In folklore and fantasy fiction, Werecats are shapeshifters who are similar to werewolves, except that they turn into some species of feline instead of a wolf. The species involved can be a domestic cat, a tiger, a lion, a leopard, a lynx, or any other type, including some that are purely fantastical felines. Typically, an individual werecat can only transform to one unique feline, not to a number of different species. The word "werecat" was not coined until the late 19th century, so it was not directly used in legends from earlier eras, only by later folklorists' commentary.
Asian werecats usually become tigers. In India, the weretiger is often a dangerous sorcerer, portrayed as a menace to livestock who might at any time turn to man-eating. Chinese legends often describe weretigers as the victims of either heredity or a vindictive ghost. Ancient teachings held that every race except the Han Chinese were really animals in disguise, so there was nothing extraordinary about some of these false humans reverting to their true natures. Alternately, the ghosts of people who had been killed by tigers would become malevolent supernatural beings, devoting all their energy to making sure that tigers killed more humans. Some of these ghosts were responsible for transforming ordinary humans into man-eating weretigers.
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