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In A Song of Ice and Fire, there are references to shadowcats north of the Wall and in the Vale of Arryn. Are these supposed to be alternate names for a real feline, such as a puma or a lynx, or are they entirely fictional beasts?

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up vote 28 down vote accepted

It is a fictional animal and they are supposed to look like tigers or mountain lions, but with black fur.

So Speak Martin:

-Αre shadowcats closer in size to tigers or mountain lions?

-Somewhere in between.

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1+ for GRRM quote – CyanAngel Jun 11 '14 at 14:20
For what it's worth, the current photo looks more like a darkly-colored lynx to me. – Andrew Coonce Jun 11 '14 at 23:04

I always thought that it is like a black panther? Black Panther

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Panther is a type of cat, there's no one animal called 'black panther'. I believe that's a picture of a jaguar, not sure though – Leo King Jun 11 '14 at 15:50
@LeoKing Actually, the site it’s from claims it to be a panther: – alexwlchan Jun 11 '14 at 17:02
@alexwlchan "a panther" is not a species of cat, it's a horribly-misused name for a bunch of different cats. Depending on where you live, a panther might be a cougar (not to be confused with a mountain lion), a jaguar, or a leopard. A quick google image search turns up this same photo named "puma", which implies that it's a black cougar, but up close all three look very similar. – KutuluMike Jun 11 '14 at 17:10
More importantly, is there a reason why you (Stilgar) believe this to be the case? – phantom42 Jun 11 '14 at 17:25
Shadowcats are described having striped fur as well as it being black. So it doesn't really match all that well. – System Down Jun 11 '14 at 19:03

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