Anything but your average housecat, the Khajiit have long been fan favorites of the Elder Scrolls fandom among the many playable races. But beyond their boundless enthusiasm for trading their wares and habitual tendency to refer to themselves in the third person, what do we really know about the culture of our endearingly strange feline friends?
Quite a bit, as it turns out. The Khajiit have a pretty expansive and well-developed amount of lore that is as intriguing as it is, at times, bizarre. If you've always had a soft spot for Tamriel's feline folk but have always wanted to know more, then keep scrolling to join us as we check out ten often overlooked facts concerning Khajiit culture, spirituality, and their general way of life. Who knows? Perhaps they'll come in handy for The Elder Scrolls VI.
10 There Are Several Different Breeds
Though we've only ever seen one or two particular forms of Khajiit over the course of our adventures within most of The Elder Scrolls titles, there are actually several different breeds of Khajiit with wildly different forms and features.
Most would be familiar with the Cathay, which were the main Khajiit breed seen in Oblivion and Skyrim. However, there are more than a dozen more, including the large, quadrupedal Senche-raht, often referred to as "battlecats" and ridden into battle. Conversely, there are also the diminutive Alfiq, which physically resemble common housecats.
9 The Moons Of Nirn Affect Them Drastically
Just as the Argonians have an affinity with the mystical Hist trees, the Khajiit have such a connection with the moons in Nirn's night sky. In fact, the alignment of these moons at the time of a Khajiit's birth will determine what sort of physical form it will take from among the many known breeds.
For this reason, it's entirely possible that a newborn Khajiit will look absolutely nothing like either of its parents, as their genetics have little to do with their physiology and appearance.
8 There Is A Unique Khajiit Known As The "Mane"
The Mane is a special and culturally important Khajiit born only under a very particular alignment of the moons. They are given much deference, functioning as a sort of spiritual leader and figurehead among their people.
Only a singular Mane can exist at a time, and it's widely believed that the Manes are actually of the same spirit, reincarnated into different bodies over time. This belief bears an uncanny similarity to the mythological figures of other Tamrielic cultures, such as the Dunmer's Nerevarine.
7 Moon Sugar Is A Central Part Of Their Diet
Moon Sugar is well known all over Tamriel as an incredibly potent intoxicant, and the greater majority of it is grown and cultivated by the Khajiit in Elsweyr. It's their most profitable export and a cornerstone of their economy. Naturally, they're quite fond of it, going so far as to incorporate it as a culinary ingredient in much of their cuisine.
Although they have a much greater appetite and tolerance for its effects, that isn't to say that they're immune to its euphoria-inducing "high," as it were. Though it requires higher dosage thresholds, the Khajiit are far from immune to what they refer to as the "sugar-fits."
6 They Have Spiritual Leaders Called Clan Mothers
Although great significance is placed on the Mane, a sort of ruling class among the Khajiit would seem to be largely a matriarchal body of individuals referred to as "Clan Mothers" that tend to the needs of their respective tribes.
It falls to the Clan Mothers to guide their tribes and see to their spiritual well-being. A few can be met in The Elder Scrolls Online, and there is a particularly illuminating book entitled Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter that showcases a Clan Mother explaining the Khajiit's take on creation mythology.
5 They're Not Fond Of Water
Who would've thought that cats don't enjoy being out on the water? Khajiit are obviously not totally averse to naval pursuits, but it's been indicated from some sources that they're not overly fond of the prospect.
There are some exceptions, of course, as there are examples of the more daring among the Khajiit taking to the "art" of piracy. However, it does go to some lengths in explaining their commitment to forming caravans over pursuing trade at sea.
4 They Named Their Homeland After An Old Proverb
The pronunciation of the Khajiit's homeland, Elsweyr, is uncannily similar to the pronunciation of "Elsewhere," and although it's a subject of some debate, it's entirely likely that similarity is no mere coincidence.
In fact, it might have been entirely intended. Elsweyr received its name after the unification of its people under "The Elsweyr Confederacy," and it's been suggested that the reasoning behind this name stems from an old Khajiit proverb. "A perfect society is always found elsewhere," as the saying goes.
3 Their Religion Is Unique But Familiar
At a glance, most of the pantheon of Khajiit deities would seem to mirror those shared between the other cultures. Many familiar faces are seen, with Khajiit interpretations of Akatosh, Kynareth, Mara, and the like present and accounted for throughout their spiritual canon.
However, a lot of the precise mythology differs therein. And naturally, among those key differences is the depiction of these more classical deities as "ancestor cats." Their roles are largely unchanged, though the narrative components are quite different from their counterparts in other cultures.
2 The Thrassian Plague Hit Them Particularly Hard
The Thrassian plague unleashed upon Tamriel by the unscrupulous Sload left no corner of the continent unaffected, but particularly deeply impacted were the Khajiit. According to the Third Edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire, the Khajiit had united their divided people and enjoyed a prosperous, lengthy period of peace before it struck.
The plague wreaked havoc upon the population, and what had been sixteen individual kingdoms living in peace was whittled down to two. Squabbling and warfare ensued between the two for a very long time.
1 They're Not To Be Underestimated In War
Though the Khajiit might appear aloof of hostility, often presented in roles revolving specifically around stealth and commerce, nothing could be further from the truth. They're quite adept in the art of warfare, as explained in the in-game book Mixed Unit Tactics, depicting the strategies employed by the Khajiit in a war against the Bosmer.
The Khajiit make expert use of their many different breeds during combat, with each specialized to an effective role suited to their talents. The Senche-raht and Cathay held the main battle line, the Dagi kept the Bosmer archers on their heels within the trees, and it's even said that the small, house cat-like Alfiq made use of offensive magic to great effect.