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The Kzin (plural Kzinti) are a fictional, very warlike and bloodthirsty race of Felinoid aliens in Larry Niven's Known Space series. They also appeared, along with allusions to slavers and statis boxes, in The Slaver Weapon, an episode of written by Niven and were incorporated in the universe of Star Fleet Battles although have not otherwise mentioned in the mainstream Star Trek universe.

The instruction manual for the PC game Star Fleet Command clearly refers to the Kzinti by name in the background story for the rival race, the Lyrans. This race is introduced in by simply changing the name of the race to Mirak.

Kzinti are thought to have influenced the creation of the similarly Felinoid Kilrathi, the primary antagonists of the popular Wing Commander video game series of early-to-mid-nineties. Whether this is true or not, a small part of Wing Commander II takes place in a region of space called the Niven Sector.

Warning: Plot details follow.

Kzin are evolved from a plains hunting cat, stole their current space-faring technology, and bred (most) of their own females into sub-sapience. They are larger than most humans, they have large membrane ears, a cylndrical torso without a spine, and large fangs and claws. A small percentage of Kzinti are stunted and exploited addictive telepaths, and they aren't legally allowed to breed.

They are the first on-going alien contact that humanity has within the Known Space universe. The onset of their relationship with humanity ends the golden era, where humanity had almost completely succeeded in re-writing history into a non-violent whitewash, and where organized violence was only known about by roughly 1 in 10 people, and there was no interpersonal violence, except occasional out-bursts in the asteroid belt where medical and psychological care were spread too thinly.

The Kzinti contact a laser-driven exploration ship, with vast technical superiority, gravity planers, telepathy, and a vast empire. They attempt to kill the human crew in a flashy manner when the telepath learns that they don't even understand the concept of weapons, and fail.

In several different stories by other authors playing in the universe we see a number of Man-Kzin wars take place.

Eventually we learn that the Kzinti were deliberately led to encounter humanity by the Pierson's Puppeteers. The puppeteers hoped that the culling of more than 1/4-1/3 of the aggressive members of the Kzin race with every war would result in a more peaceful race.