Kiarrcats are medium sized felines native to the world of Ryll. They are intelligent, able to manipulate objects with their paws, speak, and use magic.
There are ten different species of kiarrcat. Each is adapted to a different type of environment, meaning that between them all, you can find kiarrcats just about anywhere.
Physically, kiarrcats resemble bobcats or lynx. Their size ranges from approximately 50-60cm at the shoulder for the smallest species (waters) and just over one metre for the largest (polars) with the others fitting somewhere in between.
Features common to all species are a ruff around the cheeks, tufted ears, and a short, bobbed tail. Kiarrcats are quadrupeds, but may rear up on their kind legs to free their forepaws for manipulating objects. However they cannot walk in this stance.
A kiarrcat's forepaws are its hands. They have longer digits than a normal cat and the claws do not retract. Each forepaw has five digits - four "fingers", and an opposable "thumb" which is formed from what would normally be the dewclaw. The hindpaws are more catlike, with retractable claws and four digits. The only exceptions are the cave and mountain kiarrcats, which have opposable thumbs on all four feet.
Kiarrcats are not big cats and so do not roar, but they are capable of a wide range of mews, hisses, chirps, screams etc. These, along with posture and body language, are just as important to communication as spoken language.
Like most cats, kiarrcats have very well developed senses of smell and hearing, beyond the range of a human. They have colour vision and detail perception similar to a human in most species, which may explain their colourful coats. Some species, especially the caves, have very specialised senses.
Kiarrcats are mainly carnivorous, but unlike real cats, they are not obligate carnivores. However, their diet is stil mostly meat - perhaps about 70%, with the rest being made up of eggs, fruit, nuts, fungi, tubers etc. Kiarrs will often hunt for their prey and are capable of eating their kills raw, but many like to cook their food, and kiarrs have created a wide range of different dishes. They have domesticated many species to provide for their needs - see Technology
Colour and patterns
In terms of coat colour, kiarrcats are very variable. Their colours and markings range across the whole spectrum - a kiarrcat can be any colour, natural or not. The same goes for markings. Kiarrcats may have any combination of spots, stripes, patches, etc, or they may have no markings at all. The only limits are that they may not have unnatural shaped markings such as geometric shapes, symbols, letters etc.
Colours and markings are not dependent on species, gender, or any other factor. They are probably genetic to some extent as two related kiarrcats will usually have similar coats, but the exact mechanisms remain unknown.
Reproduction and aging
There are no major differences between the sexes, only that males may be a little bigger and heavier on average. The trend is revered in Polar and Savannah kiarrs with the females being larger, but again the differences are minor. Kiarrs don't see much of a difference between males and females in general, and most kiarrs don't consider any activities to be for one gender or another.
Young kiarrcats are born in litters of anywhere from one to three - any more than three is rare. They are born with their eyes closed and ears folded, and grow slowly over a period of many years, much like a human child. A kiarrcat is considered fully mature at around thirty years of age, although this varies widely from group to group, and the average lifespan is about 150 years.
Many kiarrcats live in groups of roughly 100 or so individuals, but the exact number is very flexible - polars and deserts, for example, live in much smaller groups as their habitat cannot support large numbers. Groups may be nomadic or stationary. Other kiarrcats may be part of a small band of individuals, or loners. Kiarrcats do not build cities as such, but mountainous areas, where different species can easily mingle due to the wide range of habitats on the slopes, are a close equivalent. There are no kiarrcat nations - their mountainside "cities" and the territories staked out by groups are the closest equivalants, and even these are usally flexible. As kiarrcats are able to shape and manipulate their environment to some extent, they like to build dens and other dwellings that blend in with their surroundings.
Being felines, kiarrcats are not as sociable as dogs or humans, but they are more sociable than most normal cats. They are socially flexible - most kiarrcats can manage living in solituide far better than a human can, but they are not cold or impersonal. Kiarrcats can and will form strong bonds with friends, family, and mates, and can be extremely loyal and honourable, but they do not have a strong pack instinct.
Kiarrcat technology is low, mainly because they can accomplish much of what they need with their magic. Examples of kiarrcat technologies include writing, basic vehicles such as carts and boats, basic metalworking, and some domesticated plants and animals.