Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kitty Kat Day

Today at the Nature Center in Asheville, North Carolina was a celebration of big cats in North America. Since I am working on a catshifter story that I wrote a couple of years ago and only a couple of hours away from Asheville, I decided to venture out and have a little hands on research.

I'm really glad I did. Not only did I get to grill the staff for little nuggets of information, but my kids enjoyed the entire facility from the Black Bears to the River Otter to the Wolves to the Bobcats and the Cougar.

I probably didn't learn anything I couldn't have found on the internet, but the hands on learning was so much more fun. Besides I spend enough time behind the computer, this was a welcome change.

I ended up with two pages of notes and a handful of new elements that I want to incorporate into my world building. And no telling what else I might get to use if this first book sells and I get to continue with the series.

Some interesting things I learned:

Cougars do not roar. I didn't even think about this. really. They do purr but instead of a roar they emit a banshee like cry that sounds like a woman screaming. I was told it's quite a harrowing noise.

There are no such things (at least documented) as Black Cougars or Black Panthers. The Black Panthers that are commonly referred to are actually jaguars or possibly one of the other non North American variety of cats. There are legends about Black Cougars though and I took a particular interest in that.

A Cougar, Mountain Lion, Puma, Catamount and Panther are all the exact same animal. There are no coloring differences between them or anything. Just depends on what region you are in and what the locals might call them.

So, now i'm off to make some changes to my story and incorporate some of the things I did learn. I plan to wrap this up in a couple of days and then send her out into the world in the hopes of finding a publisher for it.

Have a good one.


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