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.
did they come from?
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.
makes them so special?
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.
they’re so wonderful, why doesn’t everybody have one?
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.
why does Kirsten have one? She just started at the Academy!
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
does their sixth sense work?
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.
skeecats ever fight?
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)
do they eat?
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.
long do they live?
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.
everyone get as emotional when they bond with a skeecat as Kirsten did
when she bonded with Silver?
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