Biology · Races

Bakeneko

Overview

Bakeneko are a magical beast subspecies of domestic cats. Specifically, bakeneko are able to take a human like shape, or maintain a cat form, but they are able to speak humanoid language and wear clothing. Because of their shape-shifting abilities, bakeneko belong to a class of magical beasts called henge.

Quick Species Profile
(Felis catus obake) “changing domestic cat”
Life Expectancy
Average: 300 years
Max: 900 years
Average Height: felid- 23–25 cm (9–10 in); humanoid-158 cm (5 ft 2 in)
Average Weight: felid- 4 and 5 kg (9 and 10 lb);  humanoid-59 kg (130 lbs)
Creature Type: Henge Magical beast (shapeshifter: humanoid)

Biology

Appearance

A bakeneko has two forms—that of a typical cat and a humanoid.

1. Their cat form has the same dimensions and appearance of natural cats.

2. A bakeneko’s humanoid form will resemble a typical human, homin, elf or amazoness. Occasionally it will retain a cat attribute which causes him or her to be discovered, usually a tail. However, humanoid bakeneko do not typically sport cat ears, cat eyes, unusual coloration, or any other unmistakable markers unless they intentionally do so.

Physiological Traits

Prehensile Tail

Claw Retraction: Bakeneko can project and retract razor-sharp claws from their fingertips for offensive purposes or dig into surfaces to climb them.

Enhanced Balance: As they are cats, bakenekos possess an incredible sense of balance, allowing them to walk or even sprint along a half-inch rope like it was a wide stone bridge. Moreover, bakenekos are known to reflexively twist their body during a fall to right itself and land on its feet, provided it has enough time to do so. Even when humanoid, bakeneko are not only capable of walking and running on all fours just as efficiently as they can on two legs, but they are also remarkably fast and nimble when doing so, able to leap great distances in a single bound, climb up trees in the blink of an eye and tumble safely.

Enhanced Hearing: The hearing of a neko is very acute and among the best of any humanoids species. While it is similar to humans on the lower end of the scale, they can hear frequencies up to 64.000 Hz.

Low Light Vision: Nekos have excellent night vision as well and can see at only one-sixth the level of light required for human vision.

Nine Lives: A Bakeneko can resurrect themselves from death a total of 8 times.

Biomagical Attributes

Shapeshifting: This ability is gained once they pass fifty years of age. Bakeneko have two forms:
1.  A typical cat, that can walk on two legs or dress in clothing.

2. A bakeneko can assume the appearance of a specific single human of the same sex. The bakeneko always takes this specific form when using this ability however the form can be modified to appear as another humanoid like Homins, Elves, or Amazoness (if female).

Poison Immunity: Bakeneko are not affected by any poison contained in what they consume, even ones that can kill cats.

Faux Fire Manipulation: Bakeneko can accumulate a lot of PK to generate their own lifeforce as illusionary fire that consumes no air, burns no fuel and creates no smoke. While mainly used for mesmerizing viewers it can also burn those that believe it to be real as their mental power gives the flames the power to do so.

Mind Control: Bakeneko are adept in using their faux fire to put those who watch it in hypnoic trances. This is a form of remote possession, and a bakeneko can cause them to see anything the bakeneko wishes, or overlook things the cat wants them to. Once control has been established, the victim is held until someone can break the psychic connection of their fire.

Regeneration: External wounds, including fractured bones and deep burns, heal at a much more accelerated rate, disregarding severity and lost limbs are regenerated quickly or can be reattached. Minor damaged internal organs may heal, but take more time to heal and nerves may remain damaged.Tumorous cells may actually be multiplied via regeneration as they are considered living cells.

General Diet

Bakenekos are carnivores with their diet consisting primarily of meat, particularly poultry, seafood and rodents. They can consume fruits and vegetables, but they do so generally only in small amounts to supplement their diet, as their digestive system isn’t adapted to process large amounts of plant material. Onions and garlics, are particularly hated as they are very noxious to their health. They also have an aversion to theobromine, commonly found in chocolate products. Despite this, bakenekos are generally very fond of plants that contain high amounts of nepetalactone such as catnip, and some tribes even cultivate such plants for use in certain rituals.

Reproduction

Bakeneko that reproduce with their own kind (either bakeneko or natural cats) make kittens who gain wisdom faster and at a higher level than natural cats.

Bakeneko who reproduce with humanoids in this way will have hanyou offspring that typically appear as their humanoid parent but will have select bakeneko abilities.

Lifespan and Growth

Bakeneko kittens are well known for being very playful and lively, rarely standing still without playing some sort of game with their friends or their parents. After 50 years, a cat born of a bakeneko or a natural cat in a mana dense area can develop supernatural powers and become a bakeneko. Before then many become the familiar of a spellcaster for protection and to pick up knowledge of spells.

History

Bakeneko were one of the many animals that collected the scrolls of elevation orginally stolen from the Shenlong by the Hujing. After attaining sapience, the bakeneko served in the ranks of the growing Yokai empire. After the fall of the Empire and its splitting khanates, most bakeneko retreated to Wakoku and the surrounding territories.

As natural cats, they became the pets of a few other species who brought them to urban and rural areas. Feral ones are often found in lightly wooded areas, prairies, and deserts.

Culture

Habitat:

Cities, Suburbs, Prairie, Desert

Provisioning:

Foraging

Architecture

They create housing out of the grasses that grow in the fields, making their huts easy to assemble and disassemble quickly. It also gives them some protection, as the structures blend in with the grass.

Spirituality

Bakeneko are devout followers of the Youkai faith, the ethnic religion of their culture.  It is defined as action-centered, focused on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to show respect to the various spirits for good fortune. Youkai has no founder, no official sacred scriptures, and no fixed creeds, but it has preserved its main beliefs and rituals throughout the ages.

Because ritual rather than belief is at the heart of Youkai, the bakeneko themselves don’t usually think of Youkai specifically as a religion – it’s simply an aspect of Yokai life. This has enabled Youkai to coexist happily with certain beliefs for centuries as Bakeneko also have beliefs and philosophies along side Youkai, many are Toaists, Buddhists, Deists.

Gender/Family

Bakenekos living in settlements are used to using technology for solving their problems and tend to adopt the style of clothes, livelihood, and cuisine as humans, though their diet remain primarily meat-based.

Wild bakenekos form tribes around a source of food, with one usually being dominant over the others but how they are organized, however, differ immensely from tribe to tribe. They tend to prefer hunting in very small groups to stay as stealthy as possible. Wild bakenekos tend to look down on their civilized cousins, seeing them as much weaker from years of “taming” by other species. 

Socialization

Bakenekos are highly sociable and are able to live in a wide range of environments. They are known to use several vocalizations in addition to language to indicate how they feel, such as purring, growling and snarling or hissing. Bakenekos also often subconsciously indicate their mood through body language, particularly using the position of their tail and ears. For example, a raised tail while greeting denotes friendliness, flattened ears indicates hostility, and raised fur on the tail means anger or stress.

Bakenekos often fight against one another for a variety of reasons. Feral males to win the heart of a female -although sometimes the opposite is also true- contending for dominance over a territory, as a training, or just for simple competition. Young bakenekos are encouraged to fight with their friends and siblings in order to build strength, acquire the skills needed for real combat and hunting, and reduce any fear associated with launching an attack on another creature. Bakeneko fighting is very similar to wrestling, as it involves a lot of grappling, throws and pins and the occasional claw swipes once the opponent is on the ground. Serious damage during such fights is rare, as they last only for a short duration with the loser surrendering with little more than a few scratches to the face. Intense rivalries, on the other hand, tend to last longer and often result in much more severe wounds to both participants.

Magic Use

Bakeneko primarily use their sorcery, modifying their humanoid forms and practicing with their faux flames psychic properties. They also have a knack for spells that can induce luck or curses. As they can innate bring themselves back from the dead, they have an affinity with necromagy in general, but often seen as taboo among other species. Even bakeneko themselves believe that focusing only on necromagy can turn them into demonic cats known as nekomata, which is often used as stories parents tell children to behave.

Author’s Notes

Bakeneko are another of the yokai based henge series of creatures. A lot of cat research went into the species as you can imagine.

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