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Kzinti on the cover of The Man-Kzin Wars book
The Kzinti Hegemony emblem (Star Trek universe).
Kzinti (Lower Decks)/(Star Trek: The Animated Series)

The Kzinti (singular: Kzin) are a humanoid felid race in Larry Niven's Known Space universe.


The Kzinti were initially introduced in Niven's story The Warriors (originally appearing in Worlds of If [1966], collected in Tales of Known Space [1975], and The Soft Weapon [1967], collected in Neutron Star [1968]).

A Kzin character, Speaker-to-Animals (later known as Chmeee), subsequently played a significant role in Niven's Hugo and Nebula award-winning Ringworld (1970) and Ringworld Engineers (1980), giving considerably more background on the Kzinti and their interactions with human civilizations.

Following Ringworld, Niven permitted several friends to write stories taking place in the time following The Warriors but before The Soft Weapon; These stories (including a handful by Niven) were collected in some volumes of The Man-Kzin Wars, which eventually reached fourteen volumes, the first published in June 1988. Kzinti also appears in Juggler of Worlds (2008) and Fate of Worlds (2012), novels within the Fleet of Worlds series (cowritten with Edward M. Lerner).

Star Trek[edit]

The Kzinti appeared in The Slaver Weapon, an episode of the Star Trek: The Animated Series, adapted by Niven from his short story The Soft Weapon. Star Trek: Enterprise producer Manny Coto wanted to include the Kzinti in an episode called Kilkenny Cats, had the series continued beyond its fourth season. The Kzinti are also mentioned in dialog in the seventh episode of Star Trek: Picard, Nepenthe. The Kzinti returned to the Stak Trek universe on the animated series Lower Decks, with the appearance of Ensign Taylor, a Kzin crewmember onboard the series main starship, the USS Cerritos.

The Kzinti were incorporated into the Star Fleet Universe where they control a powerful empire known as the Kzinti Hegemony, mortal enemies of that universe's Lyran Star Empire. It alludes that the Kzinti and Lyrans share a common ancestry, a claim both sides violently reject.

Although not officially related to other feline race in the Star Trek universe, the Caitians (Lieutenant M'Ress [Star Trek: The Animated Series], Commander T'Ana, MD [Lower Decks]), in the Star Trek Log series, written by Alan Dean Foster, hints that the Caitians may be an offshoot race of archaic Kzinti (where both genders are intelligent) who have renounced conquest. According to a memory of Lieutenant M'Ress, secondary communications officer in the Star Trek Logs, the Caitian and Kzinti languages are similar enough that M'Ress can pass as a Kzin just long enough for her to send off a distress call from a Kzinti raiding ship.


The Kzin is extremely aggressive, using the "scream and leap" philosophy of warfare, and, at the point of first contact with humans, technologically advanced. They nearly subjugated the human race after first contact, especially since humans, at that point in time, had become a pacifist race.

The Kzinti are a male-dominated society, so much so that the females of the race were specifically bred to be of lesser intelligence than the males. A female's only role in their society is to be a breeder.

In the Man-Kzin Wars series of anthologies, several stories describe the Zoo-Planet Kzinti, an isolated, low-technology, population which has intelligent females.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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