehicles: Pumas and Panthers and Tigers, oh my. Leopard II tanks are the most modern in the series. (The whole "big cat" thing might have something to with the fact that the German word for armor in general is panzer...) There was also a Lynx light recce tank in Hitler's menagerie. This trope is somewhat subverted in that - seemingly having run out of cat names - the very largest tank fielded by the Germans, at way over 100 tons, was called the Maus.
- And a family of self-propelled artillery weapons - admittedly with 88mm or 105mm stings - were called the Wespe, Hornisse and the Hummel - Wasp, Hornet and Bumblebee.
- Apple has codenamed every version of OS X from 10.0-10.8 after one of the big cats. (xkcd even pointed out sabretooth tigers need to come next). (To everyone's disappointment, Apple decided to switch to names of places in California, starting with the Mavericks surfing area).
- Pitting lions and tigers against each other has been a common theme throughout history in both literature and real life, ranging from scholarly comparisons to actual arranged fights.
- Lions are a favorite heraldic symbol competing with eagles in popularity. Some heraldic artists Take a Third Option and use a Gryphon which is after all both an eagle and a lion so to speak. Venice used the "Lion of St Mark" (a winged lion) as a national symbol and England uses a Lion. You would think such conspicuously nautical powers would prefer a Marlin or some other badass nautical critter. No matter.
- Unusually Badass Sherpas are honored with the title of "Tiger".
- Whether it's positive or not, it's up to you: in Brazil, the nickname since 1979 for the income tax is "lion", originating from a campaign from the local IRS associating said tax with the animal.
- The Aztecs had Jaguar Warriors.
Anime and Manga
- Kimba the White Lion
- Kitty's uncle Specklerex is a spotted Lion, most likely actually a Leopon (Leopard/Lion Hybrid).
- Hienkel the Chimera in Fullmetal Alchemist transforms into a Lion/Human hybrid.
- GaoGaiGar in GaoGaiGar is made of a robotic lion named Ghaleon and other mecha. Gai Shishio's (it's pilot) last name means "Lion King".
- Beast Wars II had Optimus Prime (Convoy in Japan) expy and white lion Lio Convoy leading that series' group of Maximals (Cybertrons).
- Digimon provides an extensive family of lion-based Mons, all of which are afflicted by a Running Mythology Gag: if you see one in an incarnation of the franchise, it's a pretty good bet that he'll be a literal Sacrificial Lion; The most well-known and founder of the gag is Leomon of Digimon Adventure and Digimon Tamers; other lions include Loewemon, BantyoLeomon, MadLeomon and Apollomon. All these characters died at some point; Apollomon even died twice!
- Digimon has some other examples that exist outside of the "running gag": notable ones include Baihumon, one of Digimon's Four Sovereigns; Mihiramon, the Tiger Deva from Digimon Tamers; Lynxmon, who is also on fire; and many, many more.
- Leo Aioria from Saint Seiya wears the Leo Gold Cloth, based off the zodiac sign. His eyes and explosive personality are often compared to that of a lion, and he's nicnkamed "The Golden Lion".
- In the old anime Beast Fighter, Shinichi Kuruma can transform into a mishmash of animals, a lion being one of them.
- Kerberos/Kero from Cardcaptor Sakura, specially in his true form.
- Teika from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki.
- Mila-Rose from Bleach.
- Leonmichelle and Gaul from Dog Days.
- Season 3 of Shakugan no Shana had minor villain Purson, a man with a lion's head and a lion's roar.
- In Usagi Yojimbo, Usagi's sensei is a lion. It also features cat-ninja. His previous master also appeared to be a lion.
- Living in the savanna with a pride of lions is what turned Catman from a joke-villain into an incredible badass.
- Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia. Jesus Christ is a lion, get in the wardrobe!
- There was also another lion who was petrified for most of the first book. He eventually fights alongside Aslan in the final battle against the White Witch after being freed.
- Born Free: book in 1960, film in 1966. A lioness, raised from a cub in captivity, is rehabilitated to life in the wild. In the late 50's the idea of rehabilitating captive animals for successful life in the wild was not widely accepted or attempted. The Adamsons may have been the first to try it.
- Lions (called "Numa") appeared in several of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan stories.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Tower of the Elephant", the title tower has lions in the garden to guard it.
- David in Animorphs acquired this morph and for a while displaced Jake as the only big cat in the group. They even had a big cat showdown where David nearly killed Jake when Jake's usual bite-the-neck tactic didn't work thanks to the mane.
- In Sarah A. Hoyt's Draw One in the Dark, Tom and Kyrie are aided by a mysterious lion, which they deduce has to be a shape-shifter, like them.
- Zamba, the story of Dr. Ralph Helfer's tame lion who was his first and biggest example of successful affection training, and a star of numerous TV commercials and movies in the 60s and 70s.
- Old Tokusatsu show Kaiketsu Lion-Maru, whereas the protagonist is a mystical swordsman named Shishimaru who can turn into an even more fearsome swordsman with the head of a lion, called 'Lion-maru'.
- Ultraman Leo, complete with the theme song verse "The eye of the lion is shining" and a lion's head (it roars in Episode 2) standing in for Leo's home planet in the L-77 nebula.
- As noted above, Super Sentai and Power Rangers tend to include a lot of big cats in their series, and a large majority of them are lions. See the entry in King of Beasts for details.
- Counting Crows' song "Mr. Jones" contains the lyrics "I want to be a lion / We all want to pass as cats."
- One of Hercules's Twelve Labors is killing the powerful Nemean lion that's apparently invulnerable. When no weapon seemed to harm it, he choked the lion to death.
- The Greek goddess Cybele is sometimes shown riding a chariot drawn by lions.
- David, in The Bible, bragged to Goliath about killing lions with his sling and staff as a shepherd.
- Wemics, the tribal liontaurs of Dungeons & Dragons.
- The White Lions are chariots used by the High Elves of Warhammer, drawn by (you guessed it) white lions.
- Liontaurs, the official race of the land of Tarna in Quest for Glory III. Most of them are badass warriors or mages and obsessed with honor and glory. One of the main characters of the game is Rakeesh the paladin, who is a sort of mentor to the hero.
- That One Boss from The World Ends with You, Sho Minamimoto as Leo Cantus.
- The Legendary Pokémon Entei has similarities to lions, but the Shinx family is obviously based on them.
- The Litleo family is another candidate for this trope; most notably Pyroar.
- Slash Beast from Mega Man X4 has a lion design despite his name. His Japanese name (Slash Beastleo) shows it, though.
- Jax's Animality in Mortal Kombat 3, a lion.
- The "Garu" breed introduced in Monster Rancher 4 is a humanoid lion.
- Leonyx, from Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, is a colossal, humanoid lion that dualwields swords. He is also one of the strongest monsters in the entire game. He's Leomon on steroids.
- In freeware video game Stranded, you could encounter lions in the deserted island where you are marooned.
- SCP-1732. Apparently, the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus was in actuality a sentient talking lion...who took a decidedly hands-on (paws-on?) approach to Christian dissidents.
- The Lion King
- In the Disney version of Robin Hood, Prince John and King Richard are depicted as lions (Richard with a mane, John without).
- Lambert the Sheepish Lion wherein Lambert was mistakenly delivered to a flock of sheep by a confused stork and grows up thinking himself to be a funny-looking sheep until the day when he saves the flock from wolves.
- Tangath Toborn of Chaotic.
- Kalus from Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.
- In ThunderCats and its reboot ThunderCats (2011), young protagonist King Lion-O is, respectively a Little Bit Beastly or Beastfolk member of a race of Catfolk where Lions have right to rule as King of Beasts.
- Razorclaw, the leader of the Predacons in Transformers Generation One
- Steeljaw, the Recordabot as well.
- "Where can you see lions? Only in Kenya! Come to Kenya, we've got lions!"
- Steven Universe has his Lion (that's his name), a mysterious, silent, magical lion that Steven found in the desert. Lion seems to have all sorts of powers, like a pocket storage dimension in his mane, can unleash sonic roars, Walk on Water, open portals to places by roaring, and is implied to have been linked to Steven's mother (an alien who gave up her physical form to have him, and passed her magical gem to him, making him half-human).
Anime and Manga
- Tony the Tiger, longtime mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes cereal. ("They're grrrrrreat!")
- Esso gas stations (the forerunner to today's Exxon Mobil) had a popular advertising campaign in the '60s featuring a cartoon tiger and the slogan, "Put a tiger in your tank."
- They even gave out little (fake) tiger tails to attach to the back of your car.
- Tama from Hayate the Combat Butler, an African white tiger
- Possibly North Eastern Africa, in the land bordering Eurasia. While still far removed from their normal habitats, hunting for food and being driven away by man could account for the journey and explain why he was found orphaned (parents killed, finally, after being driven so far South)
- In Ranma 1/2 one of Gosunkugi's cunning plans to expose Ranma's fear of cats was to set a tiger on him. There is also the character of Lime who is descended from Tigers (on his mother's side).
- Tigrerra from the first Bakugan season.
- The tiger-demon Byakko from the early YuYu Hakusho arcs.
- Similarly there's the Byakko from Onmyo Taisenki, Kogenta and Rangetsu (a white and black tiger respectively, though Rangetsu has white stripes instead).
- Saint Seiya has the Libra Saint Dohko, who is represented by a tiger motif and has even a tiger tattoo on his back. Since he's the teacher of Dragon Shiryu, this is meant as a symbol of balance.
- From Anime Filler there's Ohko, Shiryu's rival, created to display the same premise (predating Dohko's revelation of his tiger motif).
- Ryo Sanada from Yoroiden Samurai Troopers (Ronin Warriors) has Byakuen aka White Blaze, his white tiger pet.
- Dr. Gein from Saber Marionette J To X has a trio of robot marionettes based off The Four Gods, with Byakko (an humanoid white tiger) being one of them.
- Kotetsu T. Kaburagi from Tiger & Bunny has tigers as his Animal Motif. His name has the kanji for tiger in it; his superhero persona is Wild Tiger; the scriptwriter has stated that he had the tiger of the Chinese zodiac in mind when he wrote his character; he even has a tiger cellphone background.
- Naruto: Might Guy uses a move called Afternoon Tiger to defeat Kisame, which is a taijutsu move that fires a massive pressure bullet in the shape of a tiger's head.
- Tiger Mask, of course.
- Mr. Tawky Tawny in the Shazam franchise. He's an urbane and well mannered humanoid tiger who chooses to live in Human society. That said, if he is forced to fight, then he is deadly in combat with his strength, fangs and claws.
- In the Naruto fanfiction Kitsune's Power, the titular hero ends up befriending the Tigers of the Forest of Death and riding them on missions and into battle.
- In the Peggy Sue fanfic Chunin Exam Day, Naruto's newfound family decide that they need animal sidekicks. One raid into the Forest of Death later...
- The Hangover has four drunken guys dealing with, among other problems, a tiger in their hotel suite, and how to get it back to its owner in one piece.
- Two Brothers is about the adventures of two tigers in 1920's French Indochina.
- White tigers can be seen in the White Witch's army in the film of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, contrasted with the good lions.
- The sequel has standard orange tigers siding with the good guys.
- Marilyn Monroe wears a spangly tiger-striped gown during the "piano fantasy" scene in The Seven Year Itch. It's very stylized (the black stripes look a lot like lightning bolts).
- In The Jungle Book, Shere Khan is a Bengal tiger that was born with a withered leg, thus lacking the "fearful symmetry" of Blake's Tyger. He regards himself as the lord of tigers (apparently the meaning of his name) but is really a coward and a bully. He's still a dangerous and scary man-eating tiger and proves to be quite cunning and manipulative. He also frequently undergoes Adaptational Badass in most adaptations.
- The second Winnie-the-Pooh book, The House at Pooh Corner, introduced Tigger, who is not vicious at all, but overly enthusiastic and, like Hobbes, fond of pouncing on those he likes. The fabled Jagular are not so friendly, though they are never actually seen.
- Animorphs: Jake's preferred battle morph, and the only big cat in the main team.
- Life of Pi is mostly "a boy stranded on a boat with a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker." Said tiger is mostly done through computer graphics in The Film of the Book.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Hobbes is Calvin's best friend, but has no reservations about stalking and pouncing him.
- The Detroit Tigers baseball team and the Cincinnati Bengals football team.
- Many schools, especially in the U.S. tend to have tigers for mascots. Two Southeastern Conference schools, Auburn University and LSU (Louisiana State University), are probably the best-known examples.
- The Richmond Tigers of Australian rules football.
- Leicester Tigers, a noted English rugby union club.
- The Puzzle Boss from The World Ends with You, Mitsuki Konishi as Tigris Cantus.
- Ōkami has Gekigami, the lightning-god, who is an enormous white tiger. There are also smaller (though still larger than Amaterasu) orange tigers found in various areas.
- Neon Tiger from Mega Man X3.
- Snowflake, the zombie-slaying tiger in Dead Rising 2.
- Kotaro, the Cool Pet of Byakko and boss in Ayame's storyline in Tenchu 2.
- Cannon Dancer has a tiger mook appear in two stages.
- The "Woren/Furen" clan from Breath of Fire is a race of tigermen. In terms of individuals, we have Katt, Tiga (Breath of Fire II), Rei (Breath of Fire III) and Cray (Breath of Fire IV).
- The boss Fenrir in Final Fantasy XII appears as a large Behemoth-type enemy with the head and fur of a white tiger(in spite of being named after a giant wolf).
- Altered Beast has the protagonist becoming a weretiger in one level.
- Jagged Alliance 2 features Bloodclaws, huge wildcats roughly double the size of a normal tiger. Some characters shout "Tiger!" when they see one approaching. They are mostly encountered in wilderness sectors as well as in a arena of some sort, where they can be released from their cages. Bloodclaws, despite only being able to attack in close combat, are very dangerous enemies even for well-armed mercenaries. They are fast and take multiple hits to kill. Loading hollow-point ammunition is strongly advised.
- The Legendary Pokémon Raikou shares quite a few traits of both Tigers and Saber Tooth Cats.
- Super Robot Wars already had an example of this in Ko Oh Ki, a badass tiger and one half of the Guardian Beast machines that form Ryu Ko Oh, but one of the more recent games further introduced Kyuuki Oh, who is ALSO a very big and badass tiger monster. See him in action yourself.
- Evil Islands: Tigers appear in both of the two first islands.
- In Super Mario 3D World Bowser gets his own Cat Power-Up form with the appearance of a tiger.
- In the Rajas of India DLC pack for Crusader Kings II, Indian rulers can organize tiger hunts. Killing one yourself nets you a nice prestige bonus. At the same time, it's entirely possible for the tiger to turn the tables on the hunter and make you into its prey instead.
- Shou Toramaru of Touhou has a tiger motif, and fanart often shows her accompanied by a very large tiger.
- Solatorobo: Cool Old Guy Québec is a tiger. Though he uses a cane, he's still quite capable of kicking ass.
- In the Star Ocean series, Highlanders, native to the planet Roak, are said to have evolved from tigers, and have a similar genetic relationship to their Felpool cousins that Neanderthals had to humans.
- Dark Souls II's third Downloadable Content has Aava the King's Pet, who is a gigantic tiger coated in ice, can cast powerful ice-related spells, and is initially invisible, meaning you won't know what the hell is causing those roars until you undo its invisibility. Later in the same DLC, you can also meet Lud and Zallen, two massive tigers coated in darkness with similar casting powers as Aava and the added bonus of wreathing themselves in darkness once their health goes down.
- The Jonny Quest TOS episode "Riddle of the Gold" had a tiger hunt, where the hunters became the hunted.
- Jonny Quest The Real Adventures: A monstrous, scary, and dangerous beast is loose in the city... no, it's just a misplaced white tiger loose in the sewers, frightened and running, but no less dangerous. They manage to un-misplace it safely.
- Tigress, the most fearsome of the Furious Five, in Kung Fu Panda.
- Rajah, in Disney's Aladdin and spin-offs. Although he acts more like an oversized housecat. Cheetahs are tameable, and were used for hunting by Arab nobility. It is not implausible to imagine an Arab princess developing an affection for a cheetah. But a tiger would be highly unlikely to say the least, unless he was a magic tiger.
- Rath of Ben 10: Alien Force.
- A family of tigers appear as background characters in Dumbo.
- One of the animals Mad Madam Mim turns into during the Wizard Duel from The Sword in the Stone is a pink tiger with purple stripes (the tail eventually becomes part of that of a rattlesnake).
- Tigertron from Beast Wars.
- A tiger can be seen hugging the nephews near the end of the DuckTales opening theme.
- The Goofy animated short Tiger Trouble.
- Tygra from ThunderCats and ThunderCats (2011) is a Catfolk Tiger, as is Bengali, a White Tiger.
- Rampage, the Predacon from Transformers Generation One (not to be confused with the Beast Wars Predacon Crab of the same name).
- Cool Cat, a late-'60s Looney Tunes character who should in no way be mistaken for the Pink Panther.
- Animaniacs for some reason actually featured tigers living in Africa.
- In Defenders of the Earth, The Phantom could call upon "the power of ten tigers" to fight evil.
- Uncle Grandpa has Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
- Jay Ward created Crusader Rabbit, a very early TV cartoon series; a sort-of proto Rocky the Squirrel, and sidekick Rags the Tiger, his Bullwinkle.
Anime and Manga
- Chocolove (aka Joco) McDonnell in Shaman King has a jaguar spirit.
- One episode of Pet Shop of Horrors featured a jaguar, in an episode about an underground South American terror cell seeking to overthrow the current regime and restore the glory of their ancient civilization. Complete with the ancient religion, which is where the jaguar came in: she was attached to the family of the cell's charismatic leader. At one point she fell out of a helicopter, and D jumped after her; they were rescued mid-air by a condor... yeah.
- The Animorphs minus Tobias, still unable to morph at the time, used jaguar morphs in "The Forgotten" but they were never used again because they were sario rip morphs and unusable afterward.
- For the cover of a The Rolling Stones album, a photographer planned on having Mick Jagger sitting in a convertible with a jaguar. This proved to be EXTREMELY dangerous, so they had to build a partition out of fiber glass to keep Mick (or maybe the jaguar?) safe. While this was happening, the photographer took a photo of the jaguar's face, then drew on his viewfinder where the jaguar's eyes and nose were. Then he took some shots of Mick on the same frame of the roll as he did the Jaguar. This is the result. This was before photoshop.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars football team.
- In Rugby Union, a jaguar appears on the crest of Argentina's national federation. However, the country's national team is nicknamed Los Pumas instead of Los Jaguares.
- King and Armor King from Tekken both use jaguar masks and speak exclusively through roars.
- Kung Lao's Animality in Mortal Kombat 3.
- The main character is guided by a talking jaguar in Amazon Trail. It intervenes to scare off two conquistadores that have cornered you (if you didn't take the other option, tricking them into eating a powerful laxative).
- The Jaguar sports car (usually pronounced Jag-u-ar in the commercials)
Leopards, Snow Leopards and Clouded Leopards
Anime and Manga
- One Piece's Rob Lucci can transform into a half leopard or full leopard.
- One of the errands in Ninja Burger is walking the store's pet leopard. Why your store has a pet leopard is never explained.
- In Lynda Robinson's ancient Egyptian mysteries, King Tutankhamun is often accompanied by Sa, a black leopard, as a protector.
- Beware of the leopard!
- Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's Il Gattopardo, named for the Salina family's coat of arms. Although the English-language translation renders the title as The Leopard, "serval" would be more accurate.
- Stelmaria, the snow leopard daemon of Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials.
- Leopards bear the standard and crown of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. They are also seen fighting in his army against the White Witch.
- The presence of tame Leopards were a big factor in the belief that the man in the mountain had access to heaven in The Alamut. It's only later pointed out that this isn't particularly heavenly and it's only the viewers inexperience that makes it seem so.
- Ose, a bipedal leopard, is a recurring demon/Persona in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
- In Pokemon Black And White, Purrloin's evolution Liepard speaks for itself (although it's actually a leopard cat, not a leopard).
- The Leopardmen in Quest for Glory III, who are a race of cunning shape changers and magic users who can make themselves appear as upright leopards and live in the dark jungle. They value intelligence and stealth and are proof that Dark Is Not Evil.
- Ernst from Suikoden V is a wereleopard.
Generic Black Panthers
Anime and Manga
- Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez from Bleach. His Zanpakutou name is 'Pantera', thus he turns into a bipedal panther-like humanoid. He gets black hands and feet, but the rest of his new form is standard Hollow white.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st, instead of turning into an ordinary Mega Neko, the little kitty that encounters a Jewel Seed instead turns into a giant, demonic, black panther, with white markings, bony protrusions, and large bat wings.
- Cardcaptor Sakura: Spinel Sun's true form is a panther with blue butterfly wings. He is the Darker and Edgier Expy of Kero.
- Ronan from Philippa Ballantine's Digital Magic has the Code Name "Panther" because he spends a lot of time in the form of a black panther. Turns out he's Puck from the first book, Chasing the Bard; the panther was one of his favorite forms.
- In The Jungle Book, Bagheera the black panther was born in captivity but escaped into the jungle, becoming one of its most feared and respected predators. His cunning and bravery make him one of the best teachers a young man-cub could ever want.
- In The Moomins, the Hobgoblin rides a flying black panther. The panther gets a few lines in the TV series.
Live Action Tv
- Drizzt Do'Urden of the Forgotten Realms D&D setting has a magical pet panther named Guenhwyvar.
- In D&D as a whole, there's the Displacer Beast, a panther with tentacles on its shoulders. Most notable for being hard to hit, because it's actually several feet away from where you think it is.
- There is also the massive black panther which Kelemvor of the Avatar Trilogy, now god of the dead, transformed into as a result of his Hereditary Curse.
- Numenera has the Sarrak, which appears to be a panther with a sphere of energy for a head and mind control abilities.
- On Angel a black panther represents Wolfram and Hart's senior partners in the white room.
- On Merlin, the Lady of the Lake is cursed to turn into a massive winged panther every night.
- King of Fighters boss Rugal Bernstein has a pet panther named Rodem which appears with him on occasion, and some comics also give him a very loose leopard motif. Similarly, fellow boss (Original) Zero has a genetically engineered black lion pet named Glaugan that also assists him in battle as a striker.
- Rugal's children, Adel and Rose, have a pet panther kitten. Presumably it's Rodem's baby.
- Panther Caroso of the Star Wolf Team from Star Fox.
- In Quest for Glory I, monsters called Cheetaurs roam the forests at night, which actually are more like huge panther-creatures. There's also the cute little kitty owned by the old lady in town, that turns into a giant panther if you try to harm its owner.
- Brütal Legend features ridable black panthers with Eye Beams. They're actually the most normal species in the game's setting.
- Eugene Gallardo from Tales of Rebirth is a Gajuma in form of a Black Panther. And he is the token Cool Old Guy. And Badass.
- Black Orchid from Killer Instinct can morph into a panther for some of her special attacks.
- Panter Flauclaws from Mega Man Zero 2.
- Chronos "Evil" Lait from classic video game Golden Axe 3, the most powerful character in the game, mainly due to his super move in which he lunges across the screen in an unstoppable and unblockable attack.
- Nargacuga, of Monster Hunter fame.
- Looking for Group has Sooba, Cale's black panther which appears to be almost sentient.
- One appeared in a Jonny Quest TOS episode, and was featured in the opening credits.
- Whether Ravage from Transformers is a jaguar or a panther depends on who's writing... in Japan, his name is Jaguar but in a manga he sometimes masquerades as a human called the "Black Panther Man!"
- Data Seven from Cybersix.
- Attacat from Chaotic.
- The Pink Panther is this, except he's pink instead of black.
- In Defenders of the Earth, The Phantom's daughter Jedda had a pet black panther named Keisha.
- Panthro from ThunderCats and ThunderCats (2011) is a Catfolk Black Panther.
- Captain Quarry (an obvious clone of Bagheera) is a vicious mercenary-for-hire in Disney's TaleSpin.
- An episode of The Simpsons has ex-con Jack Crowley (voice of Michael Keaton) painting a mural for Springfield Elementary showing a Xena-like female warrior riding on what appears to be a panther (it's actually a puma, the school mascot, but it sure looks like a panther). The kids love it, but Principal Skinner is disgusted: "The female form has no place in art!"
- The Black Panther Party For Self Defence, which took its memorable signature animal from an area high school football team.
- The Carolina Panthers football team.
Pumas (or Cougars, Mountain Lions, Catamounts, etc., etc., etc...)
- The Most Interesting Man in the World seems to keep one as a pet in one Dos Equis ad.
- Ford Motor Company perched one atop their dealership sign logo back when they were still building the Cougar.
- In Peanuts, Snoopy once pretended to be one, and pounce on its victim. (The last step did not work well.)
- Before taming his horse, Widow-Maker, Pecos Bill rode one of these.
- The Florida Panthers hockey team.
- The Argentina national Rugby Union team is nicknamed Los Pumas, despite a jaguar appearing on their crest. Apparently, when the team visited South Africa in the 1960s, a local reporter mistook the jaguar for a puma, and the (mistaken) nickname stuck.
- Many U.S. schools are nicknamed after this animal, in one form or another. Notable examples are Brigham Young University, better known as BYU (Cougars), the University of Houston (Cougars), Pennsylvania State University (Nittany Lions), and the University of Pittsburgh (Panthers).
- You can find cougars in Red Dead Redemption, or rather, the cougars will find you.
- Mountain lions are used as the main mooks in Stage 2 of Prehistorik Man, with a spotted one being the one Sam is looking for.
- In Psychonauts, Camp Whispering Rock had pyrokinesis using cougars that could set you ablaze from a distance.
- Despite its name, the Pokémon Persian has more in common with these than actual Persians.
- Chester Cheetah would like you to know it's not easy being cheesy.
- Pern's southern continent is home to large feline predators, which apparently derive from semidomesticated cheetahs released by the original colonists. As Pern's native terrestrial predators had mostly been wiped out by Thread, these cats had no competitors and could afford to evolve a greater body size.
- Animorphs The Weakness had cheetah morphs.
- One Torenthi ambassador makes his first appearance at Kelson's court with his pet hunting cheetah draped across his back (and the back of his horse) impersonating a cape.
- The Cheetah People from the Doctor Who story "Survival".
- Kung Lao's Animality in Mortal Kombat 3 is a cheetah.
- Action52 was supposed to be a launch pad for a new series, the Cheetahmen. As there was never any Cheetahmen franchise, it's not hard to guess how well that went.
- The Legendary Pokémon Suicune shares many traits with cheetah.
- In Solatorobo, Cassis the racer with a slight resemblance to Kamina is a cheetah.
- In Pharaoh, it's possible to improve your status in the kingdom by sending dimplomatic gifts (read: Bribing Your Way to Victory), cheetahs being among the high-end choices
- In medieval Persia and India, tame cheetahs were status symbols, the equivalents of fast sports cars today. Kings, emperors, princes and high-ranking officials would keep cheetahs to hunt gazelles and deer. The Persians even taught cheetahs to ride on horseback behind their trainers until they got close enough to their prey. At one point Mughal princes would keep hundreds or even thousands of hunting cheetahs and the fastest cheetah of all would be treated like royalty herself and carried to the hunting grounds upon an elephant with musicians and trumpeteers announcing her arrival, while the less successful cheetahs would be kept hungry in order to make them more competitive. Unfortunately, since it's nearly impossible to breed cheetahs in captivity, this cheetah-hoarding resulted in making the cheetah extinct in India and nearly destroyed Iran's population entirely.
- Bubastis, Adrian Veidt's lynx-like creature in Watchmen.
- The Charlotte Bobcats basketball team.
- Many U.S. schools with the nickname "Wildcats", with some of the more notable examples being the University of Arizona and University of Kentucky.
- Bubsy the Bobcat
- Wild Jango from Mega Man X: Command Mission.
- Un Real World features the Lynx at top of the food chain. It is incredibly agile, resilient enough to shrug off a couple of arrows before approaching the hunter. It can kill an average person (including you, the protagonist) with a single blow, posing as a serious threat in a world where death is permanent. It is no surprise that Lynx fur is the most prized commodity by foreign merchants. It has been somewhat toned down in the more recent versions of the game, though.
- Big Bad (actually, The Dragon) Lynx from Chrono Cross.
- In the early translations of X-Men comics into French, Wolverine's name was changed to Serval (the wolverine is called "glutton" in French). Yes, really. Thankfully it's back to Wolverine these days.
- In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, heroine Jame has a hunting-cat, Jorin, as a Bond Creature. He's identified as an "ounce", which is in modern times generally associated with the snow leopard (uncia uncia), but the author has clarified that she means the older definition of that word, which applied to any spotted wild cat, and he's actually supposed to look like a serval. Jorin is blind from birth, but manages to see through the mind-link, borrowing his mistress' vision.
Anime and Manga
- Played with in Tokyo Mew Mew. While Mew Ichigo's cat features technically come from the Iriomote yamaneko, a highly endangered mountain cat, this only matters to the actual story. Once she gains Shapeshifting (sort of) to transform into an animal, however, it seems to be a generic housecat. Granted, real Iriomote cats are about the size of a housecat and could easily be mistaken as one, especially if one didn't expect to see an endangered wildcat...
- Sakaki adopts an Iriomote yamaneko (or possibly vice versa) near the end of Azumanga Daioh.
Anime and Manga
- SaberLeomon of the Digimon franchise, who was actually the Mega-level form of the lion-based Digimon Leomon in Digimon Adventure''.
- The motif of the sacred robes/armors used by the twins Cid and Bud in Saint Seiya are inspired by saber-toothed cats.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Beyond the Black River", Zogar summons a sabre-toothed tiger. Which happens to be prehistoric even in Conan's time, adding to the horror for the prisoners.
- Clare Bell's Clan Ground series features a race of intelligent sabertoohs called the Named, and their unintelligent counterparts, the Unnamed.
- The young adult Lionboy series by Zizou Corder stars a number of felines, ranging from domestic cats to the leopard who gives the eponymous protagonist his ability to speak fluent Cat (and learns how to speak fluent Human!) through a blood exchange to the tigers of real life cat trainer Mabel Stark to a whole pride of lions he rescues from a circus and returns to Africa, but the most startling and audacious example is the cat eventually named Primo: a humongous sabretoothed cat created by the resident evil Mega Corp. through genetic engineering as part of their experiments to use cat allergies and the medication to treat them to monopolize the economy. Contrary to his appearance, though, he acts only as a very sad character, being the Last of His Kind and, at one point, manipulated into appearing as the Lion of St. Mark so as to prop up the crumbling rule of the Doge of Venice.
- Ogres in Warhammer capture and tame Sabertusks (the teeth are on the lower jaw). The Mournfangs are big enough for ogres to ride.
- Warhammer 40K has a Carnodon, a vicious lion-maned creature with huge fangs.
- Great Sabrecats are a staple monster of the Dragon Quest series, but can also be befriended in a few of them. A Great Sabrecat cub is the first monster to join you in Dragon Quest V, and the reward for a sidequest in Dragon Quest VIII is a bell that summons a sabrecat for your character to ride on, multiplying your movement speed on the world map tenfold (said sabrecat is also part of a rather Tear Jerker subplot with his former master).
- Sabre Cats (both the normal brown variety and the tougher Snowy Sabre Cats) can be found in the wilds of Skyrim... if they don't find you first.
- The Option B Assist Character in Strider is a saber-toothed tiger robot (or robo-panther, as its known in English...)
- Barioth of Monster Hunter.