🎨 Creative Let's create "realistic" fantasy cat-people

vitruvian

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That's an interesting take on it.

Strategically, this is an advantage for them. They'll almost always accept surrender, and everyone knows it. Which makes it really hard to get your soldiers to fight to the death against them, when instead they can throw down their arms and live.
That would depend in large part on whether they're wired to look at members of other sapient races as rivals for dominance, or as prey that fights back. If the former, yeah, they would tend to accept surrender pretty readily; if the latter, they might be biting out the person's throat before even registering that they were trying to surrender. Could play out either way.
 

Walkie Talkie Noise Decoder

There are monkey boys in the facility
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I dont imagine cat folk taking prisoners, well not to keep them alive anyway. My experience with cats is that they toy with what they catch and then kill it.
Cats are kept indoors, to protect the local fauna which otherwise is quickly eradicated, where i live.

Murderous, torturous, killers, feared by all that oppose them, unless you distract them with a laser pointer and get close enough for a tummy tickle.
 

Dr. Rudolf von Richten

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I suggest anyone who wants to create a race of Cat People watches some old episodes of Red Dwarf, since one of the main characters is exactly that.
 

weaponofchoice

A feral enigma
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Would the fact that cats have litters of kittens be a factor in shaping their society? Unless the evolution into bipedal creatures would lead to single births?

Kittens have a relatively short incapacitated period (certainly compared to humans - but that's down to our big brains) before they can move independently.

Litters might lead to communal childcare, more matriarchal societal groups or caste systems or ritualised infanticide to deal with runts of the litter.
 

jbuchert

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Social organisation would likely be very different compared to that of humans. While wild cats are mostly solitary, feral domestic cats agreggate in colonies, which are still considerably more loosely held together. One of the most prominent differences is that cats don't really collaborate when hunting. Once again, this might have changed with evolution -- it would seem that social organisation would be a big driver for increased intelligence and communication skills. However, since we aim at retaining cat traits, they would not have developed this to the same extent as humans. To humans, then, most catfolk would seem absolutely terrible at cooperating and adjusting to social situations, even among themselves. This trait might be balanced by other cognitive advantages in order not to handicap their development compared to that of humans.
I like your thinking, but I'd go in a different direction on some of the above points.

I would indeed make them hunter-gatherers, with "colonies" controlling wide territories. If we really want ewok/wookie villages, make them hunting lodges or resource collection points (with mostly temporary residents, beyond some semi or entirely temporary wardens/workers - indeed, they might effectively be prison guards and prisoners, as any respectable cat is out hunting, instead of tied to specific spots). I would retain the idea that they are solitary hunters (and that hunting skill pretty much equates with status) - stressing that increased intelligence and civilization (such as it is) hasn't changed the hunt itself, but it has instead evolved to make managing territories possible.

The colonies - or clans, if you will - need to internally manage their territory so that all these solitary, but otherwise cooperating hunters get along, but they also have to cooperate between clans, negotiating who gets which piece of territory, who controls what hunting lodge or natural resource, and so on. The territories could also overlap with other species' states, with varying resulting relationships. Some might be entirely adversarial - effectively at war when they are hunting in the state's territory - whereas in other parts they may have agreed to serve in the state's armies for hunting and resource collection rights, perhaps sending in an elite cat-folk bodyguard for the ruler or something like that.
 

Lukas Sjöström

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I dont imagine cat folk taking prisoners, well not to keep them alive anyway. My experience with cats is that they toy with what they catch and then kill it.
Cats are kept indoors, to protect the local fauna which otherwise is quickly eradicated, where i live.

Murderous, torturous, killers, feared by all that oppose them, unless you distract them with a laser pointer and get close enough for a tummy tickle.
Once again, I'd say that this is more of a "cats vs. human" question, not a "cats vs. primates" one. You don't see chimpanzees taking prisoners either. As I discussed above, I'd assume that a more predatory creature would have a stronger distinction between the violence used to get food and the violence used to establish dominance (which is what warfare is).
 

Troy Swain

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Cats have litters, but wouldn't evolution force single births, or close to it, to compensate for larger brains? Am I wrong in thinking big brains force single births? I'd like to at least keep vestigial effects, like a preponderance of twins. But I would definitely prefer litters!

Also, I love the idea of communal child rearing, but do any cats do that? More importantly, is that common in more communal hunter-gather societies? I know many hunter-gatherers have more communal child rearing, but imagining a society of solitary hunters coalescing into village-like meeting-places, or even more intensive, organizing for manufacturing, is a crazy thought experiment.

How do they get from solitary hunters, with hunting providing an individual's prestige, to working together to manufacture complex items? We re-wrote a lot of our natural tendencies in the industrial age, and before, but we're also communal animals, who can work together as a group to hunt big game.
 

Bira

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I think it's good to keep in mind that our goal here is an early industrial civilization. You need a certain population level to maintain that tech base, and a reliable way to feed them. I think going too far in the direction of "loners who organize in small groups at most and with no agriculture to speak of" would be counterproductive.

Therefore: It's quite likely catfolk would use agricultural techniques familiar to us to grow food for their livestock, either because they picked it up from humans or because they developed these techniques themselves. They don't have devote much of their agricultural output to feeding themselves, so maybe their cattle is healthier than the humans' because it gets better feed, or maybe they use that excess to get an early start on making useful plant-based products (such as fibers, oils and fuels).

Hunting but wouldn't necessarily be widely practiced in daily life. Not a lot of people are subsistence hunters in an early industrial society. Hunting big game could be a more popular past-time among their idle elites than among humans, though.

That is all assuming both humans and cat-folk have complete civilizations that trade and compete with each other in the present day. The dynamic might change if we're talking a single early industrial culture shared by both peoples.
 

Troy Swain

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Also, here's a crazy one: Could cat-folk talk?

I mean, could cat-folk talk in human languages? Humans definitely could not talk cat, which is a hodge-podge of body language, smell, and sound (some of which we can't even hear).

Cats have larynxes, but they don't have lips. Any speech people here? What sounds could a cat make? What sounds couldn't they make?

Also, they would have an extensive vocabulary for smell, but wouldn't understand half of our words that describe color.
 

LordofArcana

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I could see biological and chemical agents being part of their tech. This would function both as a military technology (they are definitely fine with poisoning their weapons) but also for production (such as keeping various animals around them). As communal ambush predators they initially have a lower maximum population density than omnivorous humans that makes them a bit safer and already have some nudges in that direction. The lack of ranged combat and low endurance means that they have a big disadvantage in a pitched battle, but disease can make their enemies not want to start one in the first place.

I feel like they would have just a strong a sense of community as humans would, but they would have a lot fewer expectations on individuals. Rather each individual goes about their business in whatever way they feel best and then brings the rewards back to the main group for everyone to enjoy. Combined with how animals are easier to move than plants and I could see them easily becoming traveling salespeople.

Merchant druids could be neat. A low population in their homeland but fairly well distributed across the world.
 
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