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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    Maybe Martin is a Kitty Pryde fan? Shadowcat being the only super-hero name she used for an extended period of time. – RDFozz Jan 18 '18 at 18:36

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

So Spake Martin:

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

-Somewhere in between.

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    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

  • 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 – Lou Jun 11 '14 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 '14 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. – KutuluMike Jun 11 '14 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 '14 at 17:25
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    @rodrigo that's true, but I don't think the term "panther" as a common name is used for lions and tigers; alternatively, "panther" is a common name for the cougar, which is not in Panthera but Puma. – KutuluMike Jun 12 '14 at 1:42

Perhaps a type of large Lynx? The fur outstresching from the sides of the face, cheeks, and ears, are common amongst lynx broods.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you provide a source for this distinctive look? What you describe is similar to a lynx; can you quote this description from one of the books or something JRRM has written? – DavidW Dec 23 '19 at 5:28

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