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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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2 Answers 2

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 at 14:20
    
I'll accept once the grace period is up :). –  Leo King Jun 11 at 14:20
    
It's very annoying. Do even mods have to wait 10 minutes to accept an answer? :P –  Leo King Jun 11 at 14:21
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@LeoKing: It’s to prevent the “Fastest Gun in the west” issue; that is, so as not to discourage longer, more thought-out answers. See discourage questions being marked as answered within an hour or so of being posted for more details if you’re interested. –  alexwlchan Jun 11 at 17:01
    
@LeoKing: And I have no experience, but I imagine this applies to mods as well. –  alexwlchan Jun 11 at 17:01

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 at 15:50
    
@LeoKing Actually, the site it’s from claims it to be a panther: imagedirekt.com/en/royaltyfree-images-photos/1224861.html –  alexwlchan Jun 11 at 17:02
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@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. –  Michael Edenfield Jun 11 at 17:10
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More importantly, is there a reason why you (Stilgar) believe this to be the case? –  phantom42 Jun 11 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 at 19:03

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