Cat and Kitten in Different Languages

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  • “Chat.” “Neko.” “Köttur.”

    No matter how you say it, cats are one of the world’s most beloved creatures! In fact, over 370 million cats are kept as pets globally. From the hot, dry outback of Australia to the cold northern forests of Canada (and every country in between) felines live happily alongside their human companions.

    As a result, there are dozens of different ways to say “cat.”

    How many of the following languages and words do you know?

    How to say cat in other languages?



    Afrikaans Kat Katjie
    Albanian Mace Kotele
    Amharic Dimeti Giligeli
    Arabic Qut Quth saghiruh
    Azerbaijani Pişik Doğmaq
    Bangla Biṛāla Biṛālachānā
    Basque Katu Kitten
    Belarusian Kot Kaciania
    Bosnian Mačka Mače
    Bulgarian Kotka Kote
    Burmese Kwayar ngya Kwayarngyakalayy
    Catalan Gat Gatet
    Cebuano Iring Kuting
    Chinese (simplified) Māo Xiǎo māo
    Chinese (traditional) Māo Xiǎo māo
    Corsican Gattu Gattu
    Croatian Macka Mace
    Czech Kočka Kote
    Danish Kat Killing
    Dutch Kat Katje
    Esperanto Kato Katido
    Estonian Kass Kassipoeg
    Filipino Pusa Kuting
    Finnish Kissa Kissanpoikanen
    French Chat Chaton
    Galician Gato Gatito
    German Katze Kätzchen
    Greek Yata Yataki
    Gujarati Bilāḍī Bilāḍīnuṁ baccuṁ
    Haitian Creole Chat Chat
    Hausa Cat Kitta
    Hawaiian Anu Kāpena
    Hindi Billee Billee ka bachcha
    Hmong Miv Me nyuam miv
    Hungarian Macska Cica
    Igbo Pusi Nwa nwa
    Icelandic Köttur Kettlingur
    Indonesian Kuching Anak kucing
    Italian Gato Gattino
    Japanese Neko Koneko
    Javanese Kuching Kucing
    Kannada Bekku Huḍugi
    Kazakh Mısıq Kotenka
    Khmer Chhma Kaun chhma
    Korean Goyang-i Goyang-i saekki
    Kurdish Pshila Pisha
    Kyrgyz Mışık Mışıktın balası
    Lao Cat Kitten
    Latin Cattus Catalus
    Latvian Kakis Kakens
    Lithuanian Katė Kaciukas
    Luxembourgish Kaz Kitten
    Macedonian Mačka Maye
    Malay Kucing Anak kucing
    Malayalam Pūcca Pūccakkuṭṭi
    Maltese Qattus Kitten
    Mandarin Māo Xiǎo māo
    Maori Ngeru Putea
    Marathi Mān̄jara Mān̄jarācē pillū
    Mongolian Muur Zulzaga
    Norwegian Katt Kattunge
    Polish Kot Kotek
    Portuguese Gato Gatinho
    Romanian Pisica Pisoi
    Russian Кошка (female cat or gender unknown)
    кот (male)
    Serbian Mačka Mače
    Sinhala Baḷalā Baḷal pæṭiyā
    Slovak Macka Maciatko
    Slovenian Macka Mucka
    Spanish Gato Gatito
    Sudanese Ucing Emeng
    Swahili Paka Paka
    Swedish Katt Kattunge
    Tajik Koş Kūh
    Tamil Pūṉai Pūṉai kuṭṭi
    Telugu Pilli Pilli
    Thai Mæw Lūk mæw
    Turkish Kedi Kedi yavrusu
    Ukranian Kot Koshenya
    Uzbec Mushuk Mushukchalar
    Vietnamese Meo Con mèo con
    Welsh Cath Gath fach
    Xhosa Inkonti Inkonti
    Yiddish Kats Ketsl
    Yoruba O nran Omọ ologbo
    Zulu Ikati Inkinobho

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    Cat superstitions from around the world

    Nothing screams “superstitious” like seeing a black cat cross your path on Halloween night. But are black cats really unlucky? Where did this myth originate from? Turns out, just like how different languages have their own unique words for cats, different people and cultures also attribute special meanings to them.

    For example, look at black cats. In England, they are considered lucky. Those who live in Scotland believe spotting a black cat on your doorstep signifies prosperity. This is completely opposite to what many people in the United States think – that black cats are bringers of doom, gloom, and misfortune!

    Interestingly, every culture on earth has cat superstitions. With their own twist, of course. In the Netherlands, never share secrets when a cat is listening… they are thought to be gossips who will tell everybody what you said.

    In Italy, if a cat sneezes on your wedding day, rejoice! The bride and groom’s marriage will be a happy one.

    Notice a cat washing her face? The Chinese take this as a weather omen predicting rain.

    Cats in language FAQs

    Where does the word ‘cat’ come from?

    According to etymology (the study of where words come from) “cat” hails from the Old English word “catt.” Prior to that, our feline friends were called “kattuz.” This is Pro-Germanic. Go back far enough, and you will learn that the Latin word for cat was “catta.”

    Can cats understand different languages?

    When you say, “Here, kitty kitty!” your cat instantly comes running. Yet have you ever been curious if they could learn and understand a language other than English?

    Feline researchers have found that yes, cats can indeed be bilingual. Many pets live in households where more than one language is spoken. Over time, cats have shown evidence of being able to differentiate between verbal accents, tones, and rhythms. Remember, cats are smart. They can learn to understand their name, the word for food, treats, playtime, etc. in different languages.

    Is it good to talk to your cat?

    Absolutely. Bonding with a cat is so important.

    This lowers stress levels, increases affection, and helps them learn commands. Even though it may feel silly, chatting with your kitty each day is a fantastic way to express how much you love them.

    Do cats know their names? 

    Not always.

    From the age of 0 to 6 months, kittens soak up information like furry little sponges. During this time, they can learn their name. Their ears perk up, head turns, and tail swishes.

    However, unlike humans, they don’t truly have a sense of “self.” Behaving in a certain manner upon hearing their name is more a response to stimuli. Yes, they will react. But this is more from their owner’s voice than it is them thinking, “Hey, that’s me!”

    Ultimately, no matter what language your cat speaks, so long as you communicate with love, they will understand your intentions.


    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio