The Elfcat takes its name from its pointed ears that many humans have compared to an elf's due to their pointed quality. Though rather small in comparison to its cousins, such as the shingar, pard, and uncil, the cat is nonetheless very clever, which helps it to capture its prey which is mainly rabbits and birds in mid-Santharia, where it thrives, though it can also be found in both the southern and the northern areas of Santharia. Although the Elfcat often has different names depending on the region in which it is found (e.g. the "Desert Elfcat", the "Mountain Elfcat", etc.), all of these are essentially the same cat with small, almost unnoticeable differences in appearance and/or diet. In any region, this cat gets around rather inconspicuously, with its beautifully patterned coat to camouflage it.
The Aurorian Elfcat (also referred to as the Common Elfcat) has rather long
legs, raising it to a height of about 3 to 5
palmspans at the shoulders.
It also has a length of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2
fores, including its bobbed
tail. The measures vary greatly depending on region and gender, with females
averaging smaller measurements than their male counterparts. Typically those
living in desert and mountain regions are a little smaller as opposed to those
living in forests and plains.
The head of the Elfcat is most similar to that of a domestic cat, being rounded and coming out into a short, elegant muzzle upon which sits a brownish-pink nose. The eyes of the Elfcat are yellow or gold, and are decorated by dark outlines on the face, accompanying other bold black markings on either side of the nose and on the cheeks, standing out against the off-white of the cheeks and chin. The ears of this cat are long and pointed, which is why the cat is called the “Elfcat,” and are tipped with short hairs.
The body of the Elfcat is strong and limber, and is decorated in attractive spots and blotches in black painted on a background of short tan, brown, and brownish red fur. The Ráhaz Elfcat, or "Desert Elfcat", tends to come in lighter colours, while those of the north (sometimes called "Nyer Elfcats", short for "Nyermersys Elfcats", despite the fact these cats don’t actually live in the city but in the area surrounding it) comes in slightly darker colours. The under parts of the cat, such as the stomach and the insides of the legs, tend to be lighter in colour than the rest of the fur, sometimes a tawny or off-white.
The Common Elfcats’ teeth are not particularly long, but are sharp enough to tear skin and fur. The Elfcat has large, quiet feet with sharp claws that enable the cat to catch its prey.
The Elfcat has few special abilities save for its cleverness and stealth. They
are extremely sneaky, even able to outsmart farmers in order to get their
taenishes. Unlike its cousins, the Elfcat doesn’t have
extremely good balance, due to its bobbed tail; however, they have excellent
senses. Their eyes can see even through the darkest of nights, and their long
ears pick up even the slightest shuffle of a mouse.
Forest Elfcats, along with a few other varieties, are known for being good climbers, scaling trees to hunt from above. They are also able to swim.
Territory. The Elfcat, as previously mentioned, is found in all over Santharia, but is found most commonly in mid-Santharia. The Elfcats living here are most common, and thus are referred to as “Common Elfcats”. The Common Elfcat resides mainly in the Aurora Plains where it enjoys the cover of many tall grasses, such as wean grass and alth’ho. The plains provide places to protect them as they sleep, and hide them as they stalk for prey. The warm environment nurtures growth of all kinds, including animals that the Elfcat finds delectable. The Aurorian Elfcat is well-suited to its fertile environment. The Common Elfcat typically makes its dens in hollow trees or in caves they might find. They stick mainly to woody groves, but do creep around the lush plains with the tall grasses to hide them. Sometimes they will make their homes among large rocky outcroppings.
Elfcats are, however, found throughout Santharia, from the deserts in the south to the mountains regions in the far north of the kingdom. Those in the Ráhaz’Dáth Desert typically live near towns or in small oases. Many live in and around the Aj’nuvic Grounds or in the surrounding mountains. Elfcats are found in the more shallow parts of forests throughout Santharia, and on the foothills of every mountain range.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Elfcat hunts mainly at night when they cannot be seen. They stalk through the grasses, trees, or dunes, listening for sound of prey. Elfcats are very reserved and independent, preferring to live and hunt alone, though sometimes two or more Elfcats will group together to bring down a particularly large animal. They can sometimes be seen in couples during the mating season, or a mother may be seen among her cubs, but save for such exceptions, they are rarely seen with a companion.
Some Elfcats will move around throughout their region, some times in search of mates or food, but for the most part, Elfcats tend to chose a territory and reside there. Their territory can be 50 peds in diameter or 50 dashes. It varies depending on region and number of Elfcats in the area. The borders of the territories frequently change.
Elfcats do not hibernate in the winter, even those living in the northernmost parts of Santharia. Many times they don’t need to: they are clever enough to find prey just about anywhere through their sense of hearing. They do, however, tend to become more sluggish in the winter, sleeping far more than in other times of year. Even in this time of year, though, they can be sneaky, sometimes finding their way into farmers’ taenish coops.
Diet. The Elfcat eats many of the animals inhabiting its habitat, and it’s not very picky on what animals it will and won’t eat. Common Elfcats feed chiefly on rabbits and birds, especially the tarep, but also small finches and aelirels. The particularly like mice, rats, and kuatus (both ground and tree-dwelling). Field mice tend to be a nice snack if they can get to them before the barn cat does. The Elfcat will also eat small lizards and the green grass snake of its habitat.
Of course, diet depends heavily on region. Those of the desert will often go for aka’lol and other small rodents, while those of the mountains will dine on the surica.
Farmer’s, for the most, part, greatly dislike this pointy-eared feline, as it has a tooth for many livestock. They love taenishes, which they will hunt and sneak to get. They will sometimes tackle sheep, too, and even pigs, if they’re small enough. Farmers have often tried to trap these creatures, but they have, in the past, proven very difficult. The Elfcat usually only goes after such animals when they can’t find any other prey. They compete with foxes and other predators for meals.
The Elfcat will not eat another cat, though, not even domestic ones, be it a barn cat or a bredolian. They seem to see these cats as one of their own, and will not harm them.
Mating. The mating season starts in late winter or early spring, just as the chill of winter is weary off and new life is beginning to spring. The female Elfcat produces a gentle musk that attracts the males. He may, in response, make marks of urine that also attract the female. In this way, many Elfcats are able to meet with many others. Elfcats, during this time of year, can be very aggressive about their territory: far more particular about its boundaries than any other time of year.
When a female and male find each other, there is typically a bit of courtship. The female will look over the male and see if she approves of him as he is making affectionate movements toward her. If she approves of him, then they will mate, and she may either stay and care for her cubs in the territory or else leave and seek out a new mate. Females may mate several times during the period in which they are in heat, which usually lasts two to three days. If she disapproves of the mate, she will leave him be. Rarely has a male forced himself upon an unresponsive female.
After about 65 days, the female will give birth to a litter of cubs. Litters tend to range from 2 to 3. The young Elfcats have fat bodies with small, slender legs that will grow out as they grow. Their eyes are shut and they are often unable to walk. After a week, though, their eyes are open and they can scamper around their mother’s den. They are often coloured the same as their parents, which helps them blend into their surroundings. By the end of summer, they are ready to go out on their own, and will mate within the next year. These felines tend to live about 10 to 12 years.
Usages. The Elfcat’s coat has led many to trying to trap and kill the Elfcat for its fur. Though many Elfcats die each year by these trappers, the population has not declined too drastically. The pelt of the Elfcat is very soft and beautiful, and thus is used to trim coats and to make boots and gloves. Some use the pelts as pats or coverings, sometimes as wall hangings.
The Elfcat is not considered by most to be a good pet. The wild instinct of the cat has made them difficult to tame. Sometimes small Elfcats have been taken up and raised, but in such stories there always lies a case where the wild nature of the cat broke free and caused some destruction. While the cat isn’t likely to cause death, it can cause some pretty severe wounds.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus