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|It has been suggested that this article be merged into Honorverse concepts and terminology. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2009.|
Treecats are a fictional species of intelligent lifeforms who take a prominent role in the Honorverse, a series of military science fiction novels and anthologies written by David Weber and others and published by Baen Books.
Treecats are hexapedal (six-limbed) creatures native to the planet Sphinx orbiting Manticore A. They are (officially) rated 0.83 on the sentience scale, and are thought to be slightly more intelligent / mentally capable than Beowulf's grendels or perhaps Old Earth's dolphins. They are a long lived species.
They are protected by the Sphinx Forestry Service, and treecats most often bond to Sphinx residents as they are the only humans most treecats have ever encountered. Though exceedingly rare, bonding between a treecat and a human is widely regarded as the most extraordinary thing about the species.
Treecats are intelligent, self aware, communicative, and social. They are the twelfth—and physically smallest—intelligent species known to humans. They evolved as arboreals, and continue to be so when in their native forests. Treecats have two eyes which face forward giving excellent binocular vision, even in low light levels, and which are nearly always "grass green". They see rather deeper in the infrared than do humans.
They are muscular (Sphinx is a higher than Terran gravity world), extremely agile, telepathic, empathic, somewhat omnivorous, hexapedal (meaning six-footed, typical of Sphinx's land animals) creatures with long muscular flat tails. The tails are prehensile, and are usually carried rolled into a furry "tube" which appears much as a Terran cat's tail would. When sitting, the tubular tails are often wrapped around the feet and, when sleeping, wrapped around the body, both much in the manner of Terran cats. The front two pairs of limbs can both be used as hands; the front pair of hands have four fingers, one opposable (largely equivalent to a human "thumb"). The fur is thick, soft, three layered, and thins out in hot weather, as is required for anything which can survive the intense and prolonged Sphinx winters without freezing in the absence of industrial technology. Treecats shed when it is warm, and are in this sense "high maintenance" in some situations when living with humans.
They are formidably armed with retractile centimeter-long claws on all paws (used for tree climbing, hunting, and attack and defense) and long curved teeth, mostly concealed when the mouth is closed. The claws are notable in not being merely curved and pointed protein nails, but rather, curved, pointed, and much broader at the base than Terran feline claws. They are extremely sharp along the inside edge, and can thus not only pierce, but slice/shred as well. They are mineral based, more like teeth than like horn or nail in Terran animal claws or nails.
The equivalent of a war cry, or attack warning/threat/announcement, resembles a "ripping canvas" noise and can be quite loud. It is used only when about to fight in lethal earnest. Hissing, and a rumbling snarling growl, are used as warnings. An award for conspicuous bravery while serving in the King's (or Queen's) Own Regiment is commonly known as the "Spitting Kitty" after the "hissing treecat rampant" image used on the decoration. They also make a noise similar to a purr when contented, shriek when traumatically injured, and make several sounds (including bleeks, chirps, chitters, and croons) which variously convey (among many other things) amusement, contentment, excitement, laughter, and derision—if not sarcasm, to other treecats and to humans as well. They also flick their ears, tilt their heads, "flirt" their tails (for unknown reasons, this is the term in wide use among humans), and yawn—all of which are also communication signals and generally understandable by humans.
Except on Sphinx, treecats are not well known, and they have never been well understood anywhere, including in the rest of The Star Kingdom, its Royal Navy, and even to a considerable extent on Sphinx as well. This mis-estimation/misunderstanding has not vanished with the treecat decision to cooperate with studies of them by human biologists and linguists. It has caused, and continues to cause, difficulty since humans unfamiliar with treecats sometimes nonetheless believe they have sufficient grounds for conclusions (e.g., that the treecat they have met is merely a very intelligent, cute, cuddly, pet). As may be expected, such conclusions are sometimes unfortunate, and they have had (and continue to have) unfortunate consequences.
Body length is commonly around 60 centimeters, not including tail (usually about the same length). Typical adult males weigh about 10 kg (or 22 pounds); adult females are somewhat smaller. Males are usually cream and gray with faint stripes (rings) on the tail whose number more or less correlate with age (in Sphinx years, minus four or five); females are typically dappled brown and white. With age, fur loses pigmentation and becomes more gray in both sexes. Despite the name treecat, some consider that they more closely resemble a member of the Terran weasel group. Since they have prehensile tails and are larger than Terran weasels, they are also roughly comparable to Terran binturongs, which are arboreal, about the same size, love to ride their human's shoulders when out and about, play with humans enthusiastically, and also have prehensile tails about as long as the body proper. Binturongs differ in being nocturnal, not very social, slow and careful outside familiar territory, and not really very intelligent. Most consider treecat heads (shape, eyes, ears, whiskers...) to be strikingly like Terran felines, however. There is, of course, no connection whatever with any of these. The name "treecat" was chosen by the first human to discover their existence, Stephanie Harrington, and it has remained the common name for several hundred T-years. She was also the first human to be adopted by a treecat.
They are, when in groups, the dominant predator on Sphinx. There are larger predators, such as the related hexapuma, but these live rather like Terran tigers or leopards, that is, largely solitary as few other animals on Sphinx are any threat in single confrontation. Hexapumas are more than adequately intelligent for their niche, but treecats have developed real intelligence probably as a compensation for their reduced size. When acting in groups (as in defense of their home territory) nothing on Sphinx is a match for them. Treecats are largely immune from predation themselves as they can travel continental distances without descending to the ground using the picketwood trees unique to Sphinx which grow, in part, horizontally and connect with each other across vast expanses. They thus provide something akin to elevated roads for treecat sized tree dwellers. Hexapumas generally learn to be careful around treecats, unless that treecat is alone and catchable on or near ground level (hexapumas are too large to follow treecats more than arm's reach up a tree). Hexapumas who are too bold are generally, and enthusiastically killed by groups of treecats; they are referred to as Death Fangs by treecats.
Relations with humans
Treecats all adore Terran celery, particularly the genetically modified version specially adapted to Sphinx. Though their digestive systems are ill-adapted to terrestrial vegetation, especially fibrous vegetables, they are not deterred. Sphinxian adapted celery contains a chemical which enhances their empathic/telepathic abilities—a telepathy vitamin, as it were—though this connection was entirely unknown to humans until 'cat signing was developed. A rare Sphinxian vegetable (purple thorn) has a similar, though less effective, chemical in smaller quantities. The variant found in Sphinx adapted celery is especially effective in enhancing empathy/telepathy, but all celery both smells and tastes enticing. Even ordinary, unmodified, Terran celery is irresistible to treecats.
Treecats are generally friendly towards humans, all of whom have a very strong (or perhaps bright—English words are inapt) "mind glow" for almost all treecats. Thus, being generally well-disposed toward humans is not solely because of the celery.
They are universally enthusiastic about human children—their "mind taste" is particularly attractive, being clear and direct. Adult treecats are excellent playmates for older children, being tough, fast, playful, and capable of sensing malicious intent. They are especially good attendants for infants, who usually seem to be able to interact with them in a way lost when older.
Treecats are empaths who can form a very intense, though limited, bond to humans; it is essentially permanent for both and if the human dies for any reason, the paired treecat nearly always starves to death or suicides. In rare cases, it is sometimes possible to (re-)bond to another human, or to continue unbonded. Humans are much more likely to survive the loss of a bonded treecat, but with considerable difficulty. On Sphinx, in their native forests, treecats ordinarily live 200+ T-years (traditionally 48 Sphinxian years), barring accident, disease, or other difficulty. The mismatch between typical (pre-prolong) human lifetimes and typical treecat lifetimes has had tragic results in most cases of cross species adoption. The development of life prolong treatments for humans has reduced this problem considerably.
A bond between a human and a treecat is emotionally perceptible in both directions, but does not permit exchange of thoughts, nor use of language, visual or auditory images with extremely rare exceptions, nor any deliberate or unconscious control by the human partner. Humans are, in treecat terms, mind blind, though they have very powerful, if unaware, mind glows. Treecats are far more capable in the human–treecat bond and can deliberately intervene in the emotional and mental health of their partners and others. They do not, except in the rarest of circumstances, as both their ethos of bonding amongst themselves, and strong inhibitions against interference with the mental processes of others, preclude this, probably as an evolutionary adaptation to social living as telepath/empaths.
Bonding to a human occurs rapidly and with little warning on either side; the result is initially startling, if generally welcome, to the human—especially to the human's friends and family if not from Sphinx. The bond continues to develop for some time after the initial "imprinting"; it becomes so close that strong emotions (rage, fear, anguish, etc.) in the human partner can often be detected in the treecat partner's body language and stance. Very strong emotions in the human can even incapacitate a bonded treecat.
It is not possible even for treecats to predict which human can (or will) bond, nor with which treecat; it is still less so for humans who have detected no differences between those who bond to treecats and those who do not despite opportunities to do so. After some hundreds of years of experiences, shared via the memory singers, treecats have come to understand that some have an urge to find and bond with humans; many have noticed the traits in themselves. The initial bonding rate was rather less than one human in 1 million, and has decreased with the increase of Sphinx' human population. Humans may be of nearly any age from child to adult when "adopted", though few human children actually are adopted. Treecats have been generally older, as they had not left their home clan's range, and so potentially encounter humans, until mature. This first changed when Nimitz and Samantha decided to raise their first kittens with humans, and then led a small group to Grayson.
Treecats are both empaths and telepaths with other treecats, and mated pairs form a permanent bond, though it is more complete than with humans since it is both telepathic and empathic, and "properly" supported from both ends. Mature treecats are monogamous; adolescents are somewhat more flexible. The range of the telepathic/empathic contact in both cases (treecat–treecat and human–treecat) is limited to at most a few kilometres, and decreases to mere "awareness" of the other at the extremes.
Bonded treecats stay physically close to their human as separation (particularly extended separation) beyond contact range is distressing, if temporarily endurable, for both. Separation between mated pairs is also possible but also distressing, and so is similarly rare.
Since there has been no noticeable tendency for bonded humans to join treecat clans high in the picketwood trees, bonding between a human and a treecat has always involved separation of the treecat partner from his/her clan, and indeed from essentially all treecat society, given the rarity of human bonded treecats. This abandonment of an existing social life is a measure of the intensity of the attraction and of the bond for treecats. Few bonded treecats have mated and produced kittens, which is likely another such indication.
Bonded treecats prefer to ride on their human's shoulder when possible; it has become traditional. Given the size and sharpness of their claws, and the limitations of a human shoulder as a treecat "saddle", this poses problems which are usually solvable by installing armor cloth layers at appropriate locations in the human's clothing.
To an adopted human, and generally to anyone more than marginally perceptive who spends time in contact with a treecat, it becomes rapidly apparent that treecats have definite personalities. Those who meet more than one usually realize that they have distinct personalities as well. They are not pets in any sense of the word, even with respect to an adopted/bonded human. Problems result when humans make the unfortunate inference that they are pets or are identical, and there have been a few, very rare, instances of adoptions which have failed due to the human partner coming to treat the treecat as a pet/possession. Until a bonded treecat learns enough about human society to "fit in", there can be difficulties as well for this reason. As they are rapid learners, and since they have a direct connection to the emotions of all humans within range, and a particularly close bond with their adopted human, nearly all treecats adapt to necessary aspects of human society (e.g., machinery dangers, doors and door locks, toilet conventions, etc) rather quickly. Treecats usually retain a bemused, if not incredulously baffled, attitude toward many human activities and practices, and put up with them largely for the sake of their adopted human, or for treecat-human relations generally, if not adopted.
Table manners are an example. Basic treecat table manners are suited to forest life in trees. They can become more than acceptable, by human standards, for human environments, even quite formal ones; more because they realize it matters to humans, especially their own human, than because they see much point in the whole business. A particular problem is that treecat teeth are not suited to coping at all well with fibrous foods such as celery, nor are their digestive arrangements well suited to such foods. Their devotion to celery is such, however, that their humans, and others, are rarely able to resist supplying them, despite their difficulties.
In general, their manners in human society are excellent, though absurd humans, and human absurdity, can sometimes provoke "violations" which are perhaps best understood as mild revenge or practical joke, though this may not be apparent to the "victim", who is likely to be somewhat thick to have evoked such a response. Almost never has any treecat committed an actual faux pas, much less a crime in human terms. Being able to sense emotions provides considerable immunity to such errors, though not from fixed and inaccurate expectations held by some humans.
Sense of "humor"
The typical treecat sense of humor is similar to, but not identical to, that of humans. Most are prone to levels of practical joke and prank that can be more than uncomfortable for the "victim", though their emotional sensitivity to even humans they are not bonded to precludes the more savage varieties. One such involved disassembly of a fabric treecat doll and artistic partial burial of the front and rear portions on either side of a garden furrow being dug by a robot plow. The gardener in charge of that plow has recovered from the shock.
They enjoy "wrestling" with their partners and others, and do so with enthusiasm and essentially perfect manners (i.e., claws retracted, biting restrained...). Some are fanatic Frisbee fans, and, having opposable thumbs and considerable strength, can throw with great finesse; being able to sense emotions in human Frisbee partners makes them particularly difficult to deceive "opponents". Treecat Frisbee fans regard canine (i.e., Terran dog) Frisbee players as seriously handicapped. "Frisbee keep-away" is a popular pastime for treecats playing with human children, as is "Catch the 'Cat" in which slower things such as adults and furniture are typically treated as part of the obstacle course. A favorite treecat maneuver in the latter is to escape being caught by going straight up the front or back of an onlooker (or some other more or less stationary "obstacle") at high speed, and then over the top. The onlooker is likely to be quite startled, but treecat control of their claws is excellent, and scratches (even damage to clothes) are very rare. The occasional example is better understood to one of the more strenuous practical jokes or less than lethal revenge than anything else. Since communication has been established, such reactions are less easy for humans to ascribe to a treecat "animal nature" and lack of intelligence; after all, they can now merely be asked.
Though they can swim, treecats dislike getting wet and regard human voluntary swimming (whether in pools or elsewhere) as an extreme example of human oddity; an actual fondness for swimming by particular humans is evidence of still further peculiarity. In at least one case, a human hang-gliding fan has helped her treecat partner to discover an unsuspected enthusiasm for aerial adventures hundreds of meters higher than the top of any Sphinxian tree. That treecat was also the first ever to have a spacesuit made and fitted specially for him; he has acquired considerable skill in using it, and its attitude and propulsion jets, to get around in airless microgravity environments. His maneuvering skill is exceptional, and he quite rapidly learned to take safety issues seriously (e.g., attitude and propulsion jet exhaust dangers to others)—all without, note carefully, the ability to communicate abstract concepts such as "vacuum".
They are not above purloining the occasional stuffed celery canape, nor of taking advantage of their "cuddly" qualities (in human eyes) with their partner's human acquaintances, or even of deliberate longterm "maneuvering" of humans whose hostility to their partner (or to them) might cause problems. In short, they can be effective "diplomats", if sometimes somewhat underhandedly so. It helps that they are fond of close contact with humans, especially from "their own" human, and of what might be, but should never actually be, thought of as "petting".
Independence of humans
Treecats are not tame nor inherently subordinate to their adopted human in any sense; they can and do make their own judgements about any matter they understand. Much of what humans do, and how they go about doing it, has made no sense to them, and they very clearly realize the limitations of their understanding, especially those treecats bonded with a human and living among humans. Nevertheless, they are, within those limits, voluntary companions albeit as the result of a poorly understood, if intense, specific attraction to, and bond to, a particular human.
However, they fully understand immediate physical threat, and can sense emotional hostility to them or a human from any human within range, and decide for themselves when and if action (perhaps violent and deadly) is required. They are even capable of noticing when humans have come under compulsion of various sorts, and when these are malevolent, of taking immediate direct action. These reactions are not, in many cases, under the complete control of their bonded partner (human or treecat). Treecats can and will take independent direct action in defense of themselves, their families, their fellow clan members, and on occasion other treecats generally. Any treecat is capable of taking, and strongly—instinctively—motivated to take, action in defense of its bonded human against any reachable threat, including other humans. Being very fast, extremely agile, very strong, and quite well armed, treecats can be deadly; treecats have killed several humans (generally in defense of others, including humans). Their judgements and actions are almost always reasoned, and—being able to read emotions—better informed than observing humans can be, though the reasoning is not necessarily on a basis clear to, nor approved by, humans, including their adopted human. Treecats are less ambivalent about violence (especially their own) than are humans. They regard a threat killed as a threat properly dealt with, and devote no further concern to it; their connection to emotional states of other living beings means there has been less doubt than among humans. Human methods and rules of coping with threats often make little sense to them and are put up with, as with table manners, for the sake of treecat-human relations or in individual cases an adopted human.
In some circumstances, they will act to defend one or more non-bonded humans, and have sometimes cooperated with other treecats and humans in doing so. Treecats have assisted in identifying and capturing or killing criminals, including some humans. In some cases, they have detained humans for human collection (i.e., by police). Hissing and growling, war-cry threatening, treecats do not appear in any aspect cuddly or cute—they are taken very seriously. In the case of treecat criminals, action is more direct and less abstract, almost certainly due to treecat telepathy and empathy.
In addition, especially when bonded to a human participant immersed in the situation, treecats generally understand the difference between ethical and unethical behavior, the necessity for emergency action to rescue others (either treecats or humans), and have a (rough by human standards) sense of justice. They also generally understand revenge, retaliation, hostility, and unreasonableness, even in human circumstances. Their sense of what is appropriate is less nuanced than that of most humans, and they are inclined to less abstract responses than most humans. The human in a bonded pair must provide perspective for both in such cases.
Treecats, and much of their habitat on Sphinx, have long had special legal status within the Star Kingdom of Manticore (and, of course, on Sphinx) as an intelligent species—however obscure the exact level of that intelligence had long been. The Ninth Amendment of the Star Kingdom's Constitution specifically protects them, and they have a status equivalent to a minor child within the Star Kingdom. This development has been aided (or perhaps abetted) by the fact that several Manticoran monarchs have been adopted by treecats. As of Elizabeth III, seven of the previous nine monarchs had been adopted. The Royal Manticoran Navy (and Manticoran society generally) have perforce made accommodations accordingly, if in some cases grudgingly and with little understanding. Early in Honor Harrington's service aboard ship as a Midshipwoman, there were no more than perhaps 16 adopted treecats aboard RMN ships on active duty, even after the then expansion caused by Havenite territorial ambitions and the prospective war between Haven and the Star Kingdom.
At least once, treecats were the object of a concerted (and almost successful) attempt to exploit them as experimental animals for research into their empathetic (and at the time conjectured telepathic) abilities. Only one living treecat was obtained for experimental purposes, and it died not long after capture. The research company behind the effort, The Richtman Corporation, was a covert project of Manpower Unlimited, the Mesa-based genetic slavery corporation, and was discovered to be so by a newsie (with Sphinx Forestry Service help behind the scenes). Since then, treecats have not faced anything publicly known which could be termed a species wide threat. The state of war between the People's Republic of Haven and the Manticoran Alliance may pose such a risk.
Elsewhere, they have no legal status at all, save that which all members of an intelligent species have under the Eridani Edict. As the Edict is an attempt, named after an unfortunate human-caused incident on that planet in which several billion died, to prevent species extinction or planetary bombardment as a result of human action, and is enforced (rather more than less as it is built into the League Constitution) by the Solarian League (and some others), it is less than clear how it would apply to a single individual outside his (her, or other, depending) native environment. The status of an individual treecat outside the Star Kingdom is thus not well settled either in practice or law; there are exceedingly few, in any case. The status of treecats outside human space is still less clear but, as no such treecats are known, this is currently irrelevant.
On Sphinx, the Sphinx Forestry Commission has special responsibilities for controlling human interference, and most interactions, with them in the "wild". The Commission is responsible for the one-third of Sphinx which has been reserved for their exclusive use. Its Sphinx Forestry Service stations (especially the headquarters in the Copperwalls region near Twin Forks) serve as rendezvous points for treecats wishing to meet humans, and vice versa. They attract treecats particularly interested in humans and have been the site of many adoptions. Sphinx Forest Service Rangers have the highest rate (and absolute number) of adoptions of any single human group.
Treecats refer to themselves as The People. In their native forests, they are organized into territorial clans of up to several hundred, centered on "memory singers" with special and uncommon mental qualities who serve as cultural and historical "archives" for the group and, jointly, for the species. Otherwise, treecats would have no cultural memory, being without physical records (e.g., writing). Memories are retained and replayed in great detail by memory singers and go back several hundred T-years from the present. Governance is by elders chosen for technical ability (e.g., hunting or scouting); the memory singers in a band (rarely more than a few, and always female) have automatic membership. Other choice criteria are obscure.
Young treecats are very active, inquisitive, and exploratory. Appalling is an adjective frequently used by humans unable to keep up, or exhausted from trying. Raising, training, and teaching them is typically done with the assistance of other adults in the Clan—a sort of "honorary aunt/uncle" relation. In the case of kittens whose parent(s) are bonded with human(s), the usual procedure has long been to foster with Clan-resident relatives or other members of one of the parent's clans when old enough. In the case of kittens living off Sphinx (thus far a very very small number), provisions were needed for such assistance as humans are not small enough to follow exploratory treecat kitten where they are wont to wend, nor to get them out of the scrapes to which they are prone once they have went, and so cannot adequately substitute. Nor are humans able to communicate with them as necessary about such important things as stalking and pouncing technique, mental manners, and so on.
Their civilisation had not developed advanced technology but was at or beyond the equivalent of the Terran Stone Age well before humans arrived (e.g., controlled open fire, worked stone and wood tools, weaving, cordage technology (e.g., knots, nets, lines, etc.), ...), though they had not developed farming, being fundamentally territorial hunter-gathering bands. They were, and remain, conscious tool makers and users, though the range of their tools is rather wider since encountering humans. They also are now deliberate farmers, though in a small way, post human settlement on Sphinx. Trade between clans (of tools, materials, crafts, food, etc) is of long standing, considerably preceding contact with humans. Post human contact, treecats have acquired new tools (e.g., metal knives) directly from humans, and considerable practical knowledge from them as well. They have also acquired an unsuspected taste for a kind of musical grace note. They are fans of wind chimes and at least some clans have mounted such chimes (acquired of course from humans) near their home trees.
Treecats are socially and culturally cautious (i.e., "conservative" in the little change sense, not any political one), and have not shown the innovation, restlessness, or recklessness characteristic of humans either individually or collectively. Those few treecats who have been innovative are especially important, particularly since contact with humans.
Treecats made a planet-wide decision to stay hidden when human settlers arrived on Sphinx; memory singers have preserved scouts' observations of the first human pathfinders, some hundreds of T-years before the era of the Honoverse stories, including the killing of an attacking hexapuma (a 10 meter long, six-legged, sabre toothed tiger analog, with a permanent seriously bad attitude) with "one loud noise" from a stick at a considerable distance. The incident occurred before treecats of the time had come to a conclusion about revealing themselves.
This revelation of human capacities suggested reticence both then and again several hundred years later when humans returned, this time to stay. Treecats managed to remain entirely unsuspected by humans for several T-decades during which human settlements were established across Sphinx, until the bonding possibilities between humans and treecats were accidentally discovered, as an indirect result of the newly noticed, and inexplicable, low level disappearance of celery from gardens and greenhouses throughout Sphinx (eventually discovered to be due to treecat raiders). Even thereafter, their intelligence level and social arrangements remained deliberately and intentionally obscured, as the result of another explicit planet-wide choice which remained effective for several hundred T-years despite many adoptions throughout that period, and despite many human attempts to study them, their society, and potential. Their cooperation with intelligence measurements and attempts to teach language (via hand signing on at least two occasions) was deliberately obstructive, to the utter frustration of every scientist involved. Adopted humans were of equally little help, since they were universally reluctant to convey to other humans what they had learned, or suspected, about their companions. The combination kept treecats and their abilities veiled for a very long time. On the treecats' side, this strategy was proposed by Sings Truly of Bright Water Clan, sister to Lionheart (Climbs Quickly) the first treecat to bond to a human, and one of the most important memory singers in the history of The People. A new policy has supplanted this only with Samantha and Nimitz' decision to raise their kittens off Sphinx, with Honor Harrington's assistance.
With the coming of war between the Republic of Haven and the Star Kingdom, treecats became aware that Sphinx might experience a disaster to the detriment of the entire People. Innate conservatism made the implications of this fact less apparent, and it was only when Samantha and Nimitz' kittens were born that a treecat posed it seriously. The issue was raised in Sings Truly's Bright Water Clan, and after some discussion, a decision taken to use Steadholder Harrington's good offices to establish a small and experimental colony off Sphinx. When a group of adult treecats arrived unheralded at the Harrington homestead in the Copperwalls on Sphinx and made clear they would be leaving Sphinx with Nimitz and Steadholder Harrington, both the Sphinx Forestry Commission and the RMN Admiralty officially disapproved of the departure of any treecat from Sphinx, except Nimitz, to Grayson with Admiral Harrington. And especially not for any long term stay. And especially not kittens. No treecat saw a problem—including those bonded with two of the SFS Rangers sent to protect the non-bonded treecats from some sort of obscure exploitation by Admiral Harrington—and they made their lack of concern plain. The Admiralty was less easy to convince than the Foresters, and Admiral Harrington had to provide transport for them to Grayson.
Before this group decided to relocate, the only other adult treecat unbonded to a human ever to leave Sphinx was Richtmann's captured 'cat.
Treecats are well known symbols in the Star Kingdom of Manticore, and due to Honor, on Grayson. The Harrington Steading Baseball Club, a recent expansion team member of the Grayson Major Leagues, adopted the name The Treecats at Steadholder Harrington's insistence (the alternative was The Salamanders which she found rather less than acceptable). Thus far, they have given a valiant effort without much success. Despite the name, however, no treecat is on the team, baseball being rather closely tuned to human athletic abilities.
For a list of notable treecats, see List of treecats.
Real world influence
David Weber's treecats have inspired artist M. A. Buss to make stuffed treecats. One of them was sold at the 2004 Worldcon Art Show in Boston.
cs:Stromová kočka fr:Chat sylvestre de Sphinx pl:Treecat