After some pondering, some questioning, and a healthy dose of doubt... I'm back to feeling uncertain about my potential feline (?) theriotype. So, I figure it's about time I put some proper thought into this. First things first, I just want to make a list of all the feelings and experiences that have led me to question this in the first place, and also try and pin down some of the notable traits this theriotype seems to have. Whatever it is.
+ A near-constant state of mild-moderate mental shift that can fluctuate slightly in intensity. This is something I tend to express subconsciously even more than my wolf theriotype - I often find myself hissing, grumbling and "purring" without really meaning to (though only when I'm alone, aha) - but it takes a lot of focus to separate these instincts from the rest of my mind. It's very integrated. This has been present for the past six years or so.
+ Intense momentary mental shifts involving seemingly feline instincts. One instance of this I remember particularly clearly: feeling a very strong urge to rub my scent on things to "claim" them as my own. It... honestly took quite a bit of effort to not start rolling around on the floor to "mark" it with my scent, aha. (That... would be a very strange thing to do even without having other people around).
+ A kind of momentary bi-location shift where I feel for a very brief time that I am in a different location, in the body of this theriotype, usually in the middle of some natural behaviour for this animal (i.e. I've experienced being in the moment of pouncing on a prey animal, and another time felt myself hissing and snarling at some animal that had invaded my territory). Sadly, these "visions" aren't clear enough for me to get specific details, otherwise I might be able to get a species just from that. I only started experiencing these with this mystery-type over the past two years or so.
+ Phantom shifts, which have been happening for almost as long as the mental shift has. Most common is a long, slender, mobile tail which lashes around when I'm agitated. I also quite frequently feel phantom front limbs - thick, muscular front legs with round paws and small, sharp claws. I can't tell if the claws are retractable or not. Occasionally I feel a full-body shift, which is a lot more weighty and has shorter legs than my wolf theriotype, with a completely different movement style. Once or twice I think I might have felt phantom ears different from my otherwise permanent wolf ones, but it's hard to be sure.
+ Impressions of certain behaviours and instincts that don't match up with my two known kintypes - especially certain hunting instincts (to sneak up on "prey", pounce and bite the back of the neck, which is nothing like how wolves hunt) and combative behaviours (i.e. wanting to bat at things with my "paws", wanting to snarl and hiss in a very un-wolf-like manner).
+ Occasional dream shifts, but I haven't got anything clear from those... besides the time I dreamed I was a cougar, fleeing a... forest fire, I think? With some cubs? But it was a one-off, and I don't think it had any particular meaning.
(That is: with all these very therian-like experiences, why am I still wondering if this is a theriotype at all?)
+ I feel no connection to or affinity for felines. There's little or none of that... recognition I'd expect if this was really a theriotype. I don't feel like "this is me" when reading about or looking at cats.
+ I don't feel like I really identify as a feline, even though I experience the feeling of being one. It feels like... being a cat that doesn't identify as a cat. But then, I'm not a cat... I'm a human who is kinda a wolf, kinda a spirit - where could this catlike part of me even fit into the picture? Why do I experience being a cat if I am not a cat?
+ It couldn't be due to a heart-type because I feel no connection with felines at all. I don't identify with them in the slightest. I've never had an interest in any kind of cat, and didn't grow up around cats or cat-themed media which I could've got this from. Like wolves, I always found cats to be kinda boring and never paid any attention to them when I was younger. These days, my feelings are mostly the same. Big cats are pretty and cool, but my interest has always been in more obscure species.
+ What I'm feeling also doesn't really match with any non-feline animals I'm aware of. Bears use their paws to attack and interact with things, and they're certainly muscular enough, but they don't have long tails and lack a lot of the behaviours/instincts I have. Mustelids have a lot of behaviour and morphological traits similar to felines, but aren't bulky or muscular enough to match how my phantom body feels (except wolverines, but they - like bears - lack the tail).
+ None of the few felines I've considered seem to fit exactly. Amur leopards are certainly the closest I've got, but something about them doesn't feel right. Cougars feel a little more like something I could be, but don't match up so well with the body type I feel - they're more slender, less bulky than I feel myself to be. Lynx have the right fur type and I feel more of a connection to them, but they're much too leggy and lack a tail.
+ I only really became aware of any of this over the past couple of years, and since I started paying attention to it the experiences have become more frequent and pronounced. Technically I would think my bias would be against having a third kintype, but... things don't always work out the way you imagine, so. It's... possible there's some confirmation bias at play here. One way or the other.
(Okay, so... what are some potential solutions here?)
Idea 1: I am an Amur leopard. The reason I don't feel a connection to leopards is because they're solitary, and because the other theriotype I have is a highly social animal - so the difference in connection types would feel especially profound in comparison.
Idea 2: I'm having a very prolonged cameo of being an Amur leopard, for some reason. Or no reason at all. Cameos are weird.
Idea 3: I'm an extinct feline of some sort. Probably a relatively recent one, considering a lot of what I feel matches contemporary felines in one way or another.
Idea 4: This is all some past life shenanigans from a life I lived recently, and retained behaviours from, but don't feel any emotional connection to.
Idea 5: I am some kind of feline that I haven't considered yet. Possibly a lesser-known panther, or a larger "small cat" species that I haven't researched yet.
Idea 6: I'm a mammal that possesses a lot of traits similar to felines, but isn't one. Possibly a species which convergently evolved with felines - maybe a type of mustelid I don't know about. Possibly an extinct non-feline mammal that filled a similar niche to felines today?
Idea 7: I don't have another theriotype at all, and the things I experience are just part of my spirit kintype being weird and animalistic. (Unlikely, but... possible?)
Idea 8: This is all some neurology thing. For some completely non-spiritual reason unrelated to my identity, I just have catlike behaviours. And some of the other things I experience are just... my subconscious, filling in the gaps? But not filling them enough for me to actually identify as a cat.
Idea 9: I'm a non-mammalian quadrupedal reptile of some kind, maybe Triassic/pre-Triassic? They're saying gorgonopsids and cynodonts possibly had fur, so... maybe?
Idea 10: I'm a cladotherian of some kind, hence the ambiguity of everything. Not likely, but. I mean. It's on the table, I guess.
Idea 11: This is actually all thanks to a heart-type. Somehow. Despite my lack of affinity for felines. Uh. Maybe. Probably not, but. I should keep the idea in mind, at least.
Idea 12: I actually have two or more (!!) extra theriotypes, and they're mushing together into something that makes no sense to me. Yeah, no. Probably not. But, uh. It's possible.
+ Muscular, panther-esque body type with a broad, powerful skull
+ Long, mobile tail that is used to express emotion/mood
+ Thick, dense, insulating fur, like is seen on felines in seasonally cold habitats
+ Hunts small to mid-sized prey using ambush tactics and a fatal bite to the back of the neck
+ Solitary, territorial; marks territory borders with scent (probably rubs on things)
+ Growls, hisses, snarls, grumbles, purrs; arches back when threatened
+ In conflict, primarily will attack with front paws rather than biting
+ Habitat: probably somewhere temperate, with significant seasonal change? Deciduous or mixed forest?
+ Either from Asia or the Americas, I think? Though I'm not sure.
+ A top predator? Not much competition?
+ An agile climber? Not sure whether arboreal or inhabits somewhere rocky
+ Size-wise... larger than a wildcat, no bigger than a jaguar, but not really sure between that range
- Definitely not domestic
- Doesn't live somewhere tropical, or in savanna or desert
- Not especially sociable, I don't think
- Can't roar? Or if it can, it doesn't roar very often
- Almost certainly something mundane, from Earth