Furrecats An Abridged Guide
Taxonomic title: Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae Furrcis
Common name: Furrecat (FURR cat)
Breeds: Typical, Mountain, PlainsAnatomyGeneral:
Furrecats can differ vastly in size from breed to breed, and have distinct physical traits that differentiate the breeds. First it is worth examining the traits that distinguish the species as a whole. The Skeletal System:
The furrecat skeletal system is nearly identical to that of most big cats, possessing the same number and types of bones (in various sizes, depending on the breed). There are several features that are unique to the furrecat skeletal system that are worth mentioning.
- The Skull:
- The most significant aspect of the skull is the pronounced size of the brain cavity roughly one and three-fourth times the size of the average feline. This gives the appearance of a furrecat having a slightly elongated skull. Since the jaw and eye sockets are also pushed down to accommodate the skull, furrecats can have the appearance of a slight forehead. They also have a pronounced zygomatic process, giving them stronger brow ridges. It is also worth noting that the lower jaw does not tilt down quite as much as the average feline, similar to a domestic dog.
- The dentition is typical to a carnivore, with pronounced canines. Due to the tilt of the jaw, the lower canines fit into the gap between the canines and incisors at an angle. Unlike most felines, furrecats have an almost complete set of molars. This gives them added grip on top of a strong bite. About six small teeth are situated between the canines on the upper and lower jaws, and the lower teeth tilt forward to fit into the upper teeth.
- Vocalization and the Skeletal System
- The hyoid bone a small, thin bone that connects the tongue to the roof of the mouth has a unique variation in the furrecat species, an example of sexual dimorphism. In male furrecats, the hyoid bone has an elastic segment. This allows males to make extremely loud, roaring sounds, while simultaneously preventing them from purring. Females do not have an elastic segment, limiting their vocalizations to the sort of "scream" commonly associated with the cougar/puma/mountain lion, while allowing them to purr.
- Arms and Paws
- Like most felines, furrecats have a short humerus in comparison to the lower arm, keeping the elbow relatively close to the body. However, unlike most felines, the furrecat elbow is rather similar to a human's in the way the humerus, radius, and ulna fit together. This allows the lower arm and wrist to pivot 180 degrees.
- Unlike most quadrupeds, furrecats possess a flexible, jointed clavicle bone held together by powerful muscles. The collarbone can fold to allow the furrecat to walk and run comfortably on all fours. It can fold out and lock when the furrecat is in a bipedal position to allow the cat to hold its arms outward. The range of motion is not as wide as a human's, but is more dramatic than a typical cat.
- Furrecats, like most felines, walk on their toes (digitigrade), and have retractable claws (with the exception of Plains furrecats). Unlike most felines, the middle digits in human equivalent, the middle and ring fingers are fused together, creating one thick, strong "finger". In appearance the paw looks much the same, without the usual distinction between the middle toes.
- A trait unique to furrecats is the "thumb". On most felines, this extra digit on the front paws has only a limited range of motion. On furrecats, the dewclaw is diminished; the metacarpals are longer and thicker; and the "thumb" can pivot about 145 degrees away from the palm, as well as inwards towards the palm. This allows furrecats to pick up and grip with their paws like hands.
- Similar to most felines, furrecats possess a small bone at the back of the wrist known as the os pisiforme. This creates a pronounced bump on the underside of the wrist, which is used for traction in most felines, as well as added grip in furrecats.
- Chest, Shoulders, Spine and Hips
- Furrecats are not as nimble as house cats. Their chests and hips are built slightly broader to allow them to stand upright. Their shoulder blades are situated on the sides of their chest like most cats, and can fold up and back to allow the furrecat greater motion in their arms when upright.
The Muscular System and Senses:
- Furrecat tail sizes vary from breed to breed and individual to individual. What is unique to furrecat tails is a progression of thicker bones towards the end of the tail, ending in a bony "spine" (aside from furrecats, lions are the only other feline species to possess a spine at the end of the tail). The extra weight in the tail acts as a counter-balance when a furrecat rears up on its back legs. Because of the size of the bones and the shape of the spine, the tail appears to grow progressively in size to the tip, which always looks at least slightly curved.
- Plains furrecats are the exception. Their tails taper to a point; the extra weight would create drag while running.
Furrecats possess most of the organs and muscles typical to mammals. Many of the muscular features particular to furrecats were noted in the skeletal system section. The muscles of a furrecat are a unique mix of flexibility, elasticity, and power.
- Integumentary System
- Furrecat skin is tougher and thicker than human skin. Like most cats, they are covered in a layer of fur, which varies in length from one breed to another. Furrecat fur comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The most common colors are white, black, and brown. Blue, orange, green, and red are usually secondary colors. It is typically rare for a furrecat to be entirely covered in a secondary color, or for the color to be too bright, as this is maladaptive. Colors like purple are highly unusual. Albinos are possible, but exceptionally rare.
- There are four common furrecat patterns: solid, pointed, striped (similar to a tiger), and spotted (either blotched, or ringed like a leopard). Patterns can mix. The pointed pattern is unique to the species. It is composed of a main body color, usually one of the common colors. The secondary color covers the length of a furrecat's back and the tops of its shoulders and hips, extending up the back of its neck to cover its ears and come down in a V on its forehead. There is usually a circle of the body color on the top of the furrecat's ears. The point color extends into a ring on the base of its tail, and is usually followed by two more rings, and a ring the covers the bulb of the tail.
- Furrecats usually have heavier, thicker fur around their necks, creating a "mane" that starts out fairly thin at the back of the skull, and grows longer towards the shoulders. The bottom of the mane can be especially long in females.
Reproduction and Development
- Nervous System and Senses
- The furrecat brain is unique amongst mammals, almost equal to the human brain. Though not as large proportionally as the human brain, the front lobe is highly developed, allowing for thought and reason. The furrecat abilities for creativity, memory, language, and higher thought set them apart. They have a sense of personal identity and their personalities are well developed by adulthood. They are just as capable of learning as humans.
- Like humans, furrecats can be afflicted with a wide range of mental disorders. Personality, anxiety, and even dissociative disorders have been observed in furrecats.
- Touch: Like most cats, the furrecat sense of touch is extremely sensitive. They are particularly sensitive to vibrations. Their whiskers typically grow long enough to reach the tips of their jaw, and can be moved in almost any direction away from the face.
- Sight: Furrecats are set apart from most cats in the shape and nature of their eyes. Like most carnivores, their eyes are set forward on their head, allowing for a binocular field of vision. They are set apart slightly further than human eyes, but the "whites" of a furrecat eyes are similar to a human's, allowing for more complicated and wider eye movements and, thus, a wider range of vision. Their pupils are circular, and their ability to focus and see color is very similar to a human's. As such, their vision is not as strong in dim light. A furrecat's iris comes in a wide variety of colors, the most common being blue, green and brown. Red and yellow are rare.
- Smell: A furrecat's sense of smell is much more developed than most humans and big cats. Their long nasal cavities are lined with tens of thousands of nerve endings, making their sense of smell much more powerful than a humans, though not as capable as a dog's. Their noses are typically shaped more like a big cat's, broad and narrow. The padding to it often matches the padding on a furrecat's paws, and are usually pink or black, or splotches of both.
- Hearing: A furrecat's ears are probably one of the most unique features of the species. Their ears are often very long, and can grow to match the length of their entire skull. Fifty intricate muscles on a furrecat's skull allows for a wide range of motion, giving a furrecat's ears an unsurpassed range of hearing and expressiveness. The muscles of a furrecat's face allows for many complex facial expressions, and the ears often accompany these expressions. The ears are built mostly of cartilage. Unlike most ears, the cartilage of a furrecat ear folds over to form a cone shape. The opening of the ear is reduced to a long slit that runs along the bottom of the ear. This opening is typically covered in fur, making it nearly invisible. The fur in this area is extremely sensitive to vibrations, and help draw vibrations into the hollow core of the ear and draw it into the ear drum. Furrecat ears are flexible and can be flattened without pain, but will typically retain their cone-like shape if not pressured. Unlike most cats, whose ears typically point forward on the top of their heads, a furrecat's ears are usually held off to the side of the furrecat's head and back. Furrecat ears are capable of detecting frequencies almost two octaves higher than the average human.
The furrecat life cycle sets them apart from most cats. While the average house cat is lucky to live 18 years, the average furrecat lifespan stretches into the sixties. Furrecats develop much more rapidly than humans, but their internal systems deteriorate much slower than most cats, extending their adulthood. Furrecat reproduction is similar in most respects to most mammals, with some key features and differences. Time here is in reference to Earth time.
- Reproduction and Sexual Maturity
- Most furrecats reach sexual maturity, and adulthood, around five years of age. Females can reach maturity as early as four-and-a-half years; males tend to be slightly later, sometimes close to six years. The placement and design of the sexual organs in furrecats are similar to most big cats.
- The furrecat gestation period is fairly lengthy, typically between five and six months. Furrecat litters are typically small, between one and two babies, called kittens. Litters of three or more are highly unusual.
Behavior and Culture:
- Furrecats are born extremely vulnerable. They are born blind and deaf; the ears typically open within a couple days, and the eyes within two weeks. Infancy for furrecats lasts longer than most cats -- about a year. During this time, furrecats learn to toddle on all fours. They mostly communicate in mewls, and can learn to recognize simple sounds and commands. Furrecat kittens form strong bonds with their mothers, and without this bond, their development might suffer. They are usually weaned by the end of the year.
- The ages of two to three years are roughly equivalent to the "play age"/"elementary school age" of humans. Furrecat kittens stay relatively small, but their muscles and intellect grow quickly. By age two they can start to learn language, and pick up vocabulary at the rate of about a hundred words a week by two-and-a-half. During this time furrecat kittens are usually introduced into society to learn, and become less dependent on their mothers. By three-and-a-half years, furrecats enter preadolescence, and become more focused on independence. During these years, a furrecat's hand dexterity develops slowly, and development of hand-eye coordination is tantamount.
- The age of four is roughly equivalent to adolescence in humans. Furrecat kittens grow rapidly, approaching their adult stature. Puberty usually begins around this time. Furrecat "teenagers" can be moody, and focused on developing a unique identity. It is usually only at this stage that the furrecat body is developed enough to start to learn to stand upright.
- The age of five is acknowledged as the beginning of adulthood in most furrecat societies, and is often marked by "coming of age" ceremonies. By this time a furrecat is almost fully grown. At this point, furrecats age slowly.
- Aging begins to show starting around 30 years in furrecats. Hearing and taste start to deteriorate. Fur color starts to dull and gray. Females will typically experience menopause around 45. Most furrecats are considered elderly by 50, and cognition diminishes along with muscular and skeletal degeneration. Elderly furrecats can suffer from a variety of ailments, including arthritis. Most furrecats do not live past 65.
- Environment can accelerate or prolong aging in furrecats. The harsher the environment, the shorter the lifespan. For instance, Mountain furrecats typically do not live longer than 40 years, and experience aging much faster. Earth furrecats both age quickly, and are most likely to experience premature deaths. It is rare for an Earth furrecat to live far past the age of 25 if not kept as a pet.
Furrecat culture is so diverse, and their intellects so keenly developed, that it is difficult to characterize the behavior of the entire species. However, some things -- such as sleep patterns, relationships, and language -- can be discussed across the species.
- Mood and Expression
- Furrecats are very expressive creatures, utilizing their entire bodies along with their faces to express emotions. Furrecats experience a wide range of emotions, from euphoria to despair. A furrecat's brow is unusually expressive for a cat, and a furrecat can reproduce many of the facial expressions typical to humans. Crying as an expression of grief, or as a need for attention in kittens, is both an instinctual and learned behavior in furrecats, passed down from many of the earliest of the species.
- There are several common positions for the ears to express emotions. The ears being twisted or pinned back against the neck can indicate irritation or anger. It can also indicate submissiveness or fear. Held out away from the sides of the faces, drooping down, can indicate gloom. The ears held up, with the slits of the ears pointed forward, can indicate glee as well as alertness or surprise.
- The tail is usually held relaxed towards the ground, in a gentle curve away from the body. The fur on the tail, as well as on the entire body, might poof outwards when a furrecat is surprised or enraged. Lashing the tail from side to side can indicate interest, as well as irritation. Due to the length and weight of the tail, they are rarely held straight up. A tail held straight up can indicate extreme aggression or defiance; it is also considered to be a very rude gesture, as it exposes the genitals. The tip of the tail wagging slightly can indicate contentment or pleasure. A tail tucked under the body often indicates submission, the degree depending on how far the tail is tucked underneath the body, as it is difficult for furrecats to maneuver their tails in this direction.
- Body expressions are, for the most part, confined to quadruped stance. Holding up the head, puffing out the chest and holding the hips below the line of the shoulders can indicate confidence and power. Arching the back and holding the head low can indicate defiance and aggression; this same posture crouched down with the tail tucked indicates submission. Some cultures have unique body expressions, such as "kneeling" with the rump up and the front arms and neck flat against the ground in front. This posture is similar to a dog's "play" pose, but is meant to indicate respect. Furrecat kittens will express a desire to play by imitating hunting poses, such as slinking or arching its back.
- Bipedal Stance
- It is important to focus on the bipedal capabilities of furrecats in a little more detail, as this is a feature unusual to the species, and with widely varying use. Not all furrecats perceive or use this ability in the same way. Some furrecat breeds or societies have less capability for it, and might not use it at all.
- Bipedal stance is secondary to furrecats and is, for the most part, not commonly used to get around. As furrecat hands are not as dexterous as a humans, furrecats will typically try to carry items, for instance, using other forms of transportation, depending on the culture. This could be anything as sophisticated as a cart, or as simple as carrying it from a furrecat's mouth. Bipedal stance is typically relegated to tasks that require the use of tools.
- Cultural perception of this stance varies from one culture to another. In one way, it can be seen as a stance of commoners, who must work with their hands. In another way, it can be seen as a sacred stance in imitation of the gods of furrecat creation -- humans.
- War and Aggression
- Being a social species, furrecats are just as likely as any other to run into situations of aggression. The methods and uses of aggression and combat vary from one culture to another. However, as furrecat technology remains primitive across the species, expressions of aggression and the art of war remain primitive and limited.
- It is important to note that furrecats, for the most part, will not use bipedal stance for combat. Combat is limited to what a furrecat can accomplish on all fours, or reared on the back legs to swing with the paws. Furrecats, for the most part, do not make or wield weapons or shields. They can, however, craft armor and passive weapons, such as horns or spikes that can be attached to armor.
- Furrecat armor varies depending on the availability of materials and the degree of technology available. Furrecat armor can be any combination of leather and bone. Some of the more advanced societies might also practice working crude metal into chain mail or plates that can be attached to leather.
- Relationships and Affection
- On the flip side, as a social species, relationships are extremely important to furrecats. Familiar and romantic relationships vary from one culture to the next, but all furrecats experience and value relationships of some sort.
- Romantic relationships across breeds are typically exclusive. Similar to house cats, furrecats can form very strong "pair bonds", and a romantic pair might mate exclusively for life. Most furrecat societies have a ceremony commemorating this commitment.
- Furrecats do not always form pair bonds with the opposite sex. While homosexuality is not common, it is possible for furrecats to be attracted to and form intense bonds with another of the same sex. Perception of same-sex relationships range from one culture to another, from being warmly accepted to highly persecuted.
- Furrecats express affection similarly to most cats. Cuddling and rubbing against each other; grooming each other or licking the face; playing; etc. While a furrecat might lick the nose of another, they do not typically "kiss" like a human.
- In most furrecat societies, parents occupy a unique role in the lives of kittens, and are given special acknowledgment as parents. A family might consist of a mother and father, and any children. Family units are usually encouraged to be separate from each other, and children are encouraged to form their own homestead once they have their own children or find a partner. The most dramatic exception to the typical furrecat family amongst Earth slave societies, where parental relationships are practically non-existent, and family relationships (such as "brother" or "sister") can be applied to any non-related furrecat of a slave group.
- Art, Religion, and Morality
- Furrecats are very creative, and have a variety of means to express their creativity. Music is perhaps the most common and traditional. Musical instruments vary depending on the environment, and can include drums and flutes. Singing with or without lyrics is also common.
- Dance is also common. This is one of the exclusive uses of the bipedal stance, and can sometimes give dance a very spiritual connection. Dance tends to be very interpretive, and there are few, if any, set types or schools of furrecat dance.
- Fine art, such as painting and sculpture, is fairly rare and sometimes seen as indulgent. Pictorial depictions of scenes on bark, leather, or stone are typically reserved for recording history, or for religious or spiritual services.
- Religion is a broad topic that will be explained in further detail as it relates to each breed later in this guide. Many, if not most, furrecats have some of religion or beliefs regarding humans. Spirituality is an important part of every furrecat's life in some way or another, and can help furrecats cope with the greater questions of life.
- The study and discussion of philosophy varies from one culture to another. In more advanced societies, it is reserved for the wisest and most respected members of a court; in other societies, such as Plain societies, it is a part of everyday life and spirituality. Religion in many societies prohibits or restricts the study of philosophy.
- Morality is largely dependent on the religious and spiritual beliefs of a furrecat society. There are some acts and behaviors that are considered almost universally immoral, particularly when they result in harm to a furrecat's person either physically or mentally. The punishment for immorality and the enforcement of morality is unique from one culture to another. Without written codes or rules, crime and law enforcement is a constant issue for furrecats, and it largely comes down to the community to prevent crime.
- Science, Technology, Education and Economy
- Furrecat technology is, for the most part, relatively primitive. The most advanced tools allow for working basic metals, and carving and moving stone. The reintroduction of humans later in furrecat history provides more advanced technology and science, and threatens the existing cultures and ways of life amongst native furrecats.
- Most furrecats have organized education that usually begins around age two for most furrecats, and extends until adulthood. Education is, for the most part, wholly practical. Furrecats will usually learn roles and skills that are class and culture appropriate. They might learn directly from parents, or from skilled elders.
- Furrecats have a highly developed capacity for language. That furrecat native language, known colloquially as "Furrcish", has several regional dialects. Furrecat language originated in the English language spoken by human scientists, and evolved slowly over the centuries to suit the furrecat tongue, and fill in the holes for vocabulary not available or forgotten about at the birth of the language. As such, Furrcish is marked by prolonged vowels, as well as slurred and voiceless consonants. "R" and "M" sounds are common, whereas more complex sounds -- such as "Q", "W" -- are uncommon and typically replaced, or dropped altogether. Grammar is often simplified, and any part of a sentence can be dropped if the context is understood. It is common for furrecats to leave out definite articles when speaking Furrcish. The features of regional dialects will be explored in detail in the Breeds section.
- Furrecats are born with the ability to communicate in mewls and yowls. However, this is a feral language with no meaning beyond the tone of the sounds, and is often associated with infants. Furrecats will typically revert back to this primitive means of communication when emotionally overwhelmed -- enraged, pained, terrified, elated, etc. It is also commonly used for hunting.
- For the most part, furrecats have no written language. It is difficult for furrecats to write, and they avoid it when possible. When forced to write -- such as for signs or historical murals -- most furrecat societies will use pictographs or hieroglyphics. These hieroglyphics primarily communicate ideas and concepts, rather than specific words or points of language. Trade between societies has necessitated the use of hieroglyphics to communicate between dialects.
There are three main breeds of furrecat: Typical, Plains, and Mountain. Each breed has its own unique physical features as well as associated cultures. In this section, the furrecat breeds will be examined in more detail, strictly in regards to their roles on their native planet. Typical:
- As their name implies, Typical furrecats are average in most respects, and differ little from the general description of the species. An adult male Typical will usually grow to a height of about 33" from the bottom of his paws to the top of his shoulders, and 47" from the floor to the top of his head if his neck is held up. With his neck held straight away from his chest, he will typically reach around 60" from the tip of his nose to his rump. His tail will grow to match the length of his body: typically up to 40". The skull typically measures around 13" from the front teeth of the top jaw to the back end of the crown. His ears will usually match the length of his head: around 12". Proportionally, a Typical furrecat's legs will make up a little more than half his height from floor to the top of his shoulders. The length of the neck up to the top of the head adds another third of this height. The combined length of the body, neck and head will typically reach around five times the length of the head. When standing bipedal on his back toes, a Typical furrecat can clear almost 6' in height.
- Females follow these heights and proportions, usually with two to three inches less length in any given measurement. The skull and ears can be one to two inches shorter.
- Common fur colors for a Typical furrecat: Brown, tan, black, green, gray. Uncommon: White, blue, red. Rare: Purple, bright colors.
- Common fur patterns for a Typical furrecat: Solid, pointed. Uncommon: Spotted. Rare: Striped.
- Environment and Habitat
- Typical furrecats are native to forest and hill terrains. They prefer areas with moderate temperatures.
- The architecture of a Typical furrecat habitat varies depending on the population and local supplies available to a settlement. Hills furrecat will typically build burrows and dens made of mud, wood, and straw in hillsides. Forest furrecats will build more elaborate structures of cut wood, sometimes hollowing out large trees as shelters. Wealthy forest cities will also use local and imported stone to create more permanent, stable structures. The architectural style of these structures are fairly simple, aimed at practicality rather than comfort.
- Society and Government Structure
- Typical settlements can range in size from single farmsteads, to tiny villages, to sprawling cities. The larger the size of the settlement, the more complex the government is likely to be. Villages are typically comprised of nomadic hunting bands centered around a single leader. These tribes are numerous and often at war with each other. Tribes that manage to conquer a wide space of land or people grow into more elaborate kingdoms. These kingdoms usually consist of a king, known as a mien in Furrcish, and a royal court. This court typically includes blood relatives, as well as advisors to the mien, who are given a measure of command over military activity, economy, etc.
- Kingdoms have a fairly rigid class structure, with movement between the classes being difficult to impossible. The mien sits at the top, with his court beneath him. Alongside the court are also wealthy individuals, who can gain influence and even places in the court with their economic influence. Soldiers are also given considerable influence, just below the wealthy. Below this is the middle class, comprised mostly of artisans, or those with specialty trades -- blacksmiths, bankers, carpenters, etc. Trained hunters are also considered part of the middle class. The expansive lower class is comprised of farmhands, servants, and merchants. At the bottom of the social heap are slaves. Slaves are usually war prisoners from rival tribes, but can also include debtors and criminals. Slaves are typically used for the most labor-intensive tasks, such as building walls and structures.
- Law enforcement is typically carried out by soldiers, and occasionally by high-ranking hunters. Soldiers and some hunters are the only ones allowed to wear armor or use weapons. Trials are carried out by the royal court, and corruption is common. Typical kingdoms are fairly ruthless, and condemned criminals are likely to be executed or enslaved based on the severity of the crime.
- Religion, Culture, Tradition, and Technology
- Typical furrecats are highly religious, and follow a long tradition of human-worship, established with the birth of the species (the nature of this religion will be explained at length in the History section). Typical furrecats observe daily gatherings to worship their creators. They worship in various ways, including prayers, hymns, and dances.
- Hunting remains an important part of most Typical societies, despite not having the importance it once did with the advent of farming and ranching. Hunters train from a young age with other kittens. Every young hunter must go through a ritual when he comes of age to lead a hunting party in tracking and taking down a large prey animal. Successful hunters will wear a single bone from that animal somewhere on their body as proof of their status as a hunter. Bone earrings and necklaces are common. Hunters are revered in many Typical societies, and may also double as military force in small tribes.
- Outside of armor, Typical furrecats do not wear clothing. Many furrecats will wear jewelry as a sign of wealth -- bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and tail rings. Jewelry is usually fashioned from carved bone or sewn leather, and rarely metal or precious stones from Mountain traders.
- Most Typical furrecat societies are very patriarchal. Females are barred from many of the more prestigious activities, such as the military or hunting. They are typically confined to secular life, or trades considered the work of females -- tailoring and leatherworking, medicine and cooking. Females are also commonly used as servants and attendants. Particularly in small tribes, females are seen as something to be protected in the interest of sustaining the tribe, and not as influential members of society.
- All Typical males have a coming-of-age celebration at age 6, when they are accepted as adult members of society. Wealthier families may give a son a form of jewelry at this time to distinguish him as an adult. More importantly, this ceremony typically marks when a Typical male is able to own land, earn money as an individual in a particular trade, or marry. Arranged marriages are not uncommon, particularly amongst the lower classes, in order to marry a family into a higher rank or prestige.
- The Typical dialect of Furrcish tends to be closest to English, as Typical furrecats take a particular pride in mimicking the "gods" who created them. They also tend to be better educated, with a more extensive vocabulary.
- Influence by Humans
- The reintroduction of humans into the lives of Typical furrecats threatens to shatter their culture and way of life forever. Entire tribes are wiped out by human raiders. The introduction of human knowledge, particularly weapons, creates a vicious underground; Typical nations race to own human weapons. Religion confuses many furrecats, and creates a fragile balance where humans play the role of gods. Human settlements force Typical furrecats off their land and threaten their food supply. As Typical furrecats adapt best to the climate on Earth, they are particularly hard-hit by raiders. Earth furrecats are sometimes used to help facilitate raids, and are particularly hated as slaves of the gods. Some native Typical furrecats voluntarily sell out their fellows in order to gain greater standing with the humans.
- Plains furrecats are taller and slimmer than a Typical furrecat. They can measure up to 5" taller than the average typical, and 10" longer. Their skulls and ears tend to be thinner and more streamlined. Their legs and paws are long and thin. Unlike most furrecats, Plains furrecats cannot retract their claws, which are usually ground down from running. Plains furrecats are also set apart in that their tails do not possess the "bulb" typical to the species. They typically have very short fur, growing slightly longer around their necks. Their body types are closest to an average feline, and they least likely to walk bipedal. Their clavicles are not as developed, as they are rarely used.
- Females are typically slightly larger and more muscular than males, between one and three inches taller in any given measurement The fur around their necks can be particularly long, especially on the back, similar to a horse's mane.
- Common fur colors for a Plains furrecat: Tan, brown, earth red. Uncommon: White, green, gray. Rare: Blue, purple.
- Common fur patterns for a Typical furrecat: Striped, spotted. Uncommon: Solid. Rare: Pointed.
- Environment and Habitat
- As their name implies, Plains furrecats are typical to plains. They also will inhabit deserts and canyons. They have a high tolerance for heat and dry weather.
- Plains furrecats do not build permanent settlements for the most part. Shelters are either found in rock faces, or built out of mud and earth into small domes.
- Plains furrecats are unique in their consideration of the environment when creating settlements. They are particular about the shape in placement of their shelters in relation to one another, to create patterns and shapes that best facilitate the flow of "energy".
- Society and Government Structure
- Plains furrecats are typically comprised of small groups, called "prides", of 15 - 40 individuals. These nomadic prides will follow game across migratory patterns, and are largely dependent on hunting and gathering. These prides are highly matriarchal, led by the strongest female of the pride. Hunters are exclusively female. Males will gather any useable local herbs, as well as watch over the kittens.
- Religion, Culture, Tradition, and Technology
- Plains furrecats are a very spiritual breed. They do not follow the human-worship that is common to most furrecats. Instead, they are focused on the role of energy in the universe and the environment around them. They have a number of spiritual rituals and tools designed to cleanse and manipulate energy. They have a strong belief in spirits and reincarnation.
- Plains furrecats are the most creative of the breeds, and use art everywhere in their daily lives. Males create most of the art. Most art is created to imitate and facilitate a connection with nature. Plains furrecats love to sing and dance to stir energy and connect with one another and the environment around them.
- Female Plains furrecats have a coming-of-age ritual at the age of 5. This typically involves leading a successful hunt. A female may also choose to take a mate at this time, and leave the pride to start a new one.
- Females are constantly struggling for rights in the pride, particularly hunting and mating rights. It is considered ritual for competing females to engage in non-lethal combat. The loser is typically driven out of the pride.
- The Plains dialect of Furrcish tends to be very lyrical. Plains furrecats will slur words together and draw out vowels to make their speech flow. They also use a tonal emphasis on certain syllables of a words in order to create a musical quality to their speech.
- Plains furrecats are the most primitive in terms of technology. They create basic tools, armor, and jewelry out of bone and leather. Plains furrecats, for the most part, do not attempt to work stone or metal, except to dig crystals out of rocks to use in rituals.
- Influence by Humans
- The Plains furrecats are little understood by humans, and mostly ignored for being too "primitive". Their bodies do not adapt well to the journey to Earth or to Earth labor. Without a particular reverence towards humans, they are difficult for humans to manipulate, and Plains furrecats take great pride in hunting down vulnerable human intruders if possible. Unfortunately, Plains furrecats are easy for humans to exterminate, and many are forced to retreat to canyons and harsh deserts to escape human persecution. Some humans will go out of their way to capture Plains furrecats as exotic trophies, and it is not uncommon for humans to try to breed Plains furrecats with Typicals to create a more athletic, attractive breed.
- Mountain furrecats are the "dwarves" of furrecats, averaging half the height and length of Typical furrecats. They are built stocky, with very long, thick fur. Their heads are broad with high brows, and short ears.
- Females look very similar to males, with few physical differences. They are often slightly larger than males, and the fur around their neck can sometimes grow long enough to fall past the chest.
- Common fur colors for a Mountain furrecat: White, brown, black, gray. Uncommon: Tan, green. Rare: Blue, red, purple.
- Common fur patterns for a Typical furrecat: Solid, spotted. Uncommon: Pointed. Rare: Striped.
- Environment and Habitat
- As implied by their name, Mountain furrecats are native to mountain areas. They are built for rocky terrain and cold, harsh environments.
- Mountain furrecats usually make their homes in cliff faces and inside mountains. They are particularly efficient at manipulating rock and stone to excavate caves and tunnels. Once Mountain furrecats choose a location, they typically do not leave it until resources are depleted and they are forced to move on.
- Society and Government Structure
- Mountain furrecats usually live in scattered bands of varying size, anywhere from 10 to 1,000 individuals. Mountain furrecats are not especially social, and come together mostly when it is most beneficial to work as a group. These societies tend to be very democratic, with decisions made either by popular vote, or by elected officials in the case of very large groups.
- Trade is especially important in Mountain societies. Metalworking is the only industry done locally; almost everything else, from food to tools, have to be supplied from trade with other nations. As such, Mountain furrecats tend to travel long distances away from their homes to trade for goods. Skilled craftsmen are considered just as important as skilled traders, and wealth is generally spread around a group. Everyone works together to succeed as a whole.
- Religion, Culture, Tradition, and Technology
- Mountain furrecats are not religious by nature. They tend to be extremely practical and work-oriented, and consider religion and art to be a waste of time. Some Mountain furrecats pick up other belief systems in their travels, and human-worship has come to have a small following amongst larger Mountain societies.
- Despite their diminutive size, Mountain furrecats tend to be the most intelligent of the breeds. They are particularly concerned with mathematics and the sciences, in order to facilitate trade. They are the first furrecat society to take an interest in and study their own anatomy and psychology. Their medical practices become the standard of medicine and surgery in the furrecat world at large, as well as demystify some of the eccentricities of the furrecat mind. Mountain furrecats are very inquisitive and go to great lengths to learn how the world works, and how to make things more efficient.
- The Mountain Furrcish dialect is harsh and guttural. Words are shortened and vowels are dropped, with an emphasis on sounds that expose the teeth (T, D, S, K, etc.). Mountain accents can sound like growling.
- Influence by Humans
- Mountain furrecats are not altogether unaffected by humans. The influence of humans cuts off trade routes and throws the world market into chaos. Human interest in the minerals that Mountain furrecats rely on for their livelihood drives many Mountain furrecats out of their homes and down to Typical forest kingdoms. Though Mountain furrecats are hardy and strong, they tend to gather less interest as slaves for humans because of their size.
When examining Earth furrecats, it is important not to focus on breed, but the roles these furrecats serve in human society. Earth Furrecats:
- Almost all furrecats on Earth are slaves of some sort. The majority of these slaves are involved in industrial work, either mining or in factories. Work of this sort can be extremely dangerous, and most slaves do not live to see their twenties. The furrecat trade is a vibrant industry on Earth, due to the high demand for labor.
- Only about 5% of new furrecat slaves are introduced from raids on Ganymede; the rest are either bred from existing slaves, or bred and raised in mills. Because of a furrecat's long gestation period in comparison to the average feline, the wealthiest mills can grow to immense size, with hundreds of breeding "queens" cramped into narrow stalls. These queens are typically forced to have kittens constantly until the process kills them, or they are sold to pit owners.
- Slave groups can be small, or incredibly large, based on the wealth of the owner and the demand of the industry. As mentioned briefly in the Relationships section, slave groups tend to be close-knit regardless of the size. In order to avoid forming special attachments, all males are known as "brothers" and all females as "sisters" -- there are no special designations for relatives. Kittens are usually raised by the entire group.
- Many slave groups are indoctrinated with the age-old, human-worshipping religion. Fears of rebellion keep this religion strictly enforced, and keep slave furrecats away from education.
- As slaves are often forced to reproduce, there are little taboos when it comes to sexual behavior. Most slave furrecats avoid forming the pair bonds that are typical to the species.
- All slave furrecats wear some sort of identification. This is usually a collar or wrist-cuff, but can also be a tag or brand.
- The Pits
- Pit fighting emerged relatively quickly after the initial introduction of furrecats to Earth. Within thirty years, the use of enslaved furrecats in pit matches grew from the underground gambling scene to relative acceptance as mainstream entertainment. Pits range from tiny, dirt rings hidden away in back alleys, to more prestigious stone stadiums. Gambling is allowed regardless of the size or grandeur of the fights.
- Rules vary based on the venue, the individuals involved, etc. Fights can range from free-for-all death matches, to more calculated entertainment spectacles. Some of the more elaborate tournaments may discourage killing, as trained pit furrecats can be a heavy investment on a human owner.
- Most pit furrecats are slaves who have become too old or infirm to work in factories or mines. These slaves are fairly cheap and are most likely to end up in small death matches, as they are considered disposable.
- Many, if not all, of the more notorious pit furrecats are raised from kittenhood to become efficient fighters. This typically involves a process called "conditioning". From a young age, a furrecat kitten is exposed to violence and life-threatening situations in order to dull morality and build the furrecat's combat skills. There are no particular rules or laws regarding conditioning, and depending on the owner, this process can be extremely vicious. These conditioned fighters typically appear in the more elaborate and expensive fighting rings, as they require a significant amount of time and money to train. A wealthy owner may own a "stable" of several furrecats undergoing conditioning at various stages, most often managed by hired hands.
- While the pit system is similar in some respects to the gladiators of Roman times, it is almost completely unheard of for a furrecat to earn freedom. Most furrecats who end up in the pit system die at some point or another, either in the ring or during conditioning.
- Pit furrecats who gain a reputation for survival, or who are bred for the pits, have a stage name of some sort. These names are typically a single word referring to the furrecat's fighting style, such as "Vampiress" or "Switchblade".
- Shows, Fashion, and Pets
- Furrecat "shows" are a relatively exclusive, but vibrant scene. Some wealthy human women make a hobby of breeding and raising furrecats for particular traits or unusual fur patterns. These furrecats are typically flaunted in extravagant shows. Prizes can bring fame and prestige to a breeder. These furrecats are often extremely pampered pets.
- Furrecat coats, especially with unusual patterns, are valuable commodities. Show furrecats who have grown too old for shows, who cannot breed anymore, etc. maybe be sold for their coats.
- It is unusual for a furrecat to be kept exclusively as a pet, without any functional purpose. Most furrecats are too intelligent and restless to put up with this sort of existence for very long. Most furrecat pets are either show furrecats, or mentally or emotionally damaged to the point of being feral.
- Free Furrecats
- While it is virtually unheard of for a furrecat to escape slavery, there is an extremely small population of free furrecats. As even free furrecats have virtually no rights, most furrecats who are freed by their masters for whatever reason tend to stick around. Furrecats who manage to escape to the Earth's surface (or, rarely, are turned loose) often form packs, or join human gangs. These furrecats tend to be like wild dogs. Joining a human gang is often the closest a furrecat can get to being treated on the same level as a human.
There are two main locations to the furrecat universe: the human planet, Earth, and the moon-planet, Ganymede. Ganymede:
- Technical Information
- Orbit: 1,070,000 km from Jupiter
- Mean Distance from the Sun: 5.203 AU
- Diameter: Approximately 5262 km (about 1/5th the radius of Earth)
- Orbital Period: 7 days around Jupiter, 4322 days around the Sun
- Day: Approximately 168 hours, or equivalent to orbit around Jupiter
- Year: 4,322 Earth days, or approximately 12 Earth years
- Ice is still prevalent on most of the planet, especially on the north and south poles. Water covers most of the planet's surface, with one large continental land mass surrounded by islands of varying shapes and sizes. This continent emerged out of tectonic activity during the initial terraforming of Ganymede. Similar to Earth, Ganymede has a wide variety of climates and zones, including mountains, deserts, forests, hills, and plains.
- The long days on Ganymede force most furrecat societies to establish periods of rest and activity. More informal societies, such as many Plains prides, may work at their own pace regardless of how light or dark it is outside.
- The atmosphere is extremely close, but not exactly the same as Earth's. Traveling between the planets requires a significant amount of climate acclimation.
- It is important to note that, because Ganymede is tidally locked, the continental landmass always faces away from Jupiter.
- Despite the planet's relatively small inhabitable landmass, Ganymede has a prolific biosphere of organisms, plants, animals, insects and fish. Most of these animals were once genetically altered or engineered to adapt quickly to the environment, and many have evolved so much over the ensuing millennia that they have only superficial resemblances to their Earth counterparts. Until the arrival of humans, furrecats are the only sentient life on the planet.
- Terrain and Population
- Most of the planet is still devastated from a brutal war that shattered the Earth's surface, breaking apart continents and sinking land masses. After several centuries, the surface is starting to recover, but the atmosphere and erratic climate still are fairly harsh, and only the most desperate seek to reclaim the surface.
- Most of humanity lives in enormous, sprawling underground settlements, using machine power to drill further into the Earth. War and disease have claimed much of humanity, with only about a billion individuals left beneath the broken continents.
- Technology and Social Climate
- Much of the technology and history of the Earth have been lost to war and the ages. The technology on Earth around the time furrecats are rediscovered has been mostly reverse engineered from the technology of a vanished era. Without many of the resources once available on Earth, humans rely on steam to power their cities and machines. This technology is used to prop up more advanced technologies no longer fully understood, such as air recyclers and artificial sunlight. Artificial sunlight is essential to the health of the humans, as well as the vast underground greenhouses used to feed the struggling population.
- Most of humanity is driven by industrial promise. Nations race to discover minerals or raw materials that can be useful to industry. Once space travel is rediscovered, nations race to control this extremely limited connection with the world outside Earth, and the even more limited resources that power it. Science is the prevailing religion, and practicality is the reigning priority.
- Life underground can be especially harsh and dirty. The best structures and most reliable sources of sunlight are reserved for the most wealthy and privileged. Many of the extensive factories and lower class areas are poorly built and maintained, and residents often suffer from poor air quality and inadequate sunlight.
- Health care is fairly poor across classes, as the pharmaceuticals and advanced medical knowledge once known have been lost to time. Doctors must rely on medications that can be extracted from plants, such as morphine. Morphine addictions create an ugly drug culture, plaguing all classes.
- Because air must be brought down from the surface and purified, there are strict regulations on air pollution. Elaborate systems of pipes carry smoke and steam up to the surface. Fires can only be lit in designated areas where smoke can be channeled into these pipe systems.
- Weapons technology has been especially broken by time. The rediscovery of gun powder revolutionizes both industry and weapons. However, guns are cumbersome and fairly unreliable, and are so expensive to own and maintain that they are most limited to wealthy traders.
- Underground colonies are linked together by an expensive system of steam locomotives, which run through tunnels on a track. These locomotives use condensers to recycle steam and minimize emissions.
The history of the furrecats spans millennia. The story of the race begins at the height of humanity's glory. Humans have gained powers previously attributed to gods: mastery of space, life, and the elements. Seeking to extend their reach across the stars and create more "advanced" forms of life, the world comes together to fund a project of incredible scale. Dubbed "Second Genesis", it is to be the largest terraforming project to date. Thousands travel across the universe to Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede.
The project is, for the most part, successful. By manipulating the satellite's elements and magnetosphere, they are able to create an inhabitable atmosphere. Over the following decades, they fill the new "planet" with genetically engineered lifeforms. The pinnacle of the project's achievement is the creature eventually known as a furrecat. The first successful specimen to be dubbed a member of the new species is known as Aleph. These first furrecats were not much bigger than the Mountain breed, with short fur and a wider opening to the ear. Scientists soon established colonies of these early furrecats, aiming for deliberate genetic diversity to encourage natural selection and evolution. It is at this stage the human-worshipping religion began, as a simple way for the human scientists to exert control over the furrecat population.
However, the scientists were unable to witness the fruits of their labor; only fifty years after the project began, it was shut down. War had broken out on Earth, and the project was an enormous financial drain the world's nations could not afford. The project was abandoned, and the furrecats with it. This war would drag out for over five centuries. The technologies once used to shape life are twisted to destroy it, shattering the Earth and humanity with it. The deep underground bunkers built to withstand the devastation now become the only habitable refuge. The end of the war leaves humanity broken and "reset". Humans barely survive off of aging technology for the next millennium, branching out slowly underground, until the development of the steam engine as a source of power and the integration of "old" technology allows humans to thrive once more.
During this expanse of time, furrecats quickly become the dominant species on Ganymede, and adapt to suit their new environment. The direct descendents of Aleph eventually become the tribes of the forests and hills, while later creations eventually become the Plains and Mountain breeds. The existence of humans passed mostly into legend and religion, and for centuries, the Second Genesis project continued undisturbed. The most religious furrecats prophesized of a day when Man would return to reclaim the race and lead it towards a "paradise" of peace and promise.
That day came about a century after steam power opens a new Industrial Revolution on Earth. Seeking useful technologies to help humanity's survival, humans stumble on the remnants of the Second Genesis project -- particularly, the old spacecrafts used to travel back and forth from Ganymede. Motivated by the thought of a forgotten paradise somewhere in space, it takes another century for humans to revitalize these machines and get them running. The first trip to Ganymede after two millennia becomes an unprecedented historic event. The first humans to step foot on Ganymede since the project was abandoned are awe-struck by what they see: clean skies, clear water, and abundant life. They are just as stunned to see the furrecats as the furrecats are to see them. The human visitors take advantage of the furrecat's religious reverence to establish a small colony, and take back several dozen furrecats to Earth for study. A dozen make the trip. Earth is desperate for labor to run the factories and power plants essential for human life, and after extensive study, furrecats are seen as the perfect solution. This begins the enslavement of furrecats, and industry quickly changes to adapt to this new labor force. Driven by the power of steam and furrecat labor, human industry and technology grows at a rate unseen since before the 500 Years' War.
The reintroduction of humans to Ganymede, of course, has a devastating effect on the furrecats as well as the local flora and fauna. The trade in furrecats and the establishment of human colonies on Ganymede threatens furrecat cultures and the precarious balance of power between furrecat tribes and nations. The Plains and Mountain breeds are nearly eliminated by human intrusion. Typical settlements of all sizes live in constant fear of human raids. Over a hundred years pass from the time humans first set foot back on Ganymede, and the Second Genesis project is sure to see a grim end.
All content © 2010 Krystina Haggerty, do not reproduce or redistribute without permission.