People often misunderstand what the old saying about a cat having nine lives means. The cats prefer to keep it a secret, as most humans can’t be trusted with information so fragile and precious, but there are exceptions.
The merchant who shares his leftover fish. The young girl that hides littler after litter of newborn ones in her room until they find new homes. The old man with scars who still has enough kindness to open his shed to let them slip in from the rain. Boys, teenagers, mothers, warriors, brothers - some are trusted.
Exceptions, yes, few nowadays and rare, but honoured all the more.
So nine lives there are indeed. Each cat is born with them and no matter the time or place, they are lost easily.
This is where the story ends for most people.
But for those who are trusted, those who wake up one morning and find a weird taste in their mouth, the scent of a forest never touched by human hands in their nose, and a strange lingering touch of whiskers on their forehead - they know the truth.
Nine lives for this world, is what all our legends used to say.
You, friend of cats, know the ancient, almost forgotten sayings.
You know of cat eyes shining in the deepest night when they shouldn’t be able to. You know of cats staring past your ear, at that forbidden spot right by the frayed corner of your vision, and you fear that if you look, your cat won’t be able to stare it into submission anymore. You don’t look. The cat purrs. You’re safe.
The kittens have all their lives still. They do not look at the edgewalking beasts that whisper through their humans’ house. It will take time until they fall, hurt, learn.
The oldest cats know so much that a touch of their paw will make an entire village shudder. Their quiet voices cast spells. Let them roam. You cannot imagine the things that flee from them as they walk in silence.
Cat friend, you know it in your heart.
You know of the paths they walk that human feet can’t find.
You know of the nights they vanish and return with the scent of blood, earth and salt in their fur, and when your fingers touch their coat, a cold shiver awakes your skin.
Sometimes, they hear things. You don’t know what, but you know enough to let them sit in front of your house or room, paws tucked under, dark stare never leaving an invisible spot in the air.
And when you float between sleep and life, when you’re unlucky enough to claw at the edge of death before you’re ready to go…
Then maybe, friend of cats, you’ll feel a brush of fur along your legs. Maybe, just before you startle with awe in your heart and wake once more, the same pair of eyes that should sleep by your side winks at you from another world.
If you ever feel bad about English being your second language and not knowing some words, just remember I, a person who’s first language is English, forgot the word for “foot” and said “My human paw hurts.”
In the wild, Hunters often bond via social grooming; well-timed flattery can encourage an otherwise antisocial hunter to engage. As they tend to perform better when confident, this is also a useful battlefield tactic.
2) Pick up the tab
Hunter social dynamics are built upon a complex system of favor-trading, posturing, and outright lies and bribery. The gesture of paying for a bar tab is a good way to ingrain yourself with the “Pack.”
TIP: lay ground rules early and be wary of semantic traps before offering, otherwise you may find yourself with empty pockets. For example, say “Your next drink is on me, if you order the same thing you just had within the next thirty seconds” vs. “Drinks are on me.”
3) Encourage healthy competition
Hunters are often motivated by the opportunity to show up Warlocks. If there is a Hunter on your fireteam, suggest low-stake wagers or other competitions to instill in your Hunter the desire to act. Otherwise, they may be reluctant to engage in group activities or patrols, and can become less inclined to socialize in the future. In extreme cases, a poorly-socialized Hunter can grow sulky and lazy. Intentionally losing on occasion will inspire your Hunter to double down on their attempts to outdo your successes.
1) Express outright disbelief
Asking for a story is an excellent way to ingratiate yourself with a Hunter, and most story-tellers respect healthy skepticism about their tall tales, as this gives them an opportunity for further posturing. Be wary, however, of outright disbelief. Responses are unpredictable, and range wildly between Hunters: back-slapping good humor is relatively common, but so is immediate violence and the occasional mating proposition.
2) Offer anything for free
Favors and verbal bartering, while a necessary element of Hunter interaction, must be granted judiciously. It should be made clear that, even if you do not expect immediate repayment in kind, you do expect the favor to be returned. For example, taking on a part of a Hunter’s workload without establishing that you expect to be recompensed somehow, at some point in the future (remember to clarify terms as you deem necessary), is a good way to both lose the respect of your Hunter and encourage bad behavior. Remember: you must work hard early on to instill good habits in your Hunter.
3) Make a promise without knowing what you’re promising
On a similar note, never accept a verbal contract before you are completely certain what your Hunter is requesting of you. For example, on the subject of favors, the proper response to a Hunter asking if you will “Do [them] a favor” is not “Yes.” It is: “What did you have in mind?”
It is important to stay vigilant: even such throwaway terms as “Sure, I’ll help” can be construed as binding. Breaking a promise carries a serious stigma in Hunter society, and is a good way to find yourself ostracized or worse.
My cat was jumping in a binbag so I was trying to get a picture and when my mum asked why I was so determined I said that I wanted to be relatable and post it saying “when your cat is you” and then my mum WITHOUT HESITATION replies “let’s put him in a closet then”