Felids in GURPS

The felids, or cats, are perhaps the most highly developed killing machines to have evolved on this planet. Lithe and agile, immensely powerful, equipped with a variety of slashing weaponry, and posessing keen senses, these predators have spread across the globe, inhabiting nearly every habitat of every landmass except for the barren wastes of Antarctica.

The cats are good sprinters, capable of explosive bursts of speed. They lack the endurance to keep up a chase for long, however. Their powerful muscles and long limbs enable them to make prodigeous leaps. This jumping ability, plus their natural agility, ballance, and sharp claws enables them to climb well, and many species will pursue their prey into branches. All cats can swim, but most species prefer to avoid getting wet (although there are exceptions).

The sensory suite of cats is considerably different from our own. While their eyesight is good, their sense of color and detail is muted. In place of this comes a sensitivity to motion and incredible dark vision. Cat hearing is extremely actute, their radar-dish ears are capable not only of detecting but also of pinpointing faint sounds well enough for an attack. The cat's sense of touch is quite well developed, and is based largely on the long vibrissae (whiskers) that adorn its lips, chin, and eyebrows. With these whiskers, a cat can get a good idea of its general surroundings even in complete darkness, and can feel its prey well enough to deliver accurate and fatal bites to vital spots. In contrast to many other mammalian carnivores, the cat's sense of smell, while well developed, is used more for inter-cat communication than locating food. It serves them as their primary means of identification of objects already located by other senses, however.

A cat's first line of attack and defense lies in its paws. Each finger and toe is equipped with a long, sharp claw to form a set of raking weapons and meat hooks for impaling and holding prey. The use of its claws allows the cat to keep its sensitive and vital head away from dangerous foes, gnashing rodent incisors, and flying ungulate hooves. When it has subdued its prey with its claws, it brings its teeth to bear. The canine teeth are highly enlarged to form long, conical fangs. The final bite is typically to a targeted vital spot, either the throat, the neck vertebrae, or the base of the skull. Driving the fangs through the cervical vertebrae or the brainstem produces instant death or paralysis; bites to the throat constrict the windpipe and the cat will hold tight until its prey suffocates. Once its quarry is dispatched, the cat employes specialized blade-like molars near the back of its jaws to slice off the meat for consumption. Anything that escapes with a cat bite is likely to develop an infection. Like all animals, cats have a lot of bacteria in their saliva. The deep puncture wounds caused by cat fangs also provide a perfect place for bacteria to incubate, making sepsis all the more likely. Roll for infection from any bite as if infected material (cat spit) was introduced into the wound, giving a net HT+1 to resist.

A threatened cat first tries to flee, running for the nearest shelter or up a tree where (hopefuly) its attacker cannot follow. If flight fails or is impossible, the cat will attempt bluff and intimidation. Raising all of its hair and arching its back to increase its apparent size, the cat hisses and spits, barings its weapons and slashing with its claws. If possible, the cat will keep its antagonist at arm's reach with its claws, but if grappled the cat will bite.

The digestive system of the cat is highly specialized to handle meat and meat alone. It needs to hunt and kill to survive. Its primary tactic is to sneak as close as possible to its prey, then burst out and take its quarry with a short dash before the cat can tire. When fresh meat is not available, cats will scavenge from carcases that are not too far gone, and the larger cats will make a habit of intimidating other carnivores away from their kills.

Cats are generally fairly solitary. They are not unsocial, since each cat knows of all its neighbors and they can form strong bonds with each other, but generally they keep in touch by scent markings and except for mothers with kittens will prowl alone. Cats are mostly active at dusk, dawn, and nighttime. They are, however, rather lazy animals and avoid activity when it is not necessary, lounging about in a comfortable spot until hunger or territory defense calls them away from their naps.

Game Statistics

choose a species:
Species Male Female (optional)
enter weight (kg)
Tropical? Captive? T?HR?
House Cat

Wild Cat


Canadian Lynx

Eurasian Lynx






Miracinonyx (extinct)

Dinofelis (extinct)

Metailurus (extinct)

Adelphailurus (extinct)

Nimravides hibbardi (extinct)

Nimravides galiani (extinct)

Nimravides thinobates (extinct)

Nimravides catacopsis (extinct)


Snow Leopard




Clouded Leopard

Saber Tooth Cats (all extinct)
Smilodon populator

Smilodon fatalis

Smilodon gracilis






Ancestral Cats (all extinct)

Pseudaelurus turnauensis

Pseudaelurus lorteti

Pseudaelurus quadridentatus

Barbourofelids (almost-cats, all extinct)
Barbourofelis fricki

Barbourofelis loveorum

Barbourofelis morrisi

Barbourofelis osborni

Barbourofelis whitfordi




Nimravidae (near-cats, false cats, proto-cats; all extinct)

Eofelis edwardsii

Eofelis giganteus







The radio button entries in the table above give typical sizes of the cat species of the selected sex. If you want a larger or smaller specimen, enter the weight in kg manually.

The Tropical checkbox indicates the animal in question is from a tropical climate. Some cats never live in the tropics, so this box is not present for those species. Others can live in tropical or temperate climes. Checking this box will change the cat's temperature tolerance advantage. The box is checked by default for cats wich are normally though of as tropical species (but these can also live in temperate areas, such as the Amur leopards and Siberian tigers).

The Captive checkbox is for animals that have been kept in captivity all their lives, without the ability to hone their reflexes, muscles, and skills like thier wild relatives. It would be appropriate for an indoor house cat or a zoo tiger. Indoor/outdoor pet cats, barn cats, and wild cats are not considered 'captive' for this purpose.

Marking the T? checkbox will give you the stats in template form with all costs listed, otherwise you get a stat sheet as for a character.

Marking the HR? checkbox will print the information using all my house rules. Otherwise, the stats will be as compatable with plain vanilla GURPS as possible (although several custom advantages and disadvantages will be present, see my Traits page).

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