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Names: Skycats are also called flying cats, however, in the area where skycats are common, this terminology marks someone as a traveler.
Locals, brought up on Skycat stories, know that one of Skycat's great frustrations is that she cannot truly fly, she can only glide. (Unless you count the time Eagle caught her, and she had to trick Eagle into letting go, but of course, the timing had to be just right, or Eagle would simply catch her right up again!) Travelers quickly learn that using the term 'flying cat' is an invitation to hear yet another Skycat story, told in long, loving detail, and unless they love folklore, they quickly learn better.
However, exotic pet dealers consistently use the term flying cat when selling skycats in the far reaches of the empire, so said name is more and more likely to be the common terminology the farther you get from the torn region where the skycats originated.
Description: These descendants of the common housecat have skin and muscle extending between their forelegs and hind legs, giving them a substantial ability to glide. There are some other minor muscular and skeletal changes that enhance the cats' ability to climb and to securely grab tree limbs. The cats are, on average, about three-fourths the size of regular housecats, although their claws are a bit longer. A significant percentage, more than one-third, are polydactyl.
These cats evolved in a torn region that was little but swamp, and populated with a wide variety of plant and animal species, including alligators.
Skycats are also much more comfortable with water than standard cats. They are accomplished fishers, using their tails as lures to bring fish close enough to be snagged up onto land with a swift movement of long claws. They also can use their 'wings' to propel them through the water, though they do this primarily when they miss their intended landing spot and make a wet landing.
In color, skycats have the same range of colors that normal cats do, though it is rare to see a solid white skycat. Also, the 'Siamese' marking pattern has not been observed. The hair is in the short to medium length, and in a healthy skycat is quite thick.
Skycats can mate with normal cats, however, offspring are rare, and nearly always sterile.
Habitat: The skycats are comfortable in all high places, trees, houses, even many cliffs. They are less fond of crawling into holes than normal cats, however they can do so, and are, in general, perfectly happy anywhere that normal cats would be happy.
Breeding Habits and Family Units: Breeding habits are very similar to common housecats, though the mother skycat will bring prey back to her kittens. She also nurses kittens longer, giving them additional time to master gliding and hunting.
Interactions with Humans: Skycats, like their ancestors, are quite pleased to allow humans to feed and care for them, so long as they have contact with humans from kittenhood. The process of taming a skycat is essentially identical to taming feral cats.
Farmers often prefer standard cats, which, they say, are better mousers, however, farmers who have difficulties with winged pests or snakes can and do disagree. Owners of skycats must keep the skycats' love of climbing in mind, and often keep glassware and other fragiles in locked cabinets.
Skycats often enjoy being shoulder cats, or even perching on their favored human's head like a hat. Since they can glide to the ground safely from such perches, they are generally very delicate about using their claws to hang on to people they like.
Lore: In the south, there is a series of stories showing skycats outwitting alligators and other swamp critters. Skycat is the local trickster figure. After all, she is smaller than other predatory animals, can't swim as well as the fish or fly as well as the birds, and survives by doing a little of everything and outsmarting everyone else. In her role as trickster, Skycat is always portrayed as female; there are also stories of Skycat's mates, however, those range from risque to x-rated.
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