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According to the phases of the moon, Khajiit eventually grow into humanoids (e.g. Cathay, Ohmes) or quadrupedals that are indistinguishable from housecats as is the case of the Alfiq, or tigers like the Pahmar. These are apparently as intelligent as regular Khajiit (according to UESP). Although they aren't able to speak, they understand verbal commands.

Can the offspring of Alfiq/Senche/Pahmar give birth to offspring that eventually become Cathay/Ohmes/any other humanoid breed?

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    Since we know that bipedal Khajiit can give birth to quadrupedal Khajiit, depending on the phase of the moon, the reverse has to be true. Otherwise, after enough generations, all Khajiit would be quadrupedal. – Molag Bal Apr 10 '16 at 4:54
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    Hi amarillo, thanks for your comment. I don't think that that's true, as as long as bipedal khajiit have overall higher fertility, they won't all become quadrepedal. E.g. Quadrupedal khajiit may not reproduce easily/are sterile/their offspring don't get enough resources because they're essentially subservient to bipedal khajiit/they're usually not allowed to reproduce to avoid drag on the economy. – Twilight Sparkle Apr 11 '16 at 17:21
  • I suppose you're right. The Imperial Library might have some books about Elsweyr that would say what sort of social factors are in play. The book I quoted below makes it sound like the only biological factor is the phase of the moon, so it doesn't seem to me like quadrupedal Khajiit would be sterile. – Molag Bal Apr 11 '16 at 17:30
  • Also, I think that the reverse isn't established to be true. It may in fact be possible that certain khajiit have a predisposition to giving birth to their own kind, or that the magic of the lunar lattice induces more of a subtype to be born based on geography; evidence comes from the fact that certain subtypes dominate specific areas of Elsweyr like the Dagi in the Tenmar forests or the Tojay in the swamps to the south. Furthermore I find it difficult to imagine how an Alfiq housecat would give birth to a Senche-Raht that grows to the size of a tank. – Twilight Sparkle Apr 11 '16 at 17:37
  • Ah, just saw your new comment, thanks for replying. It's truly hard to say anything definite beyond educated guesses as there isn't enough information. But I appreciate your answer, +1! – Twilight Sparkle Apr 11 '16 at 17:38
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In theory, a quadrupedal Khajiit could give birth to bipedal offspring, but this may never actually happen.

The Lunar Lattice

From the book The Moon Cats and their Dance in The Elder Scrolls Online:

The hairless scholar peered at the Clan Mother through little windows on his nose and said, “I want to know about your different breeds. Is it true that what phase of the moons you are born under determines your physical morphology?”

And the Clan Mother said, “Indeed, hairless scholar. I was born as Jode was waxing and Jone was new, so I am an Omhes-raht. My daughter here was born when Jode was waxing and Jone was full, so she is a Senche-raht. Thus we are nothing alike.”

The page on Khajiit physiology at The Imperial Library says that the form a Khajiit takes depends entirely on the phases of the moons at the time of their birth. As such, children may look very little like their parents, depending on when they were born.

(Jode is apparently Secunda, the smaller moon, and Jone is Masser, the larger moon.)

The text seems unambiguous: if an Alfiq (housecat) were to give birth while Secunda is waxing and Masser is full, the child would be a Senche-raht, an enormous cat that would grow to the weight of fifty Altmer. But this particular parentage seems implausible. I am not aware of any canon explanation for why births don’t seem to be evenly distributed between all forms of Khajiit, but I can think of a two possible explanations. Both theories tie back to the phases of the moons in some way.

Possible explanations

As far as I know, the only way to avoid the fate given by the Lunar Lattice is if births do not happen during implausible phases of the moons.

Khajiit are only fertile during certain lunar phases

Perhaps the Khajiit are only in heat during certain lunar phases. (In the real world, this apparently does not happen, although there are persistent rumors of fertility in humans being tied to the lunar cycle.) If a Khajiit's gestation period is very predictable, then a conception during particular lunar phases would result in the child’s birth during other predictable lunar phases. An Alfiq may only be in heat during lunar phases that would result in her children also being Alfiq, or at least small varieties of Khajiit. Regional differences in Khajiit population could be explained either by the genetics of local populations or influences of the local environment on the Khajiit's estrous cycles. (This assumes that Khajiit have something analogous to the estrous cycles of real-world cats.)

Under this theory, an Alfiq would never be in heat during a time that would result in a birth during a waxing Secunda and full Masser, so an Alfiq would never give birth to a Senche-raht.

Khajiit can only go into labor during the appropriate lunar phases

If a Khajiit is pregnant with a Suthay-raht, perhaps she can only go into labor when Secunda is waning and Masser is new: the expected lunar phases for the birth of a Suthay-raht. Under this theory, each form of Khajiit would be predisposed to conceive only certain plausible types of Khajiit. The mother would go into labor only when the moons are in the appropriate phases. If labor were induced early, perhaps either the child would be stillborn, or the magical effect of the lunar lattice would cause the Khajiit’s form to change. An Alfiq would not conceive a Senche-raht, so there would be no births in an Alfiq population when Secunda is waxing and Masser is full.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, none of this says whether a quadrupedal Khajiit could give birth to bipedal offspring. But if this has never been observed to happen, then the theories above could explain why it doesn't happen, without contradicting the Lunar Lattice. We know from the text above that a bipedal Khajiit (Ohmes-raht) can give birth to a quadrupedal Khajiit (Senche-raht). My suspicion is that the larger quadrupedal Khajiit at least occasionally give birth to bipedal Khajiit, but I am not aware of any canon examples.

  • Or quadrupedal Khajiit could be sterile, like Twilight Sparkle was saying. – Molag Bal May 16 '16 at 13:59
  • Thank you that is an amazing answer, and I really appreciate all the effort you put into it! – Twilight Sparkle May 16 '16 at 20:24
  • @TwilightSparkle Glad you liked it. I'll keep an eye out for better canon information. And who knows, maybe Elder Scrolls VI will be set in Elsweyr. – Molag Bal May 16 '16 at 20:32
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    Yet another possibility: the form of the Khajiit is determined at birth. Either Khajiit are undifferentiated before birth, or the magical effect of the Lunar Lattice violates causality, such that a Khajiit is conceived in a certain form depending on when they are born. This wouldn’t offer any explanation for why Khajiit are apparently not born in a random distribution of forms. – Molag Bal May 17 '16 at 6:39
  • Hmm yes, thanks anaranjada, you offer many interesting points! – Twilight Sparkle May 17 '16 at 20:38
3
+100

It would seem so

It would seem that Khajiit do not have their full forms at birth, but rather grow into them over time. According to the Khajiit Jobasha, from the Imperial Library:

Khajiit are bound to the Lunar Lattice, the ja’Kha’jay. The phases of Masser and Secunda at birth determine the form a Khajiit takes in life. Khajiti newborns look very similar to one another, with their form becoming clear over several weeks. We are smaller than you humans when we are born, but we grow faster.

So this resolves the apparent difficulty with say, a Alfiq (the size of a housecat) giving birth to a Senche-raht (twice as tall as an Altmer and fifty times as heavy). All newborn Khajiit have similar forms but grow quite rapidly thereafter to take on their eventual adult form.

Presumably the standard infant form is quite small: certainly smaller than humans, as indicated by the previous quote, but probably much smaller (so that an Afiq can carry it). Within a few weeks it will start to differentiate itself, and presumably grows further thereafter.


With regard to the canonicity of this source:

This information comes from the Imperial Library, in this section. As such, it presumably comes from a developer or ex-developer, and thus may be considered fairly canonical. Specifically:

This interview appears here courtesy of Douglas “AFFA MU” Goodall, currently employed by Bethesda Softworks, with some additions from Todd Howard and Ken Rolston. All answers © 2001 by Bethesda Softworks.

  • @amaranth - I have an answer. – Adamant Sep 13 '16 at 1:07
  • Good information. That certainly makes births less complicated for smaller mothers. It doesn’t prove that quadrupedal Khajiit ever actually give birth to bipedal offspring though. – Molag Bal Sep 13 '16 at 1:14
  • @amaranth - Not per se, but given everything that says that that the shape of Khajiit is determined by the moons, and the fact that this resolves the difficulties that may have prompted the question, it seems the likely implication. – Adamant Sep 13 '16 at 1:17
  • It’s certainly possible that that’s how the (human) author of that text intended to resolve this situation, yes. – Molag Bal Sep 13 '16 at 1:19

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