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Larry Niven wrote a number of science fiction books set in a mythical universe called Known Space. One of the alien races that inhabit this universe are the Kzinti, a larger-than-human feline-based biped with large membrane ears, a cylindrical torso without a spine, and large fangs and claws.
The Kzinti Patriarch is the leader of the Kzinti Empire. As with other facets of the Kzinti culture, natural selection is used to choose the Patriarch through combat. Throughout the range of the Known Space books, the patriarchy is held by the Riit family. The patriarch has a range of privileges including a protected hunting reserve and the authority to assign full names to Kzin who have brought glory or honour to the Kzinti empire.
There are in fact two Patriarchs as the smaller, lost colony of Kzinti on the Ringworld also has a Patriarch, in addition to the main Kzinti empire.
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