That’s right; I want to grow up to be a shifter. Why you ask? Well, unlike romance authors, actresses and fire fighters, I’d be pretty unique. Seriously, can you name one leopard shifter you know personally? Hmmm? There you go, I’d be special. Before I go into the details of why a leopard and not one of the myriad other big (or small) cats and why not wolves – which seem more popular in literature – my first challenge would be to actually figure out how to become a shifter. I’m pretty sure there are no classes offered on this at my local community college. I’m not sure the whole biting thing (à la werewolves) works for cat shifters and cat bites are just nasty. I don’t think I have the right genetics. I grew up 480 km (300 miles) north of the geographic center of North America and I never once saw any leopards around there so I doubt I have leopard shifting relatives. I’m thinking my best bet may be to find a mad scientist at one of the local universities who can do some genetic splicing for me. I’ll have to make some calls.
What is the appeal of a leopard you ask? Besides looking damn sleek and attractive, a leopard is seven times stronger than a human. That could be handy. You never know when you are going to need to elbow someone aside to get that last ticket for Cirque du Soleil *mmmm, super bendy boys* or to fight your way off of a burning subway train. Leopards are solitary secretive creatures and this plays well with my introvert nature. They can purr. Would that not be cool? Leopards are carnivores and I love me some meat. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) A nice pork chop, a grilled steak, some roasted chicken. Ahhhhh. I could climb trees and I could walk a tight rope thanks to my super balancing tail. Hell, I could join Cirque du Soleil. *mmmm, being up close and personal with super bendy boys* Ahem.
Why not a tiger? Everyone loves tigers, it’s always the answer to “your favourite animal” in Facebook quizzes. Meh, tigers are old hat. Everyone knows tigers, likes tigers, there are movies about tigers. They are boring and overdone. The only thing more overdone than tigers? Lions. Thanks for that Disney. Why not a house cat? Really? Sure they live an easy life but its not exactly a thrill-a-minute existence and the size prohibits me taking out people who annoy me.
Jaguar? Okay, that has potential but it’s a bit small as well. Snow leopard? Umm, snow? They live in the cold, they like the cold. I don’t think even a mad scientist could manipulate my genes enough to make that one a reality. Cheetah? They have small heads and freakishly long legs, its not that attractive. And while it can purr, it can’t roar and roaring is nearly as cool as purring. So no, Cheetah is out. I hate running anyway. So that really only leaves leopard as the logical choice for me.
But … but … but you say, what about wolves? Everyone loves wolf shifters. Look at the popularity of J.L. Langley’s With/Without series. Yeah, okay, I love it too, but if you think tigers and lions are overdone, wolves are way beyond. Good wolf shifters, bad wolf shifters, even Harry Potter had a werewolf for heaven’s sake. And wolves are pack animals. Having to live with a whole bunch of people day in and day out. *shudder* I’d be claiming lone wolf status in no time flat. And the politics. Sheesh. Who’s the alpha, who’s the beta, who’s the omega, who’s the delta (I made that up but I love the Greek alphabet)? I work in government, I get tons of politics on a daily basis, I’m not going to add to the headache. Also canines in general are hyper, noisy, drool, chase cars and can be domesticated. Have you ever seen a truly domesticated cat? They may give the impression of domestication, but at night they lay there thinking of ways to slit your throat with a flick of their pinky claw.
So there is my reasoning for becoming a leopard shifter when (if?) I grow up. If I can get hooked up with that mad scientist and it works I’d be happy to forward his name to you. What shifter genes would YOU like to have?