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How Do You Say Cat in Different Languages? Learn How to Say it!

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

ginger cat in mans shoulder

How Do You Say Cat in Different Languages? Learn How to Say it!

Cats have been beloved companions for thousands of years. Throughout history, different cultures around the world have different perceptions of cats. Some cultures view cats as sacred creatures, some associate them with good fortune, and some, in contrast, associate them with evil. Regardless of these cultural differences, cats have grown to be popular pets around the world.

Linguistically, most words for cats in different cats are derived from the Latin words, feles or kattus. Read on as we look at how the word “cat” is translated into different languages.

In this article, we’ll go over a brief overview of how cats are perceived in different cultures around the world!

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Cats in Asian Culture

For centuries, spanning way back to ancient times, cats have generally been seen as protectors, symbols of fertility, and good fortune. Cats truly hold a special place in Asian cultural heritage as positive symbolism, as well as loyal companions.

In countries like China and Japan, they are often held in high regard as symbols of good fortune and prosperity.

For example, the Maneki-Neko or “beckoning cat”, often seen at the entrance of restaurants and other businesses, is a popular symbol of good fortune in Japan, as it is said to attract customers for businesses to thrive. Similarly, cats are often depicted in Korean folklore and traditional art as bringers of good luck, protectors, and creatures with healing powers.

Image Credit: SakSa, Shutterstock

How to Say Cat in Asian Languages

Armenian կատու
Azerbaijani pişik
Bengali বিড়াল
Chinese 猫 [māo]
Georgian კატა
Gujarati બિલાડી
Hindi बिल्ली
Hmong miv
Japanese ネコ (neko)
Kannada ಬೆಕ್ಕು
Kazakh мысық
Khmer ឆ្មា
Korean 고양이 [goyang-i]
Kyrgyz мышык
Lao cat
Malayalam പൂച്ച
Marathi मांजर
Mongolian муур
Myanmar (Burmese) ကွောငျ
Nepali बिरालो
Odia ବିଲେଇ
Pashto پيشو
Punjabi ਬਿੱਲੀ
Sindhi ٻلي
Sinhala බළලා
Tajik гурба
Tamil பூனை
Telugu పిల్లి
Thai แมว
Turkish kedi
Turkmen pişik
Urdu بلی
Uyghur مۈشۈك
Uzbek mushuk
Vietnamese con mèo

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Cats in European Culture

While cats are popular companions and are often portrayed positively in the media today, they were initially seen in a negative light in medieval Europe. Cats were often associated with witchcraft and magic as the preferred companions of witches.

In the Renaissance period, cats began gaining a more positive reputation, as they were often depicted in works of art and as pets of the wealthy. From their association with witchcraft, they became symbols of grace, elegance, and beauty.

Today, cats are a popular choice for pets all around Europe. In popular culture, their mystical association with witchcraft and magic is still heavily portrayed but has only served to grow cats’ popularity.

Can Cats Sense Bad Energy
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How to Say Cat in European Languages

Albanian mace
Basque katu
Belarusian кот
Bosnian mačka
Bulgarian котка
Catalan gat
Corsican cat
Croatian mačka
Czech kočka
Danish kat
Dutch kat
English cat
Estonian kass
Finnish kissa
French chat
Frisian kat
Galician gato
German katze
Greek Γάτα [Gáta]
Hungarian cica
Icelandic Köttur
Irish cat
Italian gatto
Latvian kaķis
Lithuanian katė
Luxembourgish Kaz
Macedonian мачка
Maltese qattus
Norwegian katt
Polish kot
Portuguese gato
Romanian pisică
Russian kот [kot]
Scots Gaelic cat
Serbian mачка [machka]
Slovak mačka
Slovenian mačka
Spanish gato
Swedish katt
Tatar mәче
Ukrainian kіт [kit]
Welsh cath
Yiddish קאַץ

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Cats in Middle Eastern Culture

Cats play a huge role in Middle Eastern culture. As a predominantly Islamic region, cats are highly valued and are considered symbols of cleanliness and good luck. In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad was known to be fond of cats, leading to a widespread tradition of respect toward cats in the region. A popular story in Islam tells of the Prophet Muhammad cutting off the sleeve of his robe, just so that he would not disturb his sleeping cat.

Today, cats are still revered as symbols of good fortune and are beloved companions all over the Middle East.

young woman with ragdoll cat on couch
Image Credit: rock-the-stock, Shutterstock

How to Say Cat in Middle Eastern Languages

Arabic قط [qut]
Hebrew חתול
Kurdish (Kurmanji) pisîk
Persian گربه

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Cats in Austronesian Culture

Cats have a very rich heritage in Austronesian-speaking cultures—spanning the regions of Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands, Taiwan, Polynesia, and Madagascar. Aside from their mystical perception and depictions in art and folklore, cats were also loved in society for their ability to control pests and protect food stores.

Cats are also thought to bring good luck and prosperity to their owners, making them popular companions—even dating back to ancient times, when they were also considered to possess healing powers and serve as protectors from evil spirits.

feral stray cats in the park
Image Credit: Murat An, Shutterstock

How to Say Cat in Austronesian Languages

Cebuano iring
Filipino pusa
Hawaiian pōpoki
Indonesian kucing
Javanese kucing
Malagasy saka
Malay kucing
Maori ngeru
Samoan pusi
Sundanese ucing
Taiwanese 猫-mao

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Cats in African Culture

Cats have a significant place in African culture, particularly in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians viewed cats as gods, and they were revered and worshipped as such. Cats were said to bring good fortune to those who housed them and were often depicted in Egyptian art and mythology.

Other African cultures considered cats to have spiritual powers bringing protection and good luck. Today, cats are still widely valued as companions and are often kept as pets.

cute red domestic cat walks on a roof
Image Credit: Heide Pinkall, Shutterstock

How to Say Cat in African Languages

Afrikaans kat
Amharic ድመት
Chichewa mphaka
Hausa mage
Igbo pusi
Kinyarwanda injangwe
Sesotho katse
Shona katsi
Somali bisad
Swahili paka
Xhosa ikati
Yoruba o nran
Zulu ikati

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Cats in North American Culture

In North America, cats are highly valued for their companionship and affection. They are choice pets for those who love independent animals that are easy to care for. They are often depicted in popular media in the form of comic strips, television, movies, and even have a strong online presence in the form of “internet cats”!

In Native American culture, cats were seen as symbols of grace and agility. They were also valued for their ability to hunt and control the population of pests. Native Americans, in general, have a deep respect for all animals and view them as an important part of the natural world—including cats!

ragdoll cat with blue eyes standing outdoors in nature
Image Credit: Aaron Zimmermann, Shutterstock

How to Say Cat in Languages in North America

While English is the primary language of North America, there are several Native American and other languages spoken by indigenous people and other ethnic groups throughout the North American region. Below, we list the words for “cat” in several of these languages, including English:

Blackfoot poos
Cherokee wesa
Choktaw katos
Cree minos
English cat
Eskimo pussi
Hawaiian popoki
Lakota igmu
Navajo mosi
Ojibwe gaazhag
Spanish gato

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Cats in South American Culture

In South America, cats have a varied cultural significance and status depending on the society and region. Some indigenous cultures viewed cats as symbols of prosperity, where they were often kept for companionship. Some cultures valued cats for their hunting abilities of smaller animals, such as mice and rats.

Today, cats are valued as domesticated pets and are loved for their affection and personalities.

Cat surrounded with chickens
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

How to Say Cat in Languages in South America

In South America, the major languages can be divided into three broad groups—the languages of the former colonial powers, many indigenous languages, and various other languages spoken by immigrant populations. Here, we list the words for “cat” in the major languages spoken throughout South America.

Aymara phisi, michi
English cat
French chat
Guaraní mbarakaja
Portuguese gato
Spanish gato
Quechua michi

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While different cultures have varying perceptions and regard for cats, there is no doubt that cats play a huge role in cultural history around the world. Today, cats are beloved pets all around the world that are loved for their excellent companionship, adorable personalities, and affectionate nature!

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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