The Greycat or Melád Feníl (Styrásh Melád Feníl, meaning "Grey Cat", singular and plural are indentical), is actually not even related to felines. It is also known as the "Grey Rabbit" to humans. It is in fact more closely related to the squirrels, the kuatu, of Southern Santharia. It is a rodent that loves to live amongst the sparse trees and underground. The reason for their name is their long tails and elongated ears, but they are rather stout and resemble rabbits more closely than they do cats. The Greycat is closely related to the norjordi, a rabbit-like beast, in the Aj'nuvic Grounds, that have the special ability to climb the great cacti growing in this area.
Greycat are small, grey furred creatures with a height of about 5 palmspans from
the shoulder and about 4 heb in weight. Its length can be up to 1 ped, though
its extremely long tail can take up to 45% of its total length. The purpose of
the tail is that it allows the Greycat to be able to climb the sparse trees
within Northern Sarvonia. Along
with this tail to climb, they also have retractable claws, which can be used as
a defense method and to climb trees.
The Greycat has a very short, stout body with many layers of fat to keep it warm, and it has very long fur, that often hangs over its paws. Greycat have two blunt teeth in the front of their mouths and the rest of their teeth are much smaller and are used specifically to grind leaves and grass, and nuts. The Greycat has long whiskers protruding from the side of its face and a tiny pink nose.
Coloration does not vary at all. Every Greycat is grey, regardless of age or sex. The only way to tell the difference between a male and female is to look at the eyes. Eye color is one thing that does vary. Younger females tend to have grey eyes, while the older females have black eyes, young male Greycats have light blue eyes but the older males have dark navy blue eyes. The older a Greycat the thinner it becomes and thus the more succeptible to being killed it becomes as well.
Greycats also have pouches within their cheeks with which they can use to store food, they can store up to seven nuts in each cheek or more depending on the size. The Greycat has strong, well-muscled back legs that they can use to jump short distances, and they can be used to stand on their hind legs.
The funny thing about Greycats that make them so irresistable to watch is their waddle. Their tails are so long that it makes their four-legged walk unbalanced and in order to keep their balance they must do a sort of waddle, by twitching their abdomens left to right.
Greycat do not have any particularly special abilities. They can dig extremely
fast, it has been noted that a Greycat has carved a deep hole in the snow within
seconds after being startled by a snobyrr flying above
ground. A drunken dwarf once said that the
Greycat are magical
squirrels that can hop from one point to another, but this has not been
proven nor is it true. The Greycat are not very fast on their feet, but they are
fast diggers and that is the basic key to their survival.
Territory. These furred creatures are found only in Northern Sarvonia, although they have a relative in the Shendar territories, but they greatly differ in appearance. They live in the Celeste Lowlands and a few can be seen alongside various river banks. Some have often been seen living in hollowed tree trunks in the forests of Northern Sarvonia. The density of their coats is dependent upon their home. It has been noted that those living in the Wounds of Sylvan (forest on the Kanapan peninsula) have retained more of their graceful ways as the climate does not demand as much fat storage or fur, while those found along the Iceland coast are more at home in the ground as the weather requirements have made them slower and larger than their Southern brothers.
Habitat/Behaviour. Greycats that have gone away from their underground lairs tend to stay close to both trees and large open fields of grass. This may seem wrong for them to stay in open field because they become more easily targeted, but they do so because they will have access to such soft ground to dig on. Greycats also stay in close knit underground communities of 10-15 other Greycats. These communities are chains of families that work together for their survival. One family might be out getting food, another may be scouting the area for a new home, while another stays in the "lair" and cares for the young.
Greycats can also be found resting high above the tundra in trees and watching their lairs from this high viewpoint. Their tails and claws allow them to be able to scale the tree's bark and keep it's curious balance.
These Greycats live up to 16 years, but some have been noted to live up to 20.
Diet. The mainstay of the Greycat diet is a variety of fruits and berries, most of which have been brought into the North from other areas either by trade or for cultivation purposes. The guiro fruit is one of the favored fruits of the Greycat, although it is much smaller than it's Kanapan ancestor and has a sour taste. They also eat other plants called lýth’béls, which tend to become a bluish purple color and the cold here has also given these plants a pleasantly sour taste to them. A favored food is also the doridel, which many snoburr use to line their nest durring their eggs' incubation, but the Greycats use it both as food and as a sort of door mat for their homes. Another type of food is the redberry, Greycat males often feed the biggest redberries to the female that they want to mate with during mating season.
Mating. Greycats begin mating around the ages of 6-10 months of age. Males are able to mate at anytime once they reach maturity but females can only mate when they go into "heat". This period of time is often occuring several times a year (5-9), and it lasts for a week or two. They emit a strong scent from their sweat glands that often spreads through the lairs rapidly and literally burns the noses of any males within a 9 ped distance. The males rush to the scent as soon as they smell it, and they begin to wrestle in the female's den. The first male to keep his opponent on the ground for longer than five to ten seconds will win the female.
The Greycat have no distinctive mating ritual. The Greycat gestation period is around 4 months, and Greycat females can often be expected to birth anywhere from 2-8 young. The males do not stay with the females after the children are born. He will stay with her during gestation to provide food and comfort, but after that he will vanish until the next mating season. Once a female reaches her elder years, usually around the ages of 13-15, she is no longer able to reproduce.
Usages. Greycats have a variety of uses, their fur can be used to make clothing or other various items to keep warm in the north. They provide a stable balance in the food chain, for the prominent predators of the Icelands. Their tails have been used as earrings by the Losh' Oc orcs in the area, and their bones can be used to make daggers or other utensils.
Myth/Lore. It is believed that the Greycat originated in Southern Sarvonia, and is said to have been brought up North in 733 b.S. by a mage and his wife (an animal fancier) trying to escape the Siege of Ximax. They traveled so far up North, in fear of being killed, that they found that there was no settlements anywhere around them as far as their eyes could see. They had made it to the Tandala Mountains, which is one place they knew that they couldn't avoid on their journey up North. The couple later died, but before falling into Queprur's grasp they released the wife's collection of thirty-two Greycat into the wild. The once slim, short-furred cat-like creatures then adapted into what they are today and they traveled farther up north than the Tandala Mountains.
Note: Greycat were called "Watercats" at the time because they had a strange fixation with water, but this all died out after entering the North for some strange reason, although some Greycat can be seen swimming in the waters. But this is often not for fun or sport, but for survival.
Researchers. There have been a number of casual researchers to date, mostly young elves who have become fascinated by the Melád's adorable waddle and decided to add more to our store of knowledge about it.
Information provided by Lady Tiaa