A rare encounter upon the planes, catfolk are most likely to be found in the chaosside wilds. Though rarely traveling beyond these natural environments, a rare few have decided to take up the adventuring mantle and travel the Multiverse in its entirety.
Catfolk are a recent arrival to the planes, having largely arrived from a small handful of Prime worlds that have only recently discovered planar contact. No records of the race upon the planes can be found older than a handful of decades but for a few references that are more likely lycanthropes or similar, likely a result of their relative rarity throughout the mortal realms. Since their first arrivals, a few clans have branched out or even moved wholly onto the planes, largely keeping to the more naturalistic chaosside realms: Arborea, the Beastlands, and Ysgard in particular, as well as that same general region of the Outlands.
As most catfolk clans on the planes descend from a mere two or three Prime nations (let alone worlds), there is a far greater similarity of culture and shared traditions amongst them than for most races on the planes. As such, while these generalizations of course do not hold universally, they tend to apply somewhat more regularly than to other races with a longer planar history and a wider breadth of culture.
Catfolk societies tend most often to be itinerant and nomadic, moving from place to place as they exhaust the resources about themselves. Almost wholly carnivorous, they have little need or use for agriculture or farming, and though some Prime clans keep livestock, upon the planes they find it easiest to simply live off the land itself as rich as it is. A catfolk community most often establishes itself in an especially lush region, setting up shelter in one place, hunting until populations fall enough to make it a struggle, and moving on to another location. Unlike many nomadic cultures, catfolk can stay in a single place for months at a time, but soon enough the local wildlife grows scarce either through overhunting or through greater awareness of their danger.
They tend not to hold no great reverence for nature itself as an entity, seeing it as merely the means by which they sustain themselves. Though druids are certainly common amongst them, even they see nature as merely a means to an end; they would certainly die without a source of prey, and so nature is to be maintained in that regard. But prey is merely prey, and deserves no greater thought or concern beyond how it allows catfolk to continue. Such an attitude occasionally brings them into conflict with other communities in their chosen planes, but catfolk are far more likely to merely move at signs of aggression than stand their ground; to them, the planes are large enough that there is plenty of room for all.
Amongst catfolk, curiosity and self-expression are two of the most treasured characteristics. Catfolk are encouraged to find answers wherever they can, and to weave their learning and experience into their day-to-day life through creative outlets of all varieties, thus spreading their discoveries and strengthening the community as a whole. That which suppresses self-expression by any means is frowned upon, so long as it doesn't infringe on the ability of others to do the same. Little is considered taboo in the pursuit and expression of knowledge, even should those other cultures they are exploring disagree.
Though catfolk grudgingly accept the Common name for their race, they try to eschew other comparisons to felines, feeling about as well on such as a human would being compared to a monkey. They acknowledge their heritage, but they have no more care or connection to cats than to any other animal, and while a slight few do keep cats as pets, such tends to be seen as a great eccentricity. Falcons and hounds are far more common hunting companions, though the majority of catfolk tend to hunt entirely alone, and pets purely for the sake of companionship are rare indeed.
Religious affiliation tends to be restricted to the gods local to the Prime world from which the clan originated, though as time goes on, more and more take on more wide-spanning deities as well. The Seldarine is common amongst such catfolk, as are the Olympian powers and the Tuatha De Danann. Obad-Hai has been showing a surprising amount of popularity amongst them as well. Oddly enough, there is also a small divergent sect on the Beastlands that has purposefully exposed itself to werebear lycanthropy in honor of Balador.
The catfolk "lifecycle" is fairly similar to that of most mammalian races, with near the same family dynamics and lifespan as humans. Children are born most commonly in single births, though with the rare multiple, and offspring are heavily reliant upon the parents for protection and sustenance until physical maturity at around 15 to 18 years of age. At this point, they most often strike out on their own, usually staying with the clan but no longer under the umbrella of their parents.
Catfolk are entirely carnivorous, deriving little to no nutrition from plant matter. They have no general preference towards raw or cooked, though most cook their food at least to some degree purely for reasons of health. Their food tends to seem somewhat bland to most palates, given that their heightened senses of smell and taste requires them need less in the way of spices or herbs than others.
Catfolk tend to be similar in size and build to humans, with men averaging near 6 feet tall and women around 5-½, though given their digitigrade legs they often appear shorter. Though all have full-body coats of fur, in some branches the fur is only slightly thicker than hair beyond the mane and tail, and often not noticed. Eye and fur color, as well as fur pattern, vary greatly, generally following hereditary lines but with great potential for unexpected patterns or colors. The most striking elements that give them their Common name, of course, are their long, slightly prehensile tails, their ears — rounded and with a slight point — and their feline eyes and facial structure, most often baring far more resemblance to big cats than the smaller, domesticated breeds. Though they do possess retractable claws, amongst most catfolk they are almost purely decorative, hardly able to do more than draw a line of blood.
- Advanced Race Guide, pg.90-95,248-250
- Races of the Wild, pp.92-95