While the dæmons of people in Will's world are normally inside their bodies, Kirjava was separated from Will when he boarded the ferry to the Land of the Dead, where no souls can enter. This separation meant that, like witches, Will and Kirjava were able to separate over long distances. Feeling abandoned, Kirjava and Pantalaimon travelled through many of the worlds of the multiverse together.
Eventually, the dæmons met Serafina Pekkala in the mulefa world. The witch gave Kirjava her name and prompted them to return to their humans. When they returned, Kirjava and Pantalaimon told Will and Lyra what they had learned. Lyra touched Kirjava, who settled into the form of a large, multi-coloured cat.
- "Kirjava was a cat again. But she was a cat of no ordinary size, and her fur was lustrous and rich, with a thousand different glints and shades of ink-black, shadow-grey, the blue of a deep lake under a noon sky, mist-lavender-moonlight-fog... To see the meaning of the word subtlety, you only had to look at her fur."
- —Kirjava settles[src]
Kirjava settled at Lyra's touch into the form of a multi-coloured cat.
Since Kirjava settled only shortly after being separated from Will, she was not seen in many forms. She was a cat most often. When startled by Serafina Pekkala in the forest in the mulefa world, both Kirjava and Pantalaimon turned into wolves. They then flew with her, and Kirjava took the form of a nightingale. When she finally returned to Will, she was a white dove with a crest of dark red feathers.
Will and Kirjava did not know she existed until they were torn apart by his going to the land of the dead.
Kirjava and Pantalaimon were very close because, after being abandoned at the jetty in the suburbs of the land of the dead, they travelled through many worlds together.
The literal meaning of Kirjava in Finnish is "multi-coloured" or "mottled" which appears to be a reference to her coat.