Cat and Kitten in Different Languages

“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?

Cat

Kitten

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)
Kotehok
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

Printer friendly or PDF

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.

Author

  • 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