I'm currently playing a Tabaxi Swashbuckler/Battlemaster (and I love it). I'm thinking of taking the Magic Initiate feat and thus gain access to the Find Familiar spell. I thought it would be funny to have a cat familiar and have my character think of it as a kind of miniature avatar of himself.

But even though that familiar technically would be a spirit and not an actual cat, I still had to ask myself whether it would make any sense for my character to think like that. I am hence looking for answers from official sourcebooks to the following question:

How closely are Tabaxi and ordinary cats related? Do they maybe have a special bond, or would they rather find each other a bit odd?

Even though Tabaxi clearly have feline characteristics, the rules notably do not mention any special relation to cats (for example proficiency in animal handling when dealing with cats), so maybe Tabaxi are no closer to cats than humans are to orang-utans? To me, it seems like Tabaxi resemble cats far more than humans resemble apes, though. I imagine that it might feel odd to look at a creature that is essentially a smaller copy of oneself with an underdevelopped intellect. Maybe, for this reason, Tabaxi don't like to be associated with ordinary cats? Or maybe they just make them feel uncomfortable? I'm really not sure what to expect, so I was hoping that some rule book or adventure module mentions any kind of interaction between Tabaxi and ordinary cats.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "I imagine that it might feel odd to look at a creature that is essentially a smaller copy of oneself with an underdevelopped intellect." I'm thinking differently about this now that I'm a father. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 1, 2022 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


Tabaxi were created at least partially in the image of cats

According to Volo's Guide to Monsters, tabaxi were created by a specific divine figure called the Cat Lord (p.113). Thus, tabaxi are not evolved from cats, nor do they share a common ancestor. However, the Cat Lord "gifts each of his children with one specific feline trait." Not many examples are given beyond curiosity, presented as an explanation for tabaxi adventurers.

One could imagine that tabaxi might consider cats somewhat divine or special for this reason, though the exact relationship would likely depend on what trait was perceived to have been inherited.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That is helpful information indeed, but it does not explain how Tabaxi and cats interact with each other. Do you know of any sourcebooks that mention anything about this? (Or should that maybe be a new question?) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2020 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarsPlastic Is there a particular reason you think they would have an unusual mode of interaction? This answer is clear that their only relation is thematic, there are no rules suggesting any special relationships... I think that your analogy of human characters and apes might be the right angle here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Mar 11, 2020 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ As best as I can tell, this is not defined. Volo's Guide emphasizes how mercurial tabaxi are, and we haven't yet seen them in their cultural home. I think the specifics of how your tabaxi should act here are firmly up to you. \$\endgroup\$
    – 1600hp
    Mar 11, 2020 at 15:17

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