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Let's face it: Cats are a huge part of the human experience. They make things cuter, they complement schemes to take over the world, their ears and tails are often added to the human form, but there's another class of cat altogether. Ever since the first anthropoid was dragged off and eaten by a sabertooth, the large cats have invoked fear and awe in the hearts of humans. They've become the symbols of kings, empires, even gods and demons. Their pelts are gorgeous and carry with them a sense of awe. And, obviously, they have a profound impact on humans and the fiction they produce.
There are a number of flavors:
Lions: The "King of Beasts" as far as the Western world is concerned. Lions were once the widest ranging large mammal on Earth; you could run across one in Europe, Asia and Africa. However, they went extinct in prehistoric (parts of Asia, Northern Europe) or historic times (everywhere else they used to live, like ancient Greece and the rest of Europe and Asia) and now they're relegated to sub-Saharan Africa and the Gir Forest in India. Their powerful appearance is why the lion is commonly a national symbol in places very far from Africa or India, like England and Scotland (both national coats of arms feature lions), all of the Low Countries, Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland (their € cent coins feature a heraldic lion!) ... Lions are the only social cat  , forming prides consisting of one or two males and a number of females. The main reason lions are so venerated is their image, the males are distinctive from the females with their shaggy manes and tend to be larger than said females. They live in savannas rather than jungles as was once commonly believed.
Tigers: The largest of the big cats, native to Asia (not Darkest Africa). The largest population is in fact in the jungles of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, but the largest variety, the Siberian Tiger, lives in, well, Siberia. They're one of the few cats still known to eat people, and, as such, in India, people living in the jungles will wear masks on the backs of their head to prevent tigers from sneaking up on them (yet man-eaters are known among lions and leopards as well). Mostly comes in color orange, while other variants are much rarer but confirmed: mainly the famous white, and then "golden tabby", blue, and black colored tigers. White tigers are somewhat common in captivity and almost unseen in the wild; some of this is probably due to the need for camouflage in the wild. The white color is a recessive trait, however, and thus captive white tigers tend to be very inbred, often suffering from eye problems, hip dysplasia, and cleft palates. "Black" tigers are extremely rare and their bloodlines may be extinct. Given the lack of any captive examples, it's unknown whether they are truly melanistic or if they simply have abnormally wide stripes that leave little room for orange fur between them. Many countries considers the tiger to be the King of Beasts instead of the lion , or even a god, symbolizing wrath, war, military generals or kings. Based on a survey of 73 countries, Tigers were also voted to be "The World's Favorite Animal", narrowly beating "man's best friend".
Leopards: The most common big cat of the genus Panthera, ranging through most of Africa and Asia, as well as the smallest roaring cat. Often seen as stealthy more than anything else, and with good reason. Also come in the snow leopard or "ounce" variety, and the little-known clouded leopard variety, Although the three are completely different species. Snow leopards are notable for their extremely long, bushy tail (which are almost as long as their bodies), which acts like an extra layer of fur when they curl up to sleep. Clouded Leopards are known for their distinctive fur and incredible climbing skills, and for their particularly long canines as well. A very common mistake is to portray leopards (both the spotted and the black ones) making the same scream of the cougar instead of roaring (this error also happens to jaguars, cheetahs, lynxes and sometimes even to tigers in fiction). See Disney's The Jungle Book again and you'll find we're right.
Jaguars: It seems a leopard on steroids, but is more similar to a tiger in ecology and behaviour. The largest cat in the Americas, found from Mexico through northern Argentina. If a writer is trying to accurately write about The Amazon, this is the cat they'll use. The Mayincatec worshipped jaguars, and to this day they're held in esteem South of the Border. More often than not, however, when you hear the word jaguar, they're talking about the car company. As an added note, Jaguars have the strongest bite of all felids and kills not through the neck like other big cats do, but through the bones of the skull with its canine teeth, piercing the brain. After the jaguar has killed its prey, it drags the dead carcass to a secluded area and always feasts on the chest area first, beginning with the lungs and heart. This brutal behavior has aptly earned them a place among Mesoamerican cultures as symbols of power, war, and protection. Amongst the Aztecs, they were used as Animal Motifs among the ocēlōtl, or Jaguar warriors, whose goal was to capture alive enemy soldiers to sacrifice to their gods.
Black Panthers: Not a separate species. Both leopards and jaguars can be born with black coats. Expect writers to treat them as a separate species anyway. Often, especially in illustrated media, if a leopard or jaguar is used, it will be a black variant for two reasons. 1) It's easier to draw a solid black panther than a spotted one, and 2) It looks cooler that way.
Mountain Lions: Also called cougars, pumas, panthers, catamounts, painters, and about forty other names (and that's just in English). Ranges across the Americas from the Yukon to Tierra del Fuego and, thus, most likely to be used in an American setting. May be used as a source of non-sequitur subplots. They're not actually big cats in the biological sense; indeed, they're more closely related to lynx and caracals than to tigers. That said, they're almost as big as a jaguar, so the reason for confusion is obvious. But they don't roar, and they do purr, oddly enough, because as previously mentioned, they are biologically small cats.
Cheetahs: Once believed a big cat, now seems to be a relative of the cougar. Over short distances, it's the fastest land animal on the planet. When you can reach freeway speed with the acceleration of a Lamborghini Murciélago Superveloce, you know you're awesome. Even if you do have a low life expectancy. The cheetah is also well-known for being the most docile and trainable of all the big cats (it was often trained to hunt fast prey by Persians and other Asian peoples, much like a greyhound). The King Cheetah is a much rarer variety with larger, more elaborate spots on its coat.
Lynx: Not strictly big cats either, but people tend to lump them together, especially in Europe, where the Eurasian Lynx is indeed the largest wild cat. They look strong and crafty with their intense eyes, their "beard", and tufts on their ears that make them seem more pointed. Legends about their extremely powerful sight abound, and in many languages "having the eyes of a lynx" means being extremely sharp-sighted and (in a figurative sense) being very acute-minded and perceptive. Despite all these alleged abilities, lynxes are not much larger than a tabby cat (except for the Eurasian lynx, which is easily twice the size of other three lynx species, the Iberian Lynx, the Canada Lynx, and the bobcat) and are totally harmless to humans (if not provoked). And they are now one of the most charismatic species in many European environmental projects, with the same prestige as wolves and brown bears. The most common American lynx is more precisely called Bobcat. Interesting to note that the lynx is the only cat (other than, obviously, the lion) to be represented in a constellation.
Ocelots: Not nearly as large as most of the cats on this page, being closer in size to the domestic cat (they can apparently be kept as pets - Salvador Dali had one named Babou - though it's not advised like almost all wild felines), ocelots can currently be found in South America, though are now very rare in the US. Nevertheless they do show up every now and then. The smaller Margay from the same locations is often confused with this one.
Servals and Caracals: Rather similar to the lynxes (especially Caracals) but with a tropical distribution ranging across Africa and, in the case of Caracals, in Asia as well. They are long-legged and more slender than other cats of similar size. Servals resemble miniaturized cheetahs, while caracals have a more cougar-like look but with lynx-like ears. The latter used to be domesticated in India.
Wild cats: There are several subspecies of them across the world, but the prototypal ones are the European Wild cat and the African Wild Cat. The former is one of the three felines native to the European environment and is very rare; the latter is the ancestor of our domestic friend. Both are technically the same species as the domestic cat; all three are subspecies of Felis silvestris.
Iriomote Cats: This cat is Japan's only native wild cat and it's highly endangered.
Saber-Toothed Cats: Not actually called saber-toothed tigers, but fit the motif. There were a large number of saber-toothed cats throughout the world at various geologic periods (along with scimitar-toothed cats, dirk-toothed cats, as well as Thylacosmilus, a marsupial carnivore that wasn't related to the cat family, but does slightly resemble one. Even an ancestor of mammals, Gorgonops, bore a sort of saber-tooth), but the one most familiar to people is Smilodon, and specifically Smilodon fatalis, a Pleistocene species that ranged down the west coast of the Americas as far south as Peru. Smilodon was about the size of a lion, but much more compact and muscular, kind of like a jaguar. The two enlarged canine teeth allowed the saber-tooth to hunt extremely large prey, but were very fragile and prone to breaking quite easily. If you want to make a present-day cat appear older, or just more Badass, you just need to add some overgrown fangs. Sabertooths were cats, being part of the Felidae family, but they belonged to a different branch of the cat family tree, and left no living descendants. And they're NOT to be confused with the Marvel supervillian of the same name.
Ligers: A hybrid of a female tiger and a male lion. Typically gets bigger than either of its parents, especially if the liger is male. Due to a genetic quirk of the hybridization, male ligers never reach true biological adulthood, and thus keep growing for their whole lives (this also renders them incapable of breeding). There are many other big cat hybrids that are possible, but ligers are the most famous and probably the most common, due to their impressive size. Unfortunately, the male liger does not have a mane, nor does a liger of either gender have markings as distinct as a tiger's. Fictional depictions may show them that way anyway, for obvious reasons.
See Cool Cat for when this applies to regular cats. Compare Big Badass Wolf for the canine version of this trope. Also note Our Gryphons Are Different, when big cats (specially lions) are mixed with other awe inspiring creatures, the birds of prey. Despite the popular name, the Tasmanian Tiger (more accurately, the Thylacine) is not a cat, but a marsupial.
While this trope is about big cats, it should not be confused with Mega Neko, which is about cats that are exceptionally large for their species.
Also not to be confused with the metal group Pantera, which is indeed awesome.
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- The moor cats of Shannara are a fictional species resembling the panther with the ability to blend into their surroundings. They are a match for most of the franchise's monsters, including the werebeasts and the Shadowen.
- There was this novel, Kingdoms of Light by Alan Dean Foster where a spell transforms a bird, a terrier, a snake and three cats into humans to return color to the drab Kingdom of Gowlands after it was taken over by an evil warlock and his goblin hordes. During the Final Battle all the animals transform into larger wild animal counterparts of their respective species. The bird turns into a firebird, the terrier into a large wolfdog, the snake into a reticulated python, and the three cats into a lion, a panther, and a leopard respectively.
- Super Sentai (and by extension, Power Rangers) that have any animal theme at all will have at least one big cat in the mix. Special notice goes to Jungle Fury/Gekiranger, in which "big cats" were the de facto theme: the three core Rangers had tiger, cheetah, and jaguar powers, the Big Bad was a lion, and one mentor type, Sha Fu/Master Mao, is apparently a caracal. The only exceptions were dinosaur-themed Dino Thunder/Abaranger and bird themed Jetman- though they did manage to throw a sabertooth into Mighty Morphin'/Zyuranger.
- Kamen Rider OOO has this as Kazari's Animal Motif, with Lion, Tora(Tiger), and Cheetah Core Medals.
- Peter Criss of Kiss was a "Catman". (current drummer Eric Singer also uses that make-up)
- The Bastet werecats from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. There are nine tribes, each based on folk depictions of the animals. Simba werelions style themselves as natural leaders, Swara werecheetahs are messengers, Khan weretigers are warriors and heavily involved with the Hengeyokai, Bagheera werepanthers/leopards are judges/justice-dealers, Pumonca werecougars are travellers, Qualmi werelinxes are mystics/riddle-lovers, the Ceilican are faerie-touched Eurasian wildcats, and the Bubasti are mysterious Egyptian black cats. Unfortunately, the Bastet as a whole are difficult for players to portray. They're solitary by nature except for the Simba and Khan, but only in the context of an African or Asian setting. And like other Changing Breeds, they're an ill fit for the social dynamic of a werewolf pack. This does not stop players with Special Snowflake Syndrome from insisting on playing one.
- The Lyran Empire in Star Fleet Battles names all its ship models after species of big cats, e.g. the Tiger cruiser, Saber-Toothed Tiger mauler, Cheetah frigate...
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Traveller : Played with, with the Aslan. The Aslan look like lions, however they are not even mammalian and act like many tribes of humans do.
- Anima: Beyond Fantasy has Arturia, the white lion that was the companion of Zhorne Giovanni, the first Emperor and Dakku, a black panther in lots of steroids that's the companion of Lucanor Giovanni
- Transformers. Every group of animal-based 'bots will have at least one cat in the mix, sometimes breaking the only-one-of-each-type rule that most such teams would be expected to have. (The original Predacons have a lion and a tiger, the early Maximals have a tiger and a cheetah). Even several series with mostly vehicle types tend to have a kitty as one of the few animal-based 'bots.
- The Bonus Boss in The World Ends With You, Sanae Hanekoma Panthera Cantus. His noise form is a Palette Swap of Tigris Cantus and Leo Cantus at the same time.
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn has the Beast tribe laguz which consist of lions, tigers, and "domestic" cats, among other things. King Caineghis (lion), Skrimir ('nother lion), Giffca ('nother lion) and Ranulf (cat) are the most badass of the bunch.
- Bloody Roar went nuts with the were-felines as the series progressed. It started with Gado (lion) and Long (tiger), then introduced Shina (leopard), Shenlong (another tiger), and Uriko (Catgirl).
- Coeurls in the Final Fantasy series tend to appear as large cats with long whiskers, and have a powerful psychic attack.
- Guild Wars has the charr, who will be playable in Guild Wars 2.
- In World of Warcraft, Druids can shapeshift into a cat form to do physical damage. The species the cat forms are based on varies by race, but Tauren become lions, Night Elves become panthers, Trolls become tigers, and Worgen become what appear to be mountain lions (their cat form is rather vague).
- The Elder Scrolls.
- ThunderCats (2011) have its titular Beast Folk Cats who tend to work under the principle of Animal Theme Naming/A Dog Named "Dog".
- The Pink Panther, who would go under Black Panthers if he weren't, you know, pink.
- The Mutates from Gargoyles were Xanatos and Sevarius's attempt to recreate the eponymous creatures via Lego Genetics; they used DNA from various big cats as the best counterpart for a gargoyle's strength and agility, and the finished Mutates each resemble a different big cat- panther (Derek Maza/Talon), lioness (Maggie), mountain lion (Fang) and tiger (Claw).
- He Man and The Masters of The Universe: Cringer/Battlecat is a tiger, specifically an Eternian tiger which means his coat's background colour is green and his stripes are yellow.
- The German Army has gotten in on the trope via Theme Naming of their armored vehicles: Pumas and Panthers and Tigers, oh my. Leopard II tanks are the most modern in the series. (The whole "big cat" thing might have something to with the fact that the German word for armor in general is panzer...)
- Apple has codenamed every version of OS X since 10.0 after one of the big cats.
- Pitting lions and tigers against each other has been a common theme throughout history in both literature and real life, ranging from scholarly comparisons to actual arranged fights.
- Lions are a favorite heraldric symbol competing with eagles in popularity. Some heraldric artists Take a Third Option and use a Gryphon which is after all both an eagle and a lion so to speak. Venice used the "Lion of St Mark"(actually a Gryphon if I remember) as a national symbol and England uses a Lion. You would think such conspicuously nautical powers would prefer a Marlin or some other badass nautical critter. No matter.
- Unusually Badass Sherpas are honored with the title of "Tiger".
- Whether it's positive or not, it's up to you: in Brazil, the nickname since 1979 for the income tax is "lion", originating from a campaign from the local IRS associating said tax with the animal.
- Big Cat Diaries focuses on the lives of three real big cat families each season - a cheetah family, a lion pride and a leopard family. You get to see the real-life awesomeness of these cats in this show, although with just how hard it is to be a wild animal.
- Kimba the White Lion
- Kitty's uncle Specklerex is a spotted Lion, most likely actually a Leopon (Leopard/Lion Hybrid).
- Hienkel the Chimera in Fullmetal Alchemist transforms into a Lion/Human hybrid.
- The titular robot in GaoGaiGar is made of a robotic lion named Ghaleon and other mecha. Gai Shishio's (it's pilot) last name means "Lion King".
- Digimon provides an extensive family of lion-based Mons, all of which are afflicted by a Running Mythology Gag: if you see one in an incarnation of the franchise, it's a pretty good bet that he'll be a literal Sacrificial Lion; The most well-known and founder of the gag is Leomon of Digimon Adventure and Digimon Tamers; other lions include Loewemon, BantyoLeomon, MadLeomon and Apollomon. All these characters died at some point; Apollomon even died twice!
- Leo Aioria from Saint Seiya wears the Leo Gold Cloth, based off the zodiac sign. His eyes and explosive personality are often compared to that of a lion, and he's nicnkamed "The Golden Lion".
- In the old anime Beast Fighter, Shinichi Kuruma can transform into a mishmash of animals, a lion being one of them.
- Kerberos/Kero from Cardcaptor Sakura, specially in his true form.
- Teika from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki.
- Mila-Rose from Bleach.
- Leonmichelle and Gaul from Dog Days.
- In Usagi Yojimbo, Usagi's sensei is a lion. It also features cat-ninja. His previous master also appeared to be a lion.
- Living in the savanna with a pride of lions is what turned Catman from a joke-villain into an incredible badass.
- The 1965 movie Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion and the 1966 spin-off TV show Daktari both featured Clarence, a male lion who happened to be cross-eyed. In the movie, he's captured after raiding the livestock of a village -- it's discovered that due to his crossed eyes he sees double and cannot hunt wild game. He's taken to the local vet clinic and adopted by the veterinarian's daughter. The TV show focused more on the vet, his family, and dangers-of-the-week (often poachers or criminals trading in wild animals,) but Clarence was still a major character.
- Secondhand Lions.
- Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia. Jesus Christ is a lion, get in the wardrobe!
- Born Free: book in 1960, film in 1966. A lioness, raised from a cub in captivity, is rehabilitated to life in the wild. In the late 50's the idea of rehabilitating captive animals for successful life in the wild was not widely accepted or attempted. The Adamsons may have been the first to try it.
- Lions (called "Numa") appeared in several of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan stories.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Tower of the Elephant", the title tower has lions in the garden to guard it.
- David in Animorphs acquired this morph and for a while displaced Jake as the only big cat in the group. They even had a big cat showdown where David nearly killed Jake when Jake's usual bite-the-neck tactic didn't work thanks to the mane.
- Old Tokusatsu show Kaiketsu Lion-Maru, whereas the protagonist is a mystical swordsman named Shishimaru who can turn into an even more fearsome swordsman with the head of a lion, called 'Lion-maru'.
- Ultraman Leo, complete with the theme song verse "The eye of the lion is shining" and a lion's head (it roars in Episode 2) standing in for Leo's home planet in the L-77 nebula.
- One of Hercules's Twelve Labors is killing a powerful lion that's apparently invulnerable. When no weapon seemed to harm it, he choked the lion to death.
- The Detroit Lions football team. Considering their typical performance, arguably a subversion.
- Liontaurs, the official race of the land of Tarna in the third Quest for Glory. Most of them are badass warriors or mages and obsessed with honor and glory. One of the main characters of the game is Rakeesh the paladin, who is a sort of mentor to the hero.
- That One Boss from The World Ends With You, Sho Minamimoto as Leo Cantus.
- The Shinx family in the Pokémon series.
- Slash Beast from Mega Man X 4 has a lion design despite his name. His Japanese name (Slash Beastleo) shows it, though.
- Jax's Animality in Mortal Kombat 3, a lion.
- The "Garu" breed introduced in Monster Rancher 4 is a humanoid lion.
- Leonyx, from Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2, is a colossal, humanoid lion that dualwields swords. He is also one of the strongest monsters in the entire game. He's Leomon on steroids.
- The Lion King
- In the Disney version of Robin Hood, Prince John and King Richard are depicted as lions (Richard with a mane, John without).
- Lambert the Sheepish Lion wherein Lambert was mistakenly delivered to a flock of sheep by a confused stork and grows up thinking himself to be a funny-looking sheep until the day when he saves the flock from wolves.
- Tangath Toborn of Chaotic.
- Kalus from Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.
- In Thundercats and its reboot ThunderCats (2011) young protagonist King Lion-O is, respectively a Little Bit Beastly or Beast Folk member of a race of Catfolk where Lions have right to rule as King of Beasts.
- Razorclaw, the leader of the Predacons in Transformers Generation 1
- "Where can you see lions? Only in Kenya! Come to Kenya where you can see lions!"
- Tony the Tiger, longtime mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes cereal. ("They're grrrrrreat!")
- Esso gas stations (the forerunner to today's Exxon Mobil) had a popular advertising campaign in the '60s featuring a cartoon tiger and the slogan, "Put a tiger in your tank."
- Tama from Hayate the Combat Butler, an African white tiger
- Possibly North Eastern Africa, in the land bordering Eurasia. While still far removed from their normal habitats, hunting for food and being driven away by man could account for the journey and explain why he was found orphaned (parents killed, finally, after being driven so far South)
- In Ranma ½ one of Gosunkugi's cunning plans to expose Ranma's fear of cats was to set a tiger on him. There is also the character of Lime who is descended from Tigers (on his mother's side).
- Tigrerra from the first Bakugan season.
- The tiger-demon Byakko from the early Yu Yu Hakusho arcs.
- Similarly there's the Byakko from Onmyo Taisenki, Kogenta and Rangetsu (a white and black tiger respectively, though Rangetsu has white stripes instead).
- Saint Seiya has the Libra Saint Dohko, who is represented by a tiger motif and has even a tiger tattoo on his back. Since he's the teacher of Dragon Shiryu, this is meant as a symbol of balance.
- From Anime Filler there's Ohko, Shiryu's rival, created to display the same premise (predating Dohko's revelation of his tiger motif).
- Ryo Sanada from Yoroiden Samurai Troopers (Ronin Warriors) has Byakuen aka White Blaze, his white tiger pet.
- Dr. Gein from Saber Marionette J To X has a trio of robot marionettes based off The Four Gods, with Byakko (an humanoid white tiger) being one of them.
- Kotetsu T. Kaburagi from Tiger and Bunny has tigers as his Animal Motif. His name has the kanji for tiger in it; his Superhero persona is Wild Tiger; the scriptwriter has stated that he had the tiger of the Chinese zodiac in mind when he wrote his character; he even has a tiger cellphone background.
- Might Guy uses a move called Afternoon Tiger to defeat Kisame, which is a taijutsu move that fires a massive pressure bullet in the shape of a tiger's head.
- Mr. Tawky Tawny in the Shazam franchise. He's an urbane and well mannered humanoid tiger who chooses to live in Human society. That said, if he is forced to fight, then he is deadly in combat with his strength, fangs and claws.
- The Hangover has four drunken guys dealing with, among other problems, a tiger in their hotel suite, and how to get it back to its owner in one piece.
- Two Brothers is about the adventures of two tigers in 1920's French Indochina.
- In The Jungle Book, Shere Khan is a Bengal tiger that was born with a withered leg, thus lacking the "fearful symmetry" of Blake's Tyger. He regards himself as the lord of tigers (apparently the meaning of his name) but is really a coward and a bully.
- The second Winnie the Pooh book, The House at Pooh Corner, introduced Tigger, who is not vicious at all, but overly enthusiastic and, like Hobbes, fond of pouncing on those he likes. The fabled Jagular are not so friendly, though they are never actually seen.
- Animorphs: Jake's preferred battle morph, and the only big cat in the main team.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Hobbes is Calvin's best friend, but has no reservations about stalking and pouncing him.
- The Detroit Tigers baseball team and the Cincinatti Bengals football team.
- Many schools tend to have tigers for mascots. Auburn University is probably the best-known example.
- The Puzzle Boss from The World Ends With You, Mitsuki Konishi as Tigris Cantus.
- Gekigami from Okami.
- Neon Tiger from Mega Man X 3.
- Snowflake, the zombie-slaying tiger in Dead Rising 2.
- Kotaro, the Cool Pet of Byakko and boss in Ayame's storyline in Tenchu 2.
- Cannon Dancer has a tiger Mook appear in two stages.
- The "Woren/Furen" clan from Breath of Fire is a race of tigermen. In terms of individuals, we have Katt, Tiga (Breath of Fire II), Rei (Breath of Fire III) and Cray (Breath of Fire IV).
- The boss Fenrir in Final Fantasy XII appears as a large Behemoth-type enemy with the head and fur of a white tiger(in spite of being named after a giant wolf).
- Altered Beast has the protagonist becoming a weretiger in one level.
- Jagged Alliance 2 features Bloodclaws, huge wildcats roughly double the size of a normal tiger. Some characters shout "Tiger!" when they see one approaching. They are mostly encountered in wilderness sectors as well as in a arena of some sort, where they can be released from their cages. Bloodclaws, despite only being able to attack in close combat, are very dangerous enemies even for well-armed mercenaries. They are fast and take multiple hits to kill. Loading hollow-point ammunition is strongly advised.
- The Meek has Dagre, a giant tiger-like spirit with glowing eyes and far too much neck. He likes to push people over the line to madness. Sleep tight...
- Tiger Cavalry. Fuck your bears.
- "Where can you see tigers? Only in Kenya! Lions and tigers only in Kenya!"
- The Jonny Quest TOS episode "Riddle of the Gold" had a tiger hunt, where the hunters became the hunted.
- Tigress, the most fearsome of the Furious Five, and Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda.
- Rajah, in Disney's Aladdin and spin-offs. Although he acts more like an oversized housecat.
- Rath of Ben 10 Alien Force.
- A family of tigers appear as background characters in Dumbo.
- One of the animals Mad Madam Mim turns into during the Wizard Duel from The Sword in the Stone is a pink tiger with purple stripes (the tail eventually becomes part of that of a rattlesnake's).
- Tigraton from Beast Wars.
- A tiger can be seen hugging the nephews near the end of the DuckTales opening theme.
- The Goofy animated short Tiger Trouble.
- Tygra from Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) is a Catfolk Tiger.
- Rampage, the Predacon from Transformers Generation 1 (not to be confused with the Beast Wars Predacon Crab of the same name).
- Cool Cat, a late-'60s Looney Tunes character who should in no way be mistaken for the Pink Panther.
- Animaniacs for some reason actually featured tigers living in Africa.
- In Defenders of the Earth, The Phantom could call upon "the power of ten tigers" to fight evil.
- Chocolove (aka Joco) McDonnell in Shaman King has a jaguar spirit.
- One episode of Pet Shop of Horrors featured a jaguar, in an episode about an underground South American terror cell seeking to overthrow the current regime and restore the glory of their ancient civilization. Complete with the ancient religion, which is where the jaguar came in: she was attached to the family of the cell's charismatic leader. At one point she fell out of a helicopter, and D jumped after her; they were rescued mid-air by a condor... yeah.
- A black she-jaguar becomes the unlikely savior of a fleeing slave in Mel Gibson's jungle thriller Apocalypto.
- The Animorphs minus Tobias, still unable to morph at the time, used jaguar morphs in "The Forgotten" but they were never used again because they were sario rip morphs and unusable afterward.
- For the cover of a Rolling Stones album, a photographer planned on having Mick Jagger sitting in a convertible with a jaguar. This proved to be EXTREMELY dangerous, so they had to build a partition out of fiber glass to keep Mick (or maybe the jaguar?) safe. While this was happening, the photographer took a photo of the jaguar's face, then drew on his viewfinder where the jaguar's eyes and nose were. Then he took some shots of Mick on the same frame of the roll as he did the Jaguar. This is the result. This was before photoshop.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars football team.
- King and Armor King from Tekken both use jaguar masks and speak exclusively through roars.
- Kung Lao's Animality in Mortal Kombat 3.
- Black jaguars were seen chasing Kuzco in The Emperors New Groove.
- In The Road to El Dorado, the villain controls a giant jaguar statue to terrorize the city.
- In one episode of Time Warp Trio, the kids go back in time to the ancient Mayan civilization. They are kidnapped by soldiers who take them to be eaten by jaguars.
- Baby Jaguar from Go Diego Go.
- In Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) Jaga is a Catfolk Jaguar.
- Ravage in Transformers Generation 1 is stated to be a (black) jaguar.
- The Jaguar sports car (usually pronounced Jag-u-ar in the commercials)
- One Piece's Rob Lucci can transform into a half leopard or full leopard.
- One of the errands in Ninja Burger is walking the store's pet leopard. Why your store has a pet leopard is never explained.
- Bringing Up Baby is a comedy starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and a leopard. Oddly enough, Baby was from South America, the natural home of jaguars, and actual cat used WAS a jaguar, despite the dialogue.
- Luchino Visconti's film of The Leopard; see more under Literature.
- In The Jungle Book, Bagheera the black panther was born in captivity but escaped into the jungle, becoming one of its most feared and respected predators. His cunning and bravery make him one of the best teachers a young man-cub could ever want.
- In Lynda Robinson's ancient Egyptian mysteries, King Tutankhamun is often accompanied by Sa, a black leopard, as a protector.
- Beware of the leopard!
- Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's Il Gattopardo, named for the Salina family's coat of arms. Although the English-language translation renders the title as The Leopard, "serval" would be more accurate.
- Stelmaria, the snow leopard daemon of Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials.
- Ose, a bipedal leopard, is a recurring demon/Persona in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
- In Pokémon Black and White, Purrloin's evolution Liepard speaks for itself (although it's actually a leopard cat, not a leopard).
- In Off White, a malevolent snow leopard causes trouble for a group of sledders.
- Sabor, from Disney's Tarzan and, subsequently, Kingdom Hearts.
- The Leopardmen in Quest for Glory III, who are a race of cunning shape changers and magic users who can make themselves appear as upright leopards and live in the dark jungle. They value intelligence and stealth and are proof that Dark Is Not Evil.
- Tai Lung, the Big Bad in Kung Fu Panda, is a snow leopard.
Generic Black Panthers
- Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez from Bleach. His Zanpakutou name is 'Pantera', thus he turns into a bipedal panther-like humanoid. He gets black hands and feet, but the rest of his new form is standard Hollow white.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st, instead of turning into an ordinary Mega Neko, the little kitty that encounters a Jewel Seed instead turns into a giant, demonic, black panther, with white markings, bony protrusions, and large bat wings.
- Spinel Sun's true form is a panther with blue butterfly wings. He is the Darker and Edgier Expy of Kero.
- Black panthers inspired Marvel Comics' Black Panther and The Black Panther Party (separately).
- Ronan from Philippa Ballantine's Digital Magic has the Code Name "Panther" because he spends a lot of time in the form of a black panther. Turns out he's Puck from the first book, Chasing the Bard; the panther was one of his favorite forms.
- Drizzt Do'Urden of the Forgotten Realms D&D setting has a magical pet panther named Guenhwyvar.
- In D&D as a whole, there's the Displacer Beast, a panther with tentacles on its shoulders. Most notable for being hard to hit, because it's actually several feet away from where you think it is.
- There is also the massive black panther which Kelemvor of the Avatar Trilogy transformed into as a result of his Hereditary Curse.
- On Angel a black panther represents Wolfram and Hart's senior partners in the white room.
- On Merlin, the Lady of the Lake is cursed to turn into a massive winged panther every night.
- King of Fighters boss Rugal Bernstein has a pet panther named Rodem which appears with him on occasion, and some comics also give him a very loose leopard motif. Similarly, fellow boss (Original) Zero has a genetically engineered black lion pet named Glaugan that also assists him in battle as a striker.
- Rugal's children, Adel and Rose, have a pet panther kitten. Presumably it's Rodem's baby.
- Panther Caroso of the Star Wolf Team from Star Fox.
- In the first Quest for Glory, monsters called Cheetaurs roam the forests at night, which actually are more like huge panther-creatures. There's also the cute little kitty owned by the old lady in town, that turns into a giant panther if you try to harm its owner.
- Brutal Legend features ridable black panthers with Eye Beams. They're actually the most normal species in the game's setting.
- Eugene Gallardo from Tales of Rebirth is a Gajuma in form of a Black Panther. And he is the token Cool Old Guy. And Badass.
- Black Orchid from Killer Instinct can morph into a panther for some of her special attacks.
- Panter Flauclaws from Mega Man Zero 2.
- One appeared in a Jonny Quest TOS episode, and was featured in the opening credits.
- Whether Ravage from Transformers is a jaguar or a panther depends on who's writing... in Japan, his name is Jaguar but in a manga he sometimes masquerades as a human called the "Black Panther Man!"
- Data Seven from Cybersix.
- Attacat from Chaotic.
- The Pink Panther is this, except he's pink instead of black.
- In Defenders of the Earth, The Phantom's daughter Jedda had a pet black panther named Keisha.
- Panthro from Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) is a Catfolk Black Panther.
- The Black Panther Party For Self Defence, which took its memorable signature animal from an area high school football team.
- The Carolina Panthers football team.
- Disney's Charlie the Lonesome Cougar.
- Homeward Bound has a mountain lion chase Shadow and Chance midway through the movie.
- Puma Man He flies like a moron...
- 24, obviously
- In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Hal and the boys realize they've wandered onto an artillery range when a mountain lion blows up.
- Steve French in Trailer Park Boys.
- The Most Interesting Man in the World seems to keep one as a pet in one Dos Equis ad.
- Ford Motor Company perched one atop their dealership sign logo back when they were still building the Cougar.
- Before taming his horse, Widow-Maker Pecos Bill rode one of these.
- The Florida Panthers hockey team.
- You can find cougars in Red Dead Redemption, or rather, the cougars will find you.
- Mountain lions are used as the main Mooks in Stage 2 of Prehistoric Man, with a spotted one being the one Sam is looking for.
- Louie the Mountain Lion, Goofy's archnemesis from the Classic Disney Shorts and House of Mouse.
- Pounce in Transformers Generation 1. Also Quickswitch is stated to be (among his 6 modes) a flying Puma.
- Chester Cheetah would like you to know it's not easy being cheesy.
- Gold Digger prominently features Brittany Diggers, a werecheetah
- Wonder Woman regularly fights super-villainess Cheetah.
- Harold and Kumar features a scene of the titular duo encountering an escaped cheetah. Then getting STONED with it. Then riding it.
- Pern's southern continent is home to large feline predators, which apparently derive from semidomesticated cheetahs released by the original colonists. As Pern's native terrestrial predators had mostly been wiped out by Thread, these cats had no competitors and could afford to evolve a greater body size.
- Animorphs The Weakness had cheetah morphs.
- The Cheetah People from the Doctor Who story "Survival".
- Iggy Pop would like to remind you that he is a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm.
- Cheetor from Beast Wars.
- A cheetah appears as a background character in The Lion King.
- Cheetara from Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) is a Catfolk Cheetah.
- Kung Lao's Animality in Mortal Kombat 3 is a cheetah.
- Action 52 was supposed to be a launch pad for a new series, the Cheetahmen. As there was never any Cheetahmen franchise, it's not hard to guess how well that went.
- In medieval Persia and India, tame cheetahs were status symbols, the equivalents of fast sports cars today. Kings, emperors, princes and high-ranking officials would keep cheetahs to hunt gazelles and deer. The Persians even taught cheetahs to ride on horseback behind their trainers until they got close enough to their prey. At one point Mughal princes would keep hundreds or even thousands of hunting cheetahs and the fastest cheetah of all would be treated like royalty herself and carried to the hunting grounds upon an elephant with musicians and trumpeteers announcing her arrival, while the less successful cheetahs would be kept hungry in order to make them more competitive. Unfortunately, since it's nearly impossible to breed cheetahs in captivity, this cheetah-hoarding resulted in making the cheetah extinct in India and nearly destroyed Iran's population entirely.
- The Charlotte Bobcats basketball team.
- Bubsy the Bobcat
- Wild Jango from Mega Man X Command Mission.
- The Un Real World features the Lynx at top of the food chain. It is incredibly agile, resilient enough to shrug off a couple of arrows before approaching the hunter. It can kill an average person (including you, the protagonist) with a single blow, posing as a serious threat in a world where death is permanent. It is no surprise that Lynx fur is the most prized commodity by foreign merchants.
- Big Bad (actually, The Dragon) Lynx from Chrono Cross.
- Bonkers D. Bobcat
- A constellation shaped like a grinning bobcat's face appears briefly during the song "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas.
- Lynx-O of Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) is a Catfolk Lynx.
- Bubastis, Adrian Veidt's lynx-like creature in Watchmen.
- Empowered has Ocelotina who is supposed to look like an Ocelot, but because of some in universe Did Not Do the Research looks more like a black panther.
- Private Detective Honey West has a pet ocelot, named Bruce.
- It's not entirely clear why Revolver Ocelot chose that particular codename.
- In Minecraft, ocelots are a mob found in jungles, can be tamed with raw fish, and creepers are scared of them.
- Solatorobo has a couple:
- Archer: Cheryl, the secretary, is revealed to be independently wealthy and has a pet baby ocelot. Archer quickly falls in love with the little guy.
- In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, heroine Jame has a hunting-cat, Jorin, as a Bond Creature. He's identified as an "ounce", which is in modern times generally associated with the snow leopard (uncia uncia), but the author has clarified that she means the older definition of that word, which applied to any spotted wild cat, and he's actually supposed to look like a serval. Jorin is blind from birth, but manages to see through the mind-link, borrowing his mistress' vision.
- The Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter.
- Played with in Tokyo Mew Mew. While Mew Ichigo's cat features technically come from the Iriomote yamaneko, a highly endangered mountain cat, this only matters to the actual story. Once she gains Shapeshifting (sort of) to transform into an animal, however, it seems to be a generic housecat. Granted, real Iriomote cats are about the size of a housecat and could easily be mistaken as one, especially if one didn't expect to see an endangered wildcat...
- Sakaki adopts an Iriomote yamaneko (or possibly vice versa) near the end of Azumanga Daioh
- SaberLeomon of the Digimon franchise, who was actually the Mega-level form of the lion-based Digimon Leomon in Digimon Adventure.
- The motif of the cloths used by the twins Cid and Bud in Saint Seiya are inspired by saber-toothed cats.
- Sabu, pet/companion/prehistoric version of Captain America's shield of Ka-Zar
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Beyond the Black River", Zogar summons a sabre-toothed tiger. Which happens to be prehistoric even in Conan's time, adding to the horror for the prisoners.
- Clare Bell's Clan Ground series features a race of intelligent sabertoohs called the Named, and their unintelligent counterparts, the Unnamed.
- Featured prominently in BBC's Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, and the sequel Prehistoric Park.
- Appeared as the threat of the week in one episode of Primeval.
- The Smilodon Dopant from Kamen Rider Double blurs the line between this and Mega Neko by virtue of its user being a cat.
- The Nashville Predators hockey team has a saber-toothed cat as a mascot.
- Great Sabrecats are a staple monster of the Dragon Quest series, but can also be befriended in a few of them. A Great Sabrecat cub is the first monster to join you in Dragon Quest V, and the reward for a sidequest in Dragon Quest VIII is a bell that summons a sabrecat for your character to ride on, multiplying your movement speed on the world map tenfold.
- Diego, the resident Badass of the Ice Age movies.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender brings along a Mix and Match Critter known as the Saber-Toothed Moose Lion. Ridiculously Cute Critter as a baby. Creature of the damned when it's all grown up
- The aptly named Smildon of Chaotic.
- Grune from Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) is a unique case. He has only one giant tooth.
- The Flintstones apparantly own a small saber-toothed cat who serves as their equivalent of a cat. It only appears in the show's opening theme however.
- Zoids features a number of Liger-type Humongous Mecha, traditionally as the Zoid piloted by the main character. Most notable are the Shield Liger, Blade Liger, Liger Zero, and Murasame Liger.
- Get Medieval had a traveling menagerie from Spain - which included, amongst other things, a deceased cameleopard, a half-tiger, half-lion mix named 'Estelle', and a spaceship.
- However, domesticated cats can form bonds and colonies (especially in the case of ferals), and brother cheetahs often stay together for life. So they can be considered social, too. It's still disputable though.
- Which makes sense in regions where the lion has never been a native animal, like East Asia.
- the opposite cross of a male tiger and a female lion is called a tigon and typically does not grow to exceptional size