Kzinti Culture and Politics

Kzin Society

Each Kzinti family consists of a patriarch and his male decedents. Females are treated as non-sentient property in large harems. Females are favoured for breeding success (producing strong sons), not out of personal devotion. The status of the patriarch determines how large a harem each family group keeps. Most of the females are kept pregnant to maximise the number of heirs.

The Kzin social structure is similar to feudal Europe on Earth. The ruler of the empire is called The Patriarch, and he is the final arbitrator on all matters concerning the Empire, or Partriarchy. Other hereditary names are similar to nobile titles, identifying levels of nobility equivalent to dukes, barons, and so on. The current ruling family bears the Riit suffix at the end of their name. The Patriarchy calls the last war with Earth the "Fourth Truce with Man". The Patriarchy cannot comprehend why they have not been destroyed or enslaved by their former enemies, and consider their continued existance as a sign of weekness of their enemies, mankind.

Kzinti Names

Unlike Earthly feudal aristocracy, any Kzinti can earn a name. The current Patriarch did not earn his title through great deeds (though his acts of courage are countless), but by challenging and defeating his father, the old Patriarch, in single combat. Courageous acts that advance the Empire are grounds for a brave Kzinti to earn a new hereditary name to pass on to his descendents. A full name also means that the Kzinti is entitled to better education, land, a harem, and the breeding rights.

A Kzinti that has not earned a hereditary name is called by his profession, for example, Speaker-to-Animals or Slaver-Student; these Kzinti often have tattoos on their ears displaying proficiency. Kzinti with partial names like Chuft-Captain represent intermediate recognition of noble birth, substantial service, or conspicuous gallantry. Addressing a Kzinti by his previous job-bearing title is a grievous insult.

Female Kzinti are non-sentient. They cannot manage their lives without male supervision, and do very little except, eat, sleep, and breed. Ancient Kzinti females (re: "Cathouse", The Man-Kzin Wars Volume I), were just as intelligent as the males, but they proved too bothersome to the patriarchal and stronger males. Females were selectively bred to lose their aggression and intelligence, over a millenia.

Humans who have regular contact with Kzinti diplomats (the most "liberal" of Kzinti) find their reaction to intelligent females amusing.

Kzinti telepaths are forced addicts of a drug extracted from the sthondat lymph. Only one out of every thousand Kzinti telepaths retain their sanity, but become shivering neurotics. The effects of the drug are a major ordeal to even the most accomplished Kzinti telepaths; none will take a telepathy-inducing dose unless ordered. One dose of the drug lasts for eight hours, and the telepath must sleep for at least twenty hours afterward or suffer severe health problems.

Once under the influcence of the drug, the telepath lapses into a relaxed hypnotic state and can probe the minds of targets up to 2500 kilometers away. The ordeal is disgusting, painful, and exhausting for both the telepath and the target. Any person caught in the mental grip of a Kzinti telepath stiffens convulsively and experiences rolling waves of pain in the forehead and neck. The target may lose consciousness. Kzin telepaths can read the minds of any intelligent species except Bandersnatchi.

Kzinti telepaths are easily identified by their unkempt appearance, matted fur, and bouts of shivering. They sleep for most of their leisure hours. Their bedraggled, distraught appearance is shameful for a Kzinti.

Since the end of the last Man-Kzin war, Kzin telepaths are only encountered in espionage operations, piracy, and other illegal operations. Although new generations of Kzin born on Wunderland have set up their own Telepathic Investigation businesses. See The Man-Kzin Wars Volume X "Peter Robinson".

Kzin Government

Like many of Earth's governmental bodies, the Patriarchy keeps a great deal of information from its citizens, such as the secret to the Quantum II hyperdrive and the location of the Ringworld. Kzinti diplomats are often provided with these secrets, and many know more of mankind's relation to the Pak than most humans.

Kzin Religion

During the Man-Kzin Wars, a strange religious faction appeared within the Kzinti ranks, worshipping the ideal of Kdapt. Kdaptism preached that the Creator made humans and not Kzinti, in his own image. Though this religion was most often the venue of low-born families, there were a few Kzinti in the greater nobility who also subscribed to Kdaptism.

When Kdaptist disciples prayed, they wore masks of human skin in the hopes of confusing the Creator long enough for the Kzinti to win the war. Human psychologists suggest that hundreds of years of steady losses of their greatest warriors tore at the social and psychological infrastructure of the Kzinti race, who believed their destiny to be no less than domination of the universe. The disbelief created by the losses in turn created Kdaptism.