Of course, though, feline shape-shifters are not unique to Malay culture. African legends abound with werelions and werepanthers. Werejaguars, meanwhile, played a central role in the Mesoamerican cultures of ancient Mexico and Central America. And, more broadly, modern psychiatry acknowledges the phenomenon of lycanthropy as a rare and understudied psychological disorder.
In fact, according to diagnostic criteria, clinical lycanthropy is a culturally bound manifestation of schizophrenia. Symptoms include hallucinations of turning into an animal, disorganized speech and animal-like behavior and noises. However, the “Pahang werecat” was clearly not a hallucination. So what was it?