What do you call your feline friend? How did you come up with the name? After the great time with the Name That Dog and Cat for my upcoming thriller, I’m curious how more folks came up with your special pet names. My blog-pal over at Dakota’s Den asked this fun question about dog names and inspired me to ask y’all about kitty monikers.
Pedigree kitties are christened with a string of unique and entertaining names to designate the cattery, sometimes the breed or even the appearance. I still remember one of my all-time-fave cat names, “Celticurl’s Sinead O’Curler” for an American Curl feline.
THE HISTORICAL “CAT”
Did you know the words for “cat” seem surprisingly similar throughout the world. Historically, there appear to be three basic origins for the naming. The word for “cat” seems derived from sounds he makes, based on the actions of the animal, or associated with ancient cat-gods of the past.
Egyptians named the cat mau, which means “the seer” (from the word mau, “to see”). Perhaps these ancient people associated the cat’s unique eyes with an ability to view more than meets the eye.
Other historians speculate that the cat’s mewing vocalization inspired her to be called mau. In fact, China’s word for cat is miu–quite similar to the ancient Egyptian’s mau.
The powerful cat-headed gods of the times were alternately referred to as Bast, Bastet, Posht, or Pasht. Some people speculate that puss is a natural derivation of Posht or Pasht, while others believe “puss” evolved from the Latin words pusus and pusa, which mean “little boy” and “little girl.” Admit it–you sometimes call your cats by these endearments, don’t you?
Another version connects the French le puss to the Latin lepus, which means “hare.” In fact, “puss” was used in England to refer to both cats and hares well into the eighteenth century.
Romans called the cat felis from the root word felix, meaning “a good and auspicious omen” linked to magical divination. Later they used catta, the same name as the weasel, because both cats and weasels were used to catch rodents. Other words may come from the root word ghad which means “to grasp or catch.” Seems a perfect fit for our felines.
“CAT” AROUND THE WORLD
For fun, here are a few more words for “cat” from around the world:
Arabic, kittah; Armenian, gatz; Basque, catua; Cornish, kath; French, chat; German, katze, katti or ket; Greek, kata or catta; Italian, gatto; Polish, kot or gatto; Portuguese, gato; Russian, kots or koshka; Spanish, gato; Turkish, kedi; Welsh, kath.
SHARE YOUR MONIKER!
So what do you call your cat? Coat color inspires names like Rusty, Pumpkin or Ginger, Snowball, Cotton, Tabby and Midnight. If a cat is called Suede, Fluffy or Big Foot, what image does that conjure?
Attitude often prompts telling names as well. But don’t name him “Demon-Seed” or “Stupid” unless you want him to fulfill that prediction! Cats given positive names tend to have more positive relationships with their people.
Picking a great cat name can be fun. My little Siamese wannabe is Seren—short for Serendipity because it was such a happy accident we found each other. But I suspect cats also have a “secret name” we humans can’t pronounce.
Maybe that’s why they never come when called.
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay tuned for more news about my forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!