Ailuranthropy: Move over lycans

June 4, 2008 at 8:36 am (AJ Hampton, General)

Shape shifting isn’t just for wolves anymore.

Ailuranthropy refers to creatures (werecats) that are described as shapeshifters who are similar to werewolves, except that they turn into creatures that are based on some species of feline as opposed to a wolf. In my upcoming Cassidy Keller novels the feline shifters will be referred to as Ailurans for this very reason.

As the popularity of shape shifting novels increase there is a calling for different species of animals. Felines, dragons, birds, etc. I really enjoy seeing how different authors work to incorporate these animals into the worlds they’ve created.

Many of our authors on Shape Shifter Romance have already started to branch out.

My book Tempting Sin features a shape shifting tiger as the hero. In my upcoming novella, Harnessing the Moon, both the heroine and hero are tigers fighting against the pull of the moon and the need to seek a mate. Will I always stick with tigers? No, but I will focus on different species of large cats: Jaguars, leopards, lions… You can even expect to see some jungle fever between the different species. Before Cassidy meets her true love, she (an ailuran) has an affair with a lycan (a wolf).

I love wolves, I do, and I enjoy reading about them. They are beautiful, sleek creatures that have a fascinating social structure which creates a million different plot bunnies in my head. But I also enjoy broadening the genre of shape shifting.

A question for authors: Those of you who primiarly write wolf fiction, do you ever think about branching out to different species? Why or why not?

A question for readers: What lesser known animal would you enjoy reading about?

Totally unrelated save the date reminder!! I’m having an “All Author Bash” on June 27th.

A lot of us from Shape Shifter Romance will be there talking about our upcoming releases and posting excerpts. Last count, there were 45 authors, a number or reviewer and some publishers attending as well! So, save the date and drop by to win some fun prizes, play some games and meet new authors.

AJ Hampton


  1. Teresa D'Amario said,

    I hadn’t heard the term Ailuranthropy before. Going to have to check that out! Interesting. Thanks for the info. I love this post. Oddly enough I wrote a tiger book, but going back to the wolves. I still have ideas to write more “kitty cats”. Have one I’ve already started. But first the wolves are calling. YOu’ve heard of “Call of the moon?” This is “call of the wolves.”

  2. AJ said,

    There is also a broad term, Therianthropy (from n. therianthrope and adj. therianthropic, part man and part beast, from the Greek therion, θηρίον, meaning “wild animal” or “beast”, and anthrōpos, άνθρωπος, meaning “man”) refers to the metamorphosis of humans into animals. (Sited from Wikipedia).

    Call of the wolves, I like it. ((Hugs)) AJ

  3. annette said,

    loved your blog i love shapeshifter books, i read one monday about beavers it was good, so yes the authors are starting to branch out with all kind of animals, but my foavorite are still the big cats and wolves, you know i would to see one with dolphins and mythology. thanks for great blog.

  4. Savanna Kougar said,

    Wow, I didn’t know that word existed. I can’t resist writing wolfie or big cat tales. And I’ve written a stallion shifter story which is due to be published. And I know of several horse shifter stories currently. But I’d luv to write about a lot of different animals, and read those shifter stories as well. Although, I have to admit I don’t think a beaver hero of heroine would have occurred to me.

  5. Pamela K. Kinney/Sapphire Phelan said,

    I write both werewolves and other werebeasts, like the werelions in my novella, Beast Magic. So yeah, I do. Next novella sequel to B.M is wereleopards. Last one will be werewolves.
    And shapahiftersw can be all kinds–even aliens.
    Sapphire Phelan

  6. kittyb78 said,

    Until a week ago I hadn’t heard of the term Ailuranthropy.

    Until recently it’s all been refered to as Lycanthropy {Which isn’t just wolves, it’s also been were-cats} Awesome article. i looked up were-cat mythology around the world and did a post on it too for my blog.

    I’ll link to yours too. Awesome post, thanks for sharing it.

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