Kyo Sohma is cursed by the spirit of the cat of the zodiac. He transforms into an orange cat whenever he is hugged by a member of the opposite gender or if he is under a great deal of stress. The cat is not an animal in the Chinese Zodiac, but legend has it that the cat may have been included had the rat not tricked it. As a result, he and Yuki Sohma (the rat) do not get along well, since Kyo blames Yuki for all his misfortune and mistreatment, and drove him to made a deal with Akito Sohma that if he could beat Yuki, he would not be confined to the Cat's Room.
Kyo has bright orange hair and long bangs that hang over his orange-red eyes. He is near the same height as Tohru at the beginning of the series, and as the story goes on, he gets much more muscular and his build gets bigger, being very much taller than Tohru by the end of the Summer Vacation. He is defined even more from Yuki Sohma, as Kyo wears loose clothes, and dislikes tightness around his neck (similar to how a cat dislikes a collar).
He wears a bracelet on his wrist that is red and white in the manga, but dark blue and white in the anime. He turns into a bright orange cat when hugged by a girl, and when his bracelet is taken off, he turns into a monster that smells of rotting flesh, better known as the cat's vengeful spirit. He is described as 'handsome' and 'orange'. He is very well liked by Tohru Honda.
Kyo is short-tempered, competitive, impulsive and rude, but he also has a soft side that he doesn't like people seeing. He gets embarrassed quickly and is overprotective of those he cares about. Some of his classmates call him Kyon-Kyon (in episode three of the first anime, which made him angry), Kyon or Kyon-Kyon (normally by Arisa Uotani), or Kyonkinchi which means 'Lucky Kyo', normally by Ayame Sohma and Shigure Sohma who both enjoy teasing him.
An example would be that at one point Shigure pesters him about the reason he hates Yuki and Kyo stomps off to the forest, ready to cry. He also has a strong hatred for leeks, and the smell makes him sick. He also hates green onions and miso, unless it's in soup form.
Death of his mother
Kyo's mother committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train, something his father repeatedly blamed him for. After a while, Kyo seems to believe it himself as well, but later he finds that his mother did not kill herself because she was disgusted of Kyo and what he was. She did it because she believed she doomed her family to a life of shame and ridicule for having the cat as a son. This belief was mainly reinforced by much tormenting from Kyo's father.
Taken in by Kazuma
After the death of his mother, Kyo's father rebuked him and denied to take care of his only son for he blamed Kyo for his wife's suicide. After seeing this treatment and how the last cat, Kazuma's grandfather, was treated by the family, he took Kyo in.
After becoming Kyo's adoptive father he began training Kyo in martial arts to perhaps teach him discipline and to help Kyo become stronger in his life knowing it will be so difficult being cursed by the cat.
Meeting Kyoko Honda
As a child, Kyo met Kyoko one day while sitting outside near the Honda house. Kyoko was very curious about his hair color and proceeded to talk to him. He was very distant at first for he was not used to that many people wanting to associate with the cat. And, after telling him her name, was embarrassed that it was so similar to his. But Kyoko's persistence broke through as she would do the talking and all he had to do was listen.
She continued on about how cute her daughter was, showing him a photo of Tohru and asking if he thought so too. He agreed in silence that she was. After that, she went on to say how strong Tohru was dealing with her father's death and letting her mother take her time; even though Kyoko was in shock during most of that time.
After more meetings, Kyo would spy on Tohru and wish to speak to her. And then one day, while near the house, Kyoko lost Tohru while walking and became hysterical. Kyo tells her to wait at home and then promised, as a "man", he would bring her back safe at home. After passing Yuki he lost his hat as he was in a determined hurry to find her. Yuki takes the hat, puts in on, and walks around searching for Kyo and instead he finds Tohru.
Kyoko is then seen searching for Kyo and tells him that she was found by a boy with Kyo's cap on. This enrages Kyo and he flees from Kyoko, hurt from not being to one to "save" her daughter.
Before Summer Vacation
When his Juzu beads are removed, he turns into a grotesque monster with a revolting scent. After Kazuma Sohma removes his beads, Tohru Honda chases after him. After being injured by Kyo, who scratched her, she tells him that he's scaring her. But she also says that she wants them to be together, with Yuki Sohma watching the whole time (in the anime). He changes back into a human and tells Tohru that his mother lied and told him that she loved him, but Kyo knew she was afraid. He said that he had no problem with his mother being afraid of his true form. Then he hugged Tohru and asked, "Why?" He changed into a cat and Tohru carried him home.
During Summer Vacation
After Summer Vacation
It is not known whether Kyo really took over Shishou's dojo.
The first time Kyo meets Tohru is when she also finds out about the Sohma curse. At first Kyo seems to hate Tohru and even shouts at her when she accidentally transforms him at school. Later he apologizes for the incident due to the guilt of Kyoko's death. At the time, Tohru is unaware of his guilt. In episode 24 and 25 of the first anime, and chapter 33 in the manga, Kazuma, Kyo's master at the dojo, arrives for reasons unknown to everyone at first. His reasons for being here are to reveal Kyo's true form. He puts all his hopes on Tohru that she will "heal his heart".
When he transforms into his true form, she is frightened and scared by the form. She pursues him when he runs away from her. When she finds him she tries to convince him to come home and tells him she accepts him. She wants "to have our meals together, to study together and worry together...I just want us all to be together!!" When Kyo becomes human again, he embraces her and is overcome with joy.
As the story progresses, Kyo and Tohru become nervous and anxious around each other. While throughout the series, Kyo's strong affection for Tohru are quite obvious, he comes to realize he is in love with Tohru in volume 11 when Akito confronts him. Tohru later gets in a fight with Kagura and this pushes her to confess her feelings for Kyo. He brushes her feelings off saying that she made him disillusioned. As he walks off Tohru collapses into tears.
In chapter 122 and 123, when Tohru tries to offer a hand of friendship to Akito, she falls off the cliff and hurts her head leaving her only half conscious. When Kyo comes to the scene, he finally admits his feelings for her. But being only half conscious, she didn't really understand what he was saying. When she becomes unconscious, Kyo kisses her and begs her to live.
While Tohru is in the hospital, Kyo attempts to visit her, only to have his own fear and Tohru's friends, Arisa and Hanajima, change his mind. When she is discharged from hospital, Kyo waits for her outside. Tohru, due to the rejection of her feelings, runs away from him. Kyo runs after her and eventually catches up with her. He now fully confesses his feelings for her and kisses her. Then the two embrace and realize that Kyo hasn't changed into a cat. That was then they were aware that the curse was finally broken.
Relationship with Parents
- Kyo's Father
When Kyo's mother commits suicide, Kyo's father puts all the blame on Kyo. This is because she loved her child more then anything in the world. It is seen in volume 9 when Kazuma pays a visit to Kyo's father, he shifts all the blame onto his son for all the bad things that have happened to him. In chapter 126, Kyo tried to reconcile and apologize to his father, but is violently rejected. While the argument continues, Kyo come to realize that his mother was also shunned like he was. This somewhat hints that she may have committed suicide because of her protectiveness of Kyo. Towards the end of the confrontation, Kyo comes to realize what a pitiful man his father is and leaves. It is unknown whether or not the two have reconciled, most likely not.
- Kyo's Mother
Kyo's mother was very protective of Kyo, like when Momiji said, "They'll often become over protective of them, or reject them completely". Kyo's mother was overprotective and loved her child more than anything in the world. She said she wasn't afraid of Kyo at all, but Kyo believed she was when he was in his true form. Kyo's mother checked that Kyo was wearing his beads many times every day. Kyo's mother eventually committed suicide by stepping in front of a moving train. Kyo's father blames Kyo for this.
Kyo had known Tohru Honda's mother since childhood. She knew that she and him were the same, lonely with no parents to love them, yet denying it. She told him all about her story without hesitation and even showed him a photograph of young Tohru. On the day Kyoko died, he saw her mom at a sidewalk corner, waiting for the traffic light to change color. Kyo knew that that was Kyoko with short hair but decided not to acknowledge her since their parting when he was a child.
Kyo had spotted a car approaching Kyoko. He knew he had to save Kyoko but he could not grab her arm out of the blue. It would cause her to fall over, causing him to transform. After Kyoko was hit, Kyo still wanted to help her but he could not, due to the curse again. When Kyoko seemingly said, 'I'll never forgive you...', when she was trying to say, 'I'll never forgive you if you don't keep your promise to protect Tohru' , Kyo was struck with guilt. Kyo ran back to Kazuma Sohma's home with the guilt of the fact that he'd killed Kyoko Honda (or so he thought).
The Cat of the Zodiac
Kyo shares some traits with cats. He can possibly land on his feet. He dislikes water, hence hating to swim or go to a beach (shown when the Sohmas went for their summer vacation). Due to this, his mood changes drastically during rain, becoming restless, tired, moody, and more than easily agitated but at the same time no mood to argue or fight. He prefers to wear a lose-fitting t-shirt or jacket because he doesn't like tight clothing (especially around the neck, like cats hates collars). He has been shown often drinking milk, and becoming annoyed when finding out there wasn't anymore milk in the fridge when Ritsu was around. Once, he was even shown dreaming about fish, enjoying them.
As Shishou mentioned, Kyo likes to hide behind walls when he wishes to talk to someone urgently (shown twice) like a cat. He seems to get frightened by loud noises too, becoming startled like a cat. He is also often seen sitting on a roof because like a cat, he is drawn to high places. Being cursed by the spirit of the cat, Kyo has orange hair, like orange fur on cats. His eyes seems to become silt-like when his cat spirit stirs in him, for example when he gets angry at Yuki, the Rat (or his 'natural' enemy).
Shigure Sohma has said that the cat was the creature that was left out. His only purpose, he said, was to make the other Zodiac members feel better. 'Good' they think, 'At least I'm better off than him'.