Obsydian, thank you for sharing so much of your personal story here. A manual cat is very specific. I'd never heard of those cats before and had to google. How did you become aware of this identity? Did you know of those cats before you realised you're therian or did this identity present itself to you and you researched it afterwards?

It's my pleasure, since it's one of those topics that is very misunderstood (especially thanks to a certain popular blog site...)

I have to say first that I'm not sure WHY I have the manul/pallas cat as a theriotype, it's one of those things you cannot choose for yourself. Many people don't know the why or how of this whole thing, and that is ok. We are still learning. For some it's psychological, for some it's spiritual.

I want to add that I also consider myself a polymorph, meaning I can take the phantom/mental form of most animals when needed (I've given this ability a job in my own animal spirit work! Think shamanic shapeshifting.) This has caused a lot of confusion as to WHAT I was throughout my life.

I didn't know about these cats to start off with. Back in grade school, I went through a lot of theriotype changes while discovering what I was. Was I a cat? (I should have just stayed there...) A gryphon? Dragon? Leopard? Body shape was wrong, ear shape was wrong, I was not that big, I was not that fast.... It went on and on.

It was actually maybe 2-3 years ago when I discovered a picture of this cat online. There was an immediate connection. As a regular cat, the ears didn't feel right. They were too high up and not the right shape. When I saw the manul, it was right! The phantom ears I felt matched up perfectly. The size, the tail, the temperament at times... the preference for a cold climate and ambush hunting, just so many things fit together. The puzzle fit together and I've finally settled down, as it were.

Thank you for your questions!