Blue-Streaked Station Cat
The blue-streaked station cat is a mid-sized variety of domestic cat bred by the human population of the Cobalt Protectorate for life in spaceships, space stations, and cyclers. These specially bred and genetically engineered animals are prized for their intelligence, calm demeanor, and utility in pest control. Many blue-streaked station cats are also augmented, rendering them capable of feats of sentience on par with their canine (though not avian) counterparts.
The defining features of the blue-streaked station pedigree are intermediate size, short, dark fur with streaks of blue-black (similar to the hair color of some Evermornan humans), longer fur near the back of the jowls ('mutton chops'), large eyes, and a large, triangular cranium.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Blue-streaked station cats have been subjected to genetic engineering so that they can survive on shipboard algae supplies if required; unlike most terrestrial breeds, the blue-streaked station variety is not an obligate carnivore. The cats do still love the taste of small prey of all sorts, especially mice and rats, and they are often employed as pest control agents aboard spacecraft. Unfortunately, unaugmented blue-streak station cats are incapable of distinguishing between regular birds (wild prey which may be eaten) and the augmented corvids that sometimes serve aboard stations and long-haul spacecraft (crew members which may not be eaten). For this reason, the variety isnot typically allowed aboard the same installations as augmented corvids unless similarly augmented and, thus, controlling their cravings.
In addition to the typical pest control and companionship roles fulfilled by other cats, specially-trained or augmented blue-streaked station cats may also be employed in a variety of maintenance and inspection roles aboard spacecraft. The lithe body of a cat is capable of squeezing into tight spaces normally reserved for drones or probe instruments, while the creature's sharp vision can be used to spot changes in low-light environments that human crew members might miss. A cat's sense of hearing is also sensitive to frequencies of sound undetectable to human ears, meaning they can hear when machinery starts acting funny or when a pressure membrane is leaking. Augmented cats can even perform limited repairs themselves, though the lack of opposable thumbs presents a problem for repairs beyond the level of spraying foam into a micrometeorite puncture or guiding the ends of loose wires through conduits. A human handler with a brain-computer interface and the right training can coordinate several augmented cats in scouting roles during boarding actions and law enforcement inspections, though augmented dogs are preferred in the latter role due to their superior sense of smell.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Blue-streaked station cats have all the usual faculties of a common housecat, but have improved low light vision and ability to orient themselves in a micro-gravity environment. Members of the variety do not panic when exposed to micro-gravity due to a combination of habituation and an inborn tendency to rely on sight cues more than the vestibular sytem to orient oneself. This latter trait can be a liability in tall planetside structures, as, unlike normal cats, a blue-streaked station cat may attempt to point itself towards a nearby wall rather than the ground during a fall.