I am developing an antlered cat, and looking for some help determining the evolutionary advantages and disadvantages of certain physical characteristics.
The world is earth-like, and this particular species is only found on one island nation. The creature starts off very much like a cougar: 36 in to top of shoulders, large muscular body, obligate carnivore (meaning they only consume meat). I intend to have 3 sub species a shaggy kind, a sleek kind, then a mix (think Clydesdale with a beard)
I am looking for some insight on a few of the following:
Paw vs. Hoof
Level of sociability (I don't want a solitary creature, but not a large herd either)
Advantages of different styles of antlers (can go in to gender of antlered species i.e. female reindeer keep their antlers past "molting" season whereas males do not vs. moose)
Presence of mammary glands? (I'm not even sure if I know if deer/moose suckle their young)
Since they are an animal of prey, how would humans in this world see them? Majestic creatures, something to be feared?
Could a determined young sprite domesticate them, and if so would they be beasts of burden or for the purpose of food production?
(First post, hope I'm able to get this on topic)
What I have discovered about this animal:
Antlers are created via keratin production (similar to the North American Pronghorn), are vestigial. As well with the similarities to that species they are an even-toed ungulate, the toes having evolved like those of a pig (with non-retracting claws). Humans fear them, so they are not hunted for their meat. Not uncommon for two females to band together after litters are born,creating a small herd of 5-10 for half the year.