This article is about animals in the Warframe video game.
If you’re not familiar with this world, we suggest that you first read our primer to the Warframe setting.
Kavat are feline creatures, roughly similar to a panther. However they have multiple tails, feathers tufts, and somewhat bird-like legs (but with cat paws). Some also have scales.
It seems likely that they are a product of genetic engineering. Though it is possible, depending upon how far in the future Warframe is, that they evolved to their current state. For instance, they could be Earth felines who adapted to Mars.
Kavats seem to be a rare species, with the vast majority of those having gone feral. Most specimens prey on Infested creatures, and so they are found near Infestation sites. Which, until recently, meant Orokin spaceships/space stations that have been lost for centuries.
It doesn’t seem possible to tame kavats. However, it is possible to use genetic material from feral kavats to grow a new individual in vitro. These can be tamed, presumably due to baked-in genetic modifications.
Four types of kavat are found in the game as of this writing.
- Feral kavats found in remote space hulks. A few more ferals were once seen on Mars, so the species may have a link to the red planet.
- A type that might be called “hyekka”. These are used by the Grineer to help detect and combat the Infestation. One gets the impression that they are all clones of a single specimen. Hyekkas are all hairless, and their snout is flatter than most feral kavats’.
- Lab-grown kavats developed by Tenno scientists to serve as companions and warbeasts. However, this requires expensive equipment and taking plenty of genetic scans in terribly dangerous Orokin derelict ships.
- A specific specimen called Venari. Her DNA was developed before the Fall of the Orokin to make her the hunting partner of the Khora warframe. Clones of Venari are particularly powerful and intelligent. But this beast is designed to only work in conjunction with a Khora frame.
Tenno kavats are classified as either a “smeeta” or “adarza” breed. This might correspond to a genetic template that is then mixed with feral genes. Perhaps such templates are incomplete, and not viable by themselves.
Even when there’s resources to create a Khora warframe with her feline friend, genetic samples from wild kavats are needed to grow a Venari clone.
Powers & Abilities
Even feral kavats seem much hardier and deadlier than a normal Earth leopard. Beyond what you’d expect from a feline hunter, one notes :
- Great stalking ability. In-game this is rendered as invisibility, but I suspect this is not literal. This may represent their abilities to prowl and slink in spaceship wrecks, keeping to dark corners and small apertures.
- Great strength and sharp claws. A pouncing kavat can rend an armoured soldier, inflicting more damage than most firearms.
- Hunting tactics that vaguely evoke wolves. Kavats are adept at circling their opponents at speed, making them hard to hit and able to attack from unexpected angles. They can also operate as a hunting pack.
- A peculiar combat style which often involves bouncing off walls or even ceilings to attack from new directions. With their strength, a kavat can leap high up a wall in a flash, then ricochet to become a clawed, furry, hissing missile doing a fly-by attack.
These ricochet-off-the-walls manoeuvres are particularly noticeable with Venari. An angry Venari will turn a corridor into an enemies blender. And Venari’s secret is that she’s always angry.
- They seem immune to the Infestation, since they eat the Infested.
- Tenno keeping a kavat warbeast have to deploy a heavy regime of genetic maintenance so their beast doesn’t become sick.
These three factors suggest that the kavats might be Infested themselves, but using a specific controlled strain. The precedent here would be the Helminth strain of Infestation.
This hypothesis would also explain some of the odder Warframe mods, such as lifesteal from a warframe to a pet (and vice-versa). Infested creatures are known to be able to heal and bolster each other, after all.
The cat from outer space
In Warframe, kavats can deploy special capabilities (“mods”). These include critical hits facilitation, a chance to reflect shots hitting the kavats, generating an illusory decoy, and good fortune with found loot.
With the exception of the decoy thing, this evokes probability manipulation psionic powers. So we’re going to assume here that kavats have Scarlet-Witch-like (or Black-Cat-like) psionics, with a broader range of applications than what’s in-game. This also riffs off popular associations between cats and luck.
A kavat could thus provide their companion with all sorts of interesting effects… if they feel like it.
The example specimen for this entry is my in-game main companion, Muffin The Vain Kavat. Her purple fur and immense tufted ears are distinctive, but she’s otherwise typical of the species.
Strange fur colours like Muffin’s are common for Tenno-grown kavats, whereas feral specimen are drabber and more… reptilian (a bit like Gremlins, really). It would be unsurprising if the Orokin deliberately engineered kavats so they could come in designer colours.
An image search for “warframe kavat” can show other specimens. There are even discussion threads of kavat breeders, since the game allows for breeding cosmetic traits.
The other specimen with the loud fur colours is Parakaat, my little smeeta helper.
Feral kavats stalk the Infested, but aren’t naturally aggressive toward non-prey. However, this can quickly change if you corner them for a genetic scan, or get between them and their prey.
The Grineer’s hyekka are almost canine in behaviour, coming across as vicious attack dogs.
Kavats lab-grown by Tenno largely behave like house cats. One suspects that the genetic package to make them tamable duplicates house cat brain structures. Kavats are more cooperative than those, though, which I’d consider a godlike feat of genetic engineering.
As with many video games, Warframe has some pathing issues for non-player creatures, particularly around doors. So on rare occasions, this can result is a kavat not wanting to go past a door, and meowing at it as part of its idle animations. I can’t call this a bug.
(In the same vein, the game now has code so kavats won’t try to “play” with your mining laser. Though this too was just an amusing collision between unrelated animations.)
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 06||Str: 06||Bod: 06||Motivation: Eat, sleep, reproduce|
|Int: 02||Wil: 01||Min: 03||Occupation: Feline|
|Inf: 02||Aur: 00||Spi: 03||Wealth: N.A.|
|Init: 014||HP: 010|
Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 04, Claws: 07, Directional Hearing: 05, Enhanced Initiative: 04, Extended Hearing: 02, Jumping: 02, Probability control: 07, Running: 06, Shrinking (Only to squeeze thru): 01, Super Hearing: 02, Swimming: 05, Ultra Vision: 04
Accuracy (Duping Manoeuver): 07, Acrobatics: 06, Thief (Stealth): 07
Kavats seem immune to the Infestation.
As noted, I’m going with a more free-form Probability Control ability in lieu of specific kavat mods.
The Accuracy is equivalent to the Reflect mod. Luring opponent into hitting the wrong thing replaces the simpler attack reflection mechanic in the game.
Sensory Powers are assuming leopard-like senses.
Additional mods (link health, Hunter recovery, etc..) would mean additional Powers, buffed Attributes, etc..
Source of Character: Warframe vidjagame.
Helper(s): Ethan Roe.
Writeup completed on the 24th of May, 2019.