Terragen quadruped mammalian carnivore (family Felidae), domesticated by humans since the time of the ancient Egyptians. A popular pet and companion animal from the Industrial Age onwards, cats accompanied man into space from the Information Age onwards. They were also, along with dogs, apes, and dolphins, among the first animals to be augmented, provolved, rianthophiled, and in other ways incorporated into Terragen civilization not just as subsapients but as sophonts.
Cat provolves and splices (which are always bipedal and usually with hybrid feline-hominid features) were treated variously, depending on the polity they inhabited. Even as early as the early Interplanetary Period, some polities (especially utopian non-terrestrial ones) awarded all splices full citizenship. Others were more reluctant. A few cats formed their own societies, but these mostly solitary creatures seemed to prefer the company of hu. Many cats - originally baseline or space adapted forms, but later also splices and provolves - accompanied terragen humans deeper into space, to the Oort cloud, the nearest stars, and beyond, as their contemplative nature made them perfectly suited to being a part of deep space exploration.
By the Second Federation era, cats had been fully provolved countless times by cat-lovers, and several clades of felid provolves, such as the Keelan, have been sufficiently socialized to establish their own polities. But these races were exceptions, and most cats prefer to accompany hu as equal crew-members, rather than set up societies with their own kind.
Many traders and relativist ships will feature at least one cat (of varying degrees of provolve, hybridization, augmentation, and sapience) among its crew. Although popular legend derives this custom, which has become almost a fetish for some superstitious traders, from the time that baseline cats were kept by Old Earth sailors to keep their ships clear of rodents, it seems rather to be derived from late Federation Age felinophile relativists.
For reasons non-felinophiles find puzzling, female cat provolves and splices are in very great demand with humans as erotic escorts (exceeding even rabbit provolves in that role), artist models, companion beings, and even assassins.