Black Panther Inspiration?
Could it be that the imagination for the "Shadowcats" came from the "Black Panthers"? Larger than cougars, smaller than tigers, and even it's a little bit hidden, the markings on a black panther are visible, like the stripes of a "Shadowcat"! --Exodianecross (talk) 10:36, 16 September 2015 (CDT)
I've always imagined shadowcat as a GRRM's own creation, inspired by w:Smilodon , w:Snow leopard and other felids. GRRM often uses Pleioscene megafauna as inspiration for his creatures ( Direwolwes w:Direwolf, Coldhands' s elk).