Cats are, by type, quadrapedal hunters with retractable claws. There are many species in the cat class, ranging from massive hunting cats to the "proper" cats, the ones that most often live in and around humanity.
Common or Proper Cats typically weigh between 2.5 and 7 kg (5.516 pounds); though some breeds are much larger. Their fur is soft and warm. The skin under that fur is quite loose, allowign them to turn and confront an opponent even when grabbed.
All Cats, like dogs, are digitigrades: they walk directly on their toes, the bones of their feet making up the lower part of the visible leg. Cats are capable of walking very precisely, because like all felines they directly register; that is, they place each hind paw (almost) directly in the print of the corresponding forepaw, minimizing noise and visible tracks. This also provides sure footing for their hind paws when they navigate rough terrain.
Fun Fact: Unlike dogs and most mammals, cats walk by moving both legs on one side and then both legs on the other. Most mammals move legs on alternate sides in sequence. Cats share this unusual gait with camels, giraffes, some horses (‘pacers’), and a select few other mammals.
All cats (except the cheetah), have retractable claws. In their normal, relaxed position the claws are sheathed with the skin and fur around the toe pads. This keeps the claws sharp by preventing wear from contact with the ground and allows the silent stalking of prey. Cats can extend their claws voluntarily on one or more paws at will. They may extend their claws in hunting or self-defense, climbing, "kneading", or for extra traction on soft surfaces (bedspreads, thick rugs, etc.).
All Cats have highly specialized teeth and a digestive tract suitable for the digestion of meat. The premolar and first molar together compose the carnassial pair on each side of the mouth, which efficiently functions to shear meat like a pair of scissors. While this is present in dogs, it is highly developed in felines. The cats’ tongue has sharp spines, or papillae, useful for retaining and ripping flesh from a carcass. These papillae are small backward-facing hooks that contain keratin which also assist in their grooming.
All Cats are very effective hunters. Their pads and retactable claws allow them stealth and are capable of bursts of speed/ energy. (This burst of speed effect explains many "cat games" and why cat’s seem to sleep so much of the time.) However the real reason for the cat’s hunting expertise are their mundane (and other) senses.
Cats have highly advanced hearing, eyesight, taste, and touch receptors, making the cat extremely sensitive among mammals. Cats’ night vision is superior to humans although their vision in daylight is inferior. Cats have straight ears pointing upward. Cat ears can be move independently of the other, allowing for directional hearing. Humans and cats have a similar range of hearing on the low end of the scale, but cats can hear much higher-pitched sounds, up to 64 kHz, which is 1.6 octaves above the range of a human, and even one octave above the range of a dog. A domestic cat’s sense of smell is about fourteen times as strong as a human’s. To aid with navigation and sensation, cats have dozens of movable vibrissae (whiskers) over their body, especially their face. Due to a mutation in an early cat ancestor, one of two genes necessary to taste sweetness has been lost by the cat family.
In one of my fantasy world, Cats are magical creatures. They are considered "people" rather than just dumb animals. Now they don’t think or talk like people, but they are smart… and magical. Now none of this really contridicts what you normally see about cat’s and their behavior. However, because Humans on this world are actively aware of a cat’s magical nature, they can "see" the magical effects AND the cat’s do not bother to "hide" their magics from people.
They all have "magical" and "spirit" sight - Called The Vision in Humans. Thus they can see spirits and spells. Cat’s often staring off in space is actually a Cat viewing "The Unseen" with it’s Vision. Cat’s also have the ability to see into the past and the future. (Though their lack of human understanding communication limits this advantage for their human companions.)
A cat companion around The Hold is something one could find useful. They spot spells. They hunt down rats, demons, and ghosts. They sometimes help out with their cantrips. They tend to protect the children. There is a reason why people have cats around.
As for their magics….
Cat’s have the ability to perform Hexing Cantrips, grantable to themselves or anyone near them. Cat’s abilities to cantrip requires no props and a moment less time.
They know other cantrips as well. This is how they make up for the lack of thumbs. However, since they are not orriented towards things like people are.
They have the ability to enter The Astreal/ The Unseen at will. So much of the time they are apparently sleeping, they are hunting astromorphs (usually little spirit forms that cause problems). They treat most humans as unimportant- because to their view, they only live in a limited world instead of the full world of cats.
Their ability to strike at spirits, even while "inbody" is well documented by mages. This same ability allows them to "pick apart" the threads that are woven together to make spells, much the same way they like to pick apart balls of thread.
Cat’s have a special magic, a flash magic that will help them to "renew". It allows them to heal themselves from grevious injuries. Each time a renew is performed, the cat performing it permanently loses a point of manna (or spell slot). (Since a cat might have 10 slots, it comes forth with the 9 lives myth) Note: a group of cats can cast this upon any being they find worthy. Being "Catborn" as it is called is normally performed for great heroes, nice children, or people of destiny. (And since cats can see the future….)
Older Cats find apprentices in the younger litters. They pass on pieces of magical lore to their young companions. So cat might know other cantrips as well.
manfred replied: With such powers, not a few magic users (and not only them) are using cats for security purposes. The cats would guard an area against intrusion of any kind, and alert the owner should they find one. There exist weak enchantments, that enable a cat to warn its master of danger with a mere thought (danger as seen by the cat of course - dogs and the like may be warned about, too); some advanced versions can also transmit an image of the danger, which is useful against the supernatural. So be careful if you want to enter the house of that nice old lady with many cats… she might be a potent sorceress, that knows of you soon enough.
Of course, the cats will serve someone thusly ONLY if they like the person, and are attached to him or her. Most of the time, a magic-user has to literally raise this security force, and keep up with lots of cat-related problems. :)
Maybe for the summary
For the cat is cryptic, and close to Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.
But I was thinking about Jellical cats. T S Lewis