Panthera Awesome

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Lions and tigers and blue fire, oh my!

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, 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.

There are a number of flavors:

Lions: The "King of Beasts" as far as the Western world is concerned. Lions were once the widest ranging large mammal on Earth; you could run across one in Europe, Asia and Africa. However, they went extinct in prehistoric (parts of Asia, Northern Europe) or historic times (everywhere else they used to live, like ancient Greece and the rest of Europe and Asia) and now they're relegated to sub-Saharan Africa and the Gir Forest in India. Their powerful appearance is why the lion is commonly a national symbol in places very far from Africa or India, like England and Scotland (both national coats of arms feature lions), all of the Low Countries, Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland (their € cent coins feature a heraldic lion!) ... Lions are the only social cat,[1] forming prides consisting of one or two males and a number of females. The main reason lions are so venerated is their image, the males are distinctive from the females with their shaggy manes and tend to be larger than said females. They live in savannas rather than jungles as was once commonly believed.

Tigers: The largest of the big cats, native to Asia (not Darkest Africa). The largest population is in fact in the jungles of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, but the largest variety, the Siberian Tiger, lives in, well, Siberia. They're one of the few cats still known to eat people, and, as such, in India, people living in the jungles will wear masks on the backs of their head to prevent tigers from sneaking up on them (yet man-eaters are known among lions and leopards as well). Mostly comes in color orange, while other variants are much rarer but confirmed: mainly the famous white, and then "golden tabby", blue, and black colored tigers. White tigers are somewhat common in captivity and almost unseen in the wild; some of this is probably due to the need for camouflage in the wild. The white color is a recessive trait, however, and thus captive white tigers tend to be very inbred, often suffering from eye problems, hip dysplasia, and cleft palates. "Black" tigers are extremely rare and their bloodlines may be extinct. Given the lack of any captive examples, it's unknown whether they are truly melanistic or if they simply have abnormally wide stripes that leave little room for orange fur between them. Many countries considers the tiger to be the King of Beasts instead of the lion,[2] or even a god, symbolizing wrath, war, military generals or kings. Based on a survey of 73 countries, Tigers were also voted to be "The World's Favorite Animal", narrowly beating "man's best friend".

Leopards: The most common big cat of the genus Panthera, ranging through most of Africa and Asia, as well as the smallest roaring cat. Often seen as stealthy more than anything else, and with good reason. Also come in the snow leopard or "ounce" variety, and the little-known clouded leopard variety, Although the three are completely different species. Snow leopards are notable for their extremely long, bushy tail (which are almost as long as their bodies), which acts like an extra layer of fur when they curl up to sleep. Clouded Leopards are known for their distinctive fur and incredible climbing skills, and for their particularly long canines as well. A very common mistake is to portray leopards (both the spotted and the black ones) making the same scream of the cougar instead of roaring (this error also happens to jaguars, cheetahs, lynxes and sometimes even to tigers in fiction). See Disney's The Jungle Book again and you'll find we're right.

Jaguars: It seems a leopard on steroids, but is more similar to a tiger in ecology and behaviour. The largest cat in the Americas, found from Mexico through northern Argentina. If a writer is trying to accurately write about The Amazon, this is the cat they'll use. The Mayincatec worshipped jaguars, and to this day they're held in esteem South of the Border. More often than not, however, when you hear the word jaguar, they're talking about the car company. As an added note, Jaguars have the strongest bite of all felids and kills not through the neck like other big cats do, but through the bones of the skull with its canine teeth, piercing the brain. After the jaguar has killed its prey, it drags the dead carcass to a secluded area and always feasts on the chest area first, beginning with the lungs and heart. This brutal behavior has aptly earned them a place among Mesoamerican cultures as symbols of power, war, and protection. Amongst the Aztecs, they were used as Animal Motifs among the ocēlōtl, or Jaguar warriors, whose goal was to capture alive enemy soldiers to sacrifice to their gods.

Black Panthers: Not a separate species. Both leopards and jaguars can be born with black coats. Expect writers to treat them as a separate species anyway. Often, especially in illustrated media, if a leopard or jaguar is used, it will be a black variant for two reasons. 1) It's easier to draw a solid black panther than a spotted one, and 2) It looks cooler that way.

Mountain Lions: Also called cougars, pumas, panthers, catamounts, painters, and about forty other names (and that's just in English). Ranges across the Americas from the Yukon to Tierra del Fuego and, thus, most likely to be used in an American setting. May be used as a source of non-sequitur subplots. They're not actually big cats in the biological sense; indeed, they're more closely related to lynx and caracals than to tigers. That said, they're almost as big as a jaguar, so the reason for confusion is obvious. But they don't roar, and they do purr, oddly enough, because as previously mentioned, they are biologically small cats.

Cheetahs: Once believed a big cat, now seems to be a relative of the cougar. Over short distances, it's the fastest land animal on the planet. When you can reach freeway speed with the acceleration of a Lamborghini Murciélago Superveloce, you know you're awesome. Even if you do have a low life expectancy. The cheetah is also well-known for being the most docile and trainable of all the big cats (it was often trained to hunt fast prey by Persians and other Asian peoples, much like a greyhound). The King Cheetah is a much rarer variety with larger, more elaborate spots on its coat.

Lynx: Not strictly big cats either, but people tend to lump them together, especially in Europe, where the Eurasian Lynx is indeed the largest wild cat. They look strong and crafty with their intense eyes, their "beard", and tufts on their ears that make them seem more pointed. Legends about their extremely powerful sight abound, and in many languages "having the eyes of a lynx" means being extremely sharp-sighted and (in a figurative sense) being very acute-minded and perceptive. Despite all these alleged abilities, lynxes are not much larger than a tabby cat (except for the Eurasian lynx, which is easily twice the size of other three lynx species, the Iberian Lynx, the Canada Lynx, and the bobcat) and are totally harmless to humans (if not provoked). And they are now one of the most charismatic species in many European environmental projects, with the same prestige as wolves and brown bears. The most common American lynx is more precisely called Bobcat. Interesting to note that the lynx is the only cat (other than, obviously, the lion) to be represented in a constellation.

Ocelots: Not nearly as large as most of the cats on this page, being closer in size to the domestic cat (they can apparently be kept as pets - Salvador Dali had one named Babou - though it's not advised like almost all wild felines), ocelots can currently be found in South America, though are now very rare in the US. Nevertheless they do show up every now and then. The smaller Margay from the same locations is often confused with this one.

Servals and Caracals: Rather similar to the lynxes (especially Caracals) but with a tropical distribution ranging across Africa and, in the case of Caracals, in Asia as well. They are long-legged and more slender than other cats of similar size. Servals resemble miniaturized cheetahs, while caracals have a more cougar-like look but with lynx-like ears. The latter used to be domesticated in India.

Wild cats: There are several subspecies of them across the world, but the prototypal ones are the European Wild cat and the African Wild Cat. The former is one of the three felines native to the European environment and is very rare; the latter is the ancestor of our domestic friend. Both are technically the same species as the domestic cat; all three are subspecies of Felis silvestris.

Iriomote Cats: This cat is Japan's only native wild cat and it's highly endangered.

Saber-Toothed Cats: Not actually called saber-toothed tigers, but fit the motif. There were a large number of saber-toothed cats throughout the world at various geologic periods (along with scimitar-toothed cats, dirk-toothed cats, as well as Thylacosmilus, a marsupial carnivore that wasn't related to the cat family, but does slightly resemble one. Even an ancestor of mammals, Gorgonops, bore a sort of saber-tooth), but the one most familiar to people is Smilodon, and specifically Smilodon fatalis, a Pleistocene species that ranged down the west coast of the Americas as far south as Peru. Smilodon was about the size of a lion, but much more compact and muscular, kind of like a jaguar. The two enlarged canine teeth allowed the saber-tooth to hunt extremely large prey, but were very fragile and prone to breaking quite easily. If you want to make a present-day cat appear older, or just more Badass, you just need to add some overgrown fangs. Sabertooths were cats, being part of the Felidae family, but they belonged to a different branch of the cat family tree, and left no living descendants. And they're NOT to be confused with the Marvel supervillian of the same name.

Ligers: A hybrid of a female tiger and a male lion.[3] Typically gets bigger than either of its parents, especially if the liger is male. Due to a genetic quirk of the hybridization, male ligers never reach true biological adulthood, and thus keep growing for their whole lives (this also renders them incapable of breeding). There are many other big cat hybrids that are possible, but ligers are the most famous and probably the most common, due to their impressive size. Unfortunately, the male liger does not have a mane, nor does a liger of either gender have markings as distinct as a tiger's. Fictional depictions may show them that way anyway, for obvious reasons.

See Cool Cat for when this applies to regular cats. Compare Big Badass Wolf for the canine version of this trope. 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.

Examples of Panthera Awesome include:

Contents

General[edit | hide | hide all]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • There was this novel, Kingdoms of Light by Alan Dean Foster where 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.
  • In The Darkangel Trilogy, the Pendarlon is a white-maned lion. The gargoyle "Catwing" is a grotesque four-winged overgrown alley cat...until the Big Bad's curse is lifted and she's again the Zambulon, an idealized four-winged panther.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 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 Jungle Fury/Gekiranger, 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 dinosaur-themed Dino Thunder/Abaranger and bird themed Jetman- though they did manage to throw a sabertooth into Mighty Morphin'/Zyuranger.
  • Kamen Rider OOO has this as Kazari's Animal Motif, with Lion, Tora(Tiger), and Cheetah Core Medals.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • 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

Toys[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • 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 (Catgirl).
  • 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 will be playable in Guild Wars 2.
  • In World of Warcraft, Druids can shapeshift into a cat form to do physical damage. The species the cat forms are based on varies by race, but Tauren become lions, Night Elves become panthers, Trolls become tigers, and Worgen become what appear to be mountain lions (their cat form is rather vague).
  • The Elder Scrolls.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • 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...)
  • Apple has codenamed every version of OS X since 10.0 after one of the big cats.
  • 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 heraldric symbol competing with eagles in popularity. Some heraldric 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"(actually a Gryphon if I remember) 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.
  • 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.

Lions[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Film[edit | hide]

  • The 1965 movie Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion and the 1966 spin-off TV show Daktari both featured Clarence, a male lion who happened to be cross-eyed. In the movie, he's captured after raiding the livestock of a village—it's discovered that due to his crossed eyes he sees double and cannot hunt wild game. He's taken to the local vet clinic and adopted by the veterinarian's daughter. The TV show focused more on the vet, his family, and dangers-of-the-week (often poachers or criminals trading in wild animals,) but Clarence was still a major character.
  • Secondhand Lions.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia. Jesus Christ is a lion, get in the wardrobe!
  • 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.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Mythology[edit | hide]

  • One of Hercules's Twelve Labors is killing a powerful lion that's apparently invulnerable. When no weapon seemed to harm it, he choked the lion to death.

Sports[edit | hide]

Theater[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Tigers[edit | hide]

Advertising[edit | hide]

  • 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."

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • 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 Yu Yu 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 and 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.
  • 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.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Tawky Tawny: (raising a small goblet of something with an olive in it) Well, you do know what those who underestimate tigers always say, right?
Sabina De La Croix: What?
Tawky Tawny: They scream, "Oh God, help me, I'm being mauled to death by a tiger".

Film[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • 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.

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Hobbes is Calvin's best friend, but has no reservations about stalking and pouncing him.

Sports[edit | hide]

  • The Detroit Tigers baseball team and the Cincinatti Bengals football team.
  • Many schools tend to have tigers for mascots. Auburn University is probably the best-known example.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Puzzle Boss from The World Ends With You, Mitsuki Konishi as Tigris Cantus.
  • Gekigami from Okami.
  • Neon Tiger from Mega Man X 3.
  • 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.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Jaguars[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Film[edit | hide]

  • A black she-jaguar becomes the unlikely savior of a fleeing slave in Mel Gibson's jungle thriller Apocalypto.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Music[edit | hide]

  • For the cover of a 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 [dead link] is the result. This was before photoshop.

Sports[edit | hide]

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars football team.

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The Jaguar sports car (usually pronounced Jag-u-ar in the commercials)

Leopards[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • One Piece's Rob Lucci can transform into a half leopard or full leopard.

Card Games[edit | hide]

  • One of the errands in Ninja Burger is walking the store's pet leopard. Why your store has a pet leopard is never explained.

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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 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.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Ose, a bipedal leopard, is a recurring demon/Persona in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, Purrloin's evolution Liepard speaks for itself (although it's actually a leopard cat, not a leopard).

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Off White, a malevolent snow leopard causes trouble for a group of sledders.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Generic Black Panthers[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • Spinel Sun's true form is a panther with blue butterfly wings. He is the Darker and Edgier Expy of Kero.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Black panthers inspired Marvel Comics' Black Panther and The Black Panther Party (separately).

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • Coeurl, alien from short story Black Destroyer by A. E. van Vogt - big black cat-like creature with tentacles on its shoulders.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In D&D as a whole, there's the Displacer Beast whose shape resembles A. E. van Vogt's Coeurl. Most notable for being hard to hit, because it appears to be several feet away from its actual location.
    • Forgotten Realms has Drizzt Do'Urden's figurine of power/magical pet panther named Guenhwyvar. Initially made for unlucky bladesinger Josidiah Starym of Myth Drannor.
      • There is also the massive black panther which Kelemvor of the Avatar Trilogy transformed into as a result of his Hereditary Curse.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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 the first Quest for Glory, 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.
  • Brutal 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.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Mountain Lions[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

Advertising[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Folklore[edit | hide]

  • Before taming his horse, Widow-Maker Pecos Bill rode one of these.

Sports[edit | hide]

  • The Florida Panthers hockey team.

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Cheetahs[edit | hide]

Advertising[edit | hide]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Dragonriders of Pern has large feline predators on Pern's southern continent - descendants of cheetahs semi-domesticated and "improved" by one of the original colonists. Pern didn't have much native terrestrial predators, nor fat prey for them before stray cattle and the bigger critters either dig in or fly to escape the Thread, so these cats had no competitors and could afford to evolve a greater body size.
    • And they became social and quite savvy in long-term hunting strategy. Their creator gene-tweaked them with same old mentasynth enhancement to make them smarter and more cooperative. This sort of worked, but eventually one of the experiments ate him (then again, maybe it happened because he was disturbed?).
  • Animorphs The Weakness had cheetah morphs.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Cheetah People from the Doctor Who story "Survival".

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Kung Lao's Animality in Mortal Kombat 3 is a cheetah.
  • Action 52 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.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Lynxes[edit | hide]

Sports[edit | hide]

  • The Charlotte Bobcats basketball team.

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Bubastis, Adrian Veidt's lynx-like creature in Watchmen.

Ocelots[edit | hide]

Comics[edit | hide]

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

Real Life[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Archer: Cheryl, the secretary, is revealed to be independently wealthy and has a pet baby ocelot. Archer quickly falls in love with the little guy.

Servals[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Wild Cats[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

Iriomote Cats[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • 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

Saber-Toothed Cats[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • 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 cloths used by the twins Cid and Bud in Saint Seiya are inspired by saber-toothed cats.

Comics[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

Sports[edit | hide]

  • The Nashville Predators hockey team has a saber-toothed cat as a mascot.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • Raikou.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Ligers[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  1. However, domesticated cats can form bonds and colonies (especially in the case of ferals), and brother cheetahs often stay together for life. So they can be considered social, too. It's still disputable though.
  2. Which makes sense in regions where the lion has never been a native animal, like East Asia.
  3. the opposite cross of a male tiger and a female lion is called a tigon and typically does not grow to exceptional size