Laiya (Kitty in the original English dub and Lyra in other translations) is a cream-colored lioness, with brown bangs and blue eyes. She is the mate of Leo, mother of Rune and Rukio and niece of Specklerex.
Kitty makes her first appearance in Episode 7 of Kimba the White Lion, and is seen in nearly every episode of Leo the Lion, and a frequent character in The New Adventures of Kimba. She appears in Jungle Emperor Leo as Leo's wife, and a mother. The only Jungle Emperor related animations she has not appeared in, are Jungle Emperor: the Brave Will Change the Future and The Symphonic Poem.
Laiya first appears in the 5th chapter, "Jungle Symphony" as one of the caged animals that Kimba frees from a nearby tribe. She is a servant of the pygmy village goddess, Leona. She was sent to search for Panja after he had gone missing from the village. Kimba and Laiya meet each other as teen-aged cubs as he rescues her from being captured by humans. She is wary about Kimba’s past with humans, but soon bond fairly quickly together. She is portrayed as a very supportive friend (and later wife) to Kimba. She gives birth to their two children, Rune and Rukio. Laiya continues to help raise their children until Rune decides to run away from the jungle to the life of humans. A mysterious illness plagues the jungle animals, including Laiya and Rukio. Kimba checks on her, but she unfortunately dies fairly quickly. She has a gravestone that Kimba visits in her honor.
In this spin-off series, Laiya (Kitty) first appears tied up in the Conga's human village in the chapter titled, "New Friends". Leo goes to rescue her as they get to know each other.
She stays with Leo in his jungle as they grow up and go on various adventures. They eventually get married and have their two children: Lune and Lukio, in the "Onward, Leo!" chapters. The family celebrates new years by eating rice cakes.
In this manga series, Laiya has a long-lost brother named Laman and two other siblings. Their parents and other siblings were killed and eaten by the hydra snake.
Kitty was voiced by Sonia Owens in the original dub, though she was not credited. She says she used to live by the river, before the hunters came and slaughtered her parents, and her only relative is her uncle, King Specklerex. (This would actually make her royalty, which would explain her ladylike composure.) Even in her first appearance, Claw is evidently smitten by her lovely looks, and tries to make her his queen when she gets older when she is on her way to her uncle's mountain. She easily rebuked this idea, and meets Kimba after he saves her. She’s obviously deeply in love with him, but will not admit it, and she’s very disappointed when she has to leave the Jungle.
This series is a sequel series to the 1965 series: As an adult, Kitty/Laiya is Kimba (Leo)’s wife and gives birth to two children now. Kitty/Laiya is named, “Leah” in this series. She's involved in different episodes by assisting Leo to take care of their kids and supporting/aiding Leo in his endeavors as king of Panja’s jungle. During the end of the series in the 25th episode: The Green Plague, Leah catches the mysterious green plague like many other jungle animals and she’s about to pass on. Mr. Pompous (Dr. Mustache) manages to give her medicine in time to cure her. This ending from the series is different from the manga and the 1997 film.
Unlike the 1965 series, Laiya is here described as a servant of Leona. She appears early in the series and is often involved in adventures with Leo, but she distances herself from him when he starts growing more bellicose and merciless. After Leona's demise, Laiya decides to live in Panja's jungle now. During the beginning of the series, she often has trouble telling Leo she loves him. As the series goes on, Laiya starts to show her feelings for Leo. In the 1998 English dub, Laiya is referred to as "Raiya" (a direct translation of ライヤ).
Kitty appears much as she did in the Onward, Leo series, as Kimba (Leo)'s mate and mother of his cubs. She is called Lyra, however. She shows the same fire she is known for in most adaptions, standing up to the elephant Pagoola as she tries to stop him from going for revenge on humans for Ham Egg's actions, concerned how many would be slain if they let revenge blind them. She’s shown to be a caring mother and loving mate. She’s seen caring for the animals wounded in the fire and those that catch the sickness which kills her at last.
- In the 1950s version of the manga, Laiya doesn't have a burial for her death. She is instead skinned and has her hide kept in the Jungle Palace like Panja's (Caesar's) hide. Although her eyes are not present.