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Skeecat Questions and Answers:

What are skeecats?  

  • They are extra-terrestrial life forms that resemble large housecats, except for the paws, which have tiny, human-like fingers. Their sharp claws are not retractable, like an Earth cat’s are, but they can tuck them in, much the same way a human makes a fist. They have long coats of silky hair in mottled shades of gray, brown, white or black, and are much stronger than domestic Earth cats.

Where did they come from?

  • During humans’ early explorations of interstellar space during the mid-22nd Century, one of the first earth-like planets they found, in the Procyon sector, was the skeecats’ home world.

What makes them so special?

  • A party of explorers studied the species for several months and noticed that the animals easily avoided the large, reptilian predators that inhabited the planet. At first, they thought it was merely their keen ears, eyes and noses, but closer observation showed that they possess a sixth sense about danger. The skeecats bond with life-partners at an early age, and some bonded with members of the explorer party. After a great deal of argument, the explorers decided to take their new bond-mates along when they left because the humans that the skeecats bonded with wouldn’t leave them. On their voyage home, the explorers discovered that the skeecats’ sixth sense also worked in space. After that, the animals became a common sight on the bridges of almost all interstellar spaceships.

If they’re so wonderful, why doesn’t everybody have one?

  • Subsequent expeditions over the next fifty years found that fewer and fewer of them would approach humans. The reasons never were adequately explained, although several theories were offered, but because of their ability to sense danger at long distances, it became almost impossible even to study them through telescopes. Because all the skeecats who did leave the planet were bonded to a human, they could not bond with their own kind in order to reproduce naturally. Special labs were set up to breed them artificially, but the method is unreliable. The few who are born in this way are reserved for graduating cadets of the Space Academy, and for spaceship crewmembers with more than six years of service to Federated Planets Fleet.

So why does Kirsten have one? She just started at the Academy!

  • Skeecats bond with humans when they are about a year old. Lab technicians monitor the yearlings closely, and when they begin to emit a glandular secretion they call a ‘bonding pheromone,’ the skeecat is isolated until it is time for the animal to bond with a cadet or a crewmember. Silver couldn’t wait, and pushed out of his cage through a loose ventilation panel and went to find Kirsten as soon as she arrived at the Academy. This may have occurred because Kirsten’s strong, empathic power drew him, or perhaps because she emits a high concentration of the, as yet undiscovered, human counterpart to the skeecat pheromone.

How does their sixth sense work?

  • No one knows for sure, but one theory is that the skeecats’ ability to sense danger is similar to Kirsten’s empathic talent, which allows her to read the emotions of people around her.

Do skeecats talk?

  • No. They communicate with humans mostly through body language, although they do hiss and purr. Over time, the bonded human also develops the ability to ‘feel’ what his or her skeecat is feeling. This is especially true in Kirsten’s case, even though skeecat emotions are very different from human emotions. Among themselves, skeecats communicate through touch, smell and taste, as well as body language.

Do skeecats ever fight?

  • Unlike Earth cats, skeecats bonded to humans are not territorial. They will welcome, or at least tolerate, other skeecats in their space. A skeecat avoids danger whenever possible, but if escape is not an option, the animal will fight an attacker with every ounce of strength. (See Vol. 1, chapter 13)

What do they eat?

  • In the wild, they eat small reptiles and birds (there are no other mammals on the skeecat home world), along with certain leaves and grasses. The composition of their diet was analyzed, and special food is manufactured to meet their needs and readily available on all FP ships, bases, and in many stores throughout Federated Planets space.

How long do they live?

  • Most live to be thirty to thirty-five (Sol Standard) years old, but some have lived to be fifty. The few who are killed by accident almost always die with their humans. When a skeecat dies of old age, its human grieves for as long and in the same way as if he or she had lost a close family member.

Does everyone get as emotional when they bond with a skeecat as Kirsten did when she bonded with Silver?

  • Absolutely. It’s like having a baby, hitting a grand slam and seeing your first book published all at the same time.

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