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The best way to say “cat” in French

The best way to say “cat” in French


Chat is “cat” in French.

However what about “kitty”, “kitten”, “pussy cat”, and different feline monikers?

Let’s take a look at the numerous methods to say “cat” in French – together with one to watch out with!

9 methods to say “cat” in French

A brown tabby kitten sits amid the folds of a blue and white blanket. His eyes are closed and his little mouth ever so slightly open. He looks totally warm and content and sleepy.

Since we cat individuals like to speak about our favourite animal in numerous artistic methods, you could come throughout new and evolving slang phrases or phrases of endearment the extra you get into the cat world on-line and in books and magazines. However these are the usual “cat” phrases you’ll hear most frequently and that will probably be understood by everybody.

The usual “cat”: un chat

Chat is the most typical, commonplace approach to say “cat” in French.

It’s a masculine noun, however normally French individuals don’t are inclined to specify a cat or canine’s gender until it’s for a specific cause.

There’s a extra particular cause for this on the subject of the phrase chatte, the female type of “cat” in French, and we’ll get to that in a minute.

So, normally, you would possibly hear somebody say J’ai un chat. (I’ve a cat), whether or not the cat is male or feminine.

Observe that the phrase chat can produce other meanings. For example, it may very well be a borrowed English phrase for “chat” or “chatroom”.

And chat can also be the way in which to say “tag”, the sport the place one particular person chases others and has to the touch (“tag”) considered one of them in order that they turn into the one who has to tag individuals. In French, the one that’s chasing everybody, known as “it” in English, is le chat. Jouer à chat means “to play tag.”

The dangerous “cat”: une chatte

You in all probability realized in your French lessons that une chatte is a feminine cat. That’s completely true and proper, however this phrase additionally means “pussy” (a slang, vulgar time period for feminine genitalia).

Due to this, should you say one thing like J’ai une chatte or J’aime ma chatte, you’re virtually assured to see a smirk or smile on the opposite particular person’s face, particularly from anybody below the age of fifty. Some could even suppose you’re really speaking about your personal elements relatively than your pet!

That’s why, as I discussed within the earlier merchandise on our checklist, most French individuals will are inclined to keep away from utilizing chatte in on a regular basis language (properly, until they’re speaking concerning the OTHER type of chatte…) and never specify that they’ve a feminine cat, until it’s completely mandatory.

So you would say that whereas chatte does merely imply “feminine cat”, a greater translation for it in up to date French can be “pussy cat” or “pussy”.

With this in thoughts, it’s greatest to keep away from utilizing chatte until you’re in a scenario or place the place it might completely be taken actually and severely – as an illustration, a vet’s workplace, a breeder’s or shelter, or a cat present. On this approach, it’s a bit just like the time period “bitch” in English, though chatte is rarely an insult.

Observe that whereas one other that means of “pussy” is “weak particular person/coward” in English, chatte doesn’t have this that means in French.

The “kitten”: un chaton

“Kitten” in French is un chaton.

This phrase is normally used for both a male or feminine kitten. But when it’s necessary to distinguish (possibly, as an illustration, in an adoption advert or at a shelter), the time period une chatonne may very well be used for feminine kittens.

In the event you’re a cat particular person like me, you in all probability wish to go take a look at some pictures or movies of kittens  now, so I’ll wait….

The “kitty”: un minou (or typically minet/minette)

The commonest approach to say “kitty” in French is un minou. Like most of the phrases on our checklist, this phrase is masculine however can typically be used for feminine cats as properly.

You’ll in all probability additionally come throughout the variants minet for male kitties and minette for feminine kitties, though these are a bit much less frequent than minou.

Minou can typically be a pet title or time period of endearment, a bit like calling somebody “kitten” in French. However I wouldn’t do that until it was clearly understood that this was your intention, since, like one other “cat” phrase on this  checklist, minou also can typically have a sexual context.

The “kitty cat”: chatounet

Chatounet may be roughly translated as “kitty cat” in French. It’s a bit much less frequent than the opposite phrases on our checklist. Like different “kitty” phrases, you could hear it used as a time period of endearment for an individual.

The “kitty”…or card sport: mistigri

Mistigri is one other approach to say “kitty” in French. It in all probability comes from previous French phrases that means “agile” and “grey”, though at this time it may be used for a cat of any colour.  

You could come throughout this time period however it’s extra uncommon than the opposite French “cat” phrases on our checklist, and you may additionally hear it used as a selected cat’s title.

Mistigri can also be the title of a well-liked card sport, normally performed by kids and households. The sport includes getting matching pairs of playing cards and attempting to not find yourself with the “mistigri”, a card that doesn’t match with any others.

There are many decks for Mistigri, and plenty of are cat-themed, as you may see should you do a web based seek for “mistigri” or “mistigri jeu”.

The “tomcat”: un matou

Un matou is a tomcat in French. You’ll usually hear the phrase un gros matou (an enormous tomcat). This time period could also be used for any male cat, whether or not or not he’s neutered.

Frequent varieties and breeds of cat in French

Closeup of brown Maine Coon cat with white and black markings whose tongue is out, licking his nose.

Now that we’ve checked out the most typical methods to say “cat” in French, you may be questioning how you can discuss particular sorts of cats.

For a number of years, the most typical cat breed in France has been the Maine Coon (le Maine coon). You’ll be able to see the remainder of the most well-liked cat breeds in France on this latest checklist.

That stated, when you’ll see that purebred cats quantity within the tens of 1000’s in France, the whole variety of pet cats has been counted at round 14 million, which suggests {that a} majority of cats in France should not purebred cats.

Whether or not they’re purebred or blended, listed here are among the most typical kinds of cats you’ll hear about in France:

  • un chat tigré – a tabby/striped cat
  • un chat noir – a black cat. Observe that historically in France, as in lots of different Western cultures, black cats are thought-about unhealthy luck, however at this time they’re additionally appreciated by many.
  • un chat persan – a Persian cat
  • un chat de gouttière – a cat that’s  not a pure breed. Actually “gutter cat”, this may typically even be used the way in which “alley cat” is in English – that’s, a cat who lives outdoors and has it type of tough.
  • un chat de race – a purebred cat.
  • un chat européen – a European shorthair
  • un chat domestique – a home cat
  • un chat d’intérieur – an indoor cat
  • le Chat Botté – Puss in Boots (Actually: The Cat in Boots). He makes this checklist as a result of one of many earliest and most well-known variations of his story was revealed by French author Charles Perrault in 1697, in his ebook Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités, often known as Contes de ma mère l’Oye, which you may learn free of charge on-line (Le Chat Botté begins at web page 67).

Don’t see your favourite cat breed or kind of cat on this checklist? You are able to do a web based seek for “races de chat”. Or go to the breed’s web page on Wikipedia in English and swap the language to French.

Important French cat vocabulary

A closeup of a gray cat licking one of its front paws, its eyes happily closed.

Listed here are some cat-related phrases you would possibly wish to know in French!

  • un animal domestique/un animal de compagnie – a pet. There’s no shorter phrase for this in French.
  • miaou – meow (the sound)
  • miauler – to meow
  • ronron – purr (the sound)
  • ronronner – to purr
  • cracher – to hiss
  • le pelage – coat (of fur). Ex: Ce chat a un beau pelage. (This cat has stunning fur/a stupendous coat.)
  • le poil – one other phrase for coat (of fur). Un chat à poil lengthy is a long-haired cat; un chat à poil courtroom is a short-haired cat.
  • les poils -“hairs”, on this case, cat hair(s), aka what the clothes of a number of us cat homeowners are lined in! Ex: Dans le métro, Jean a remarqué que sa veste était couverte de poils de chat. (Within the Metro, Jean seen that his jacket was lined in cat fur.)
  • la gueule – muzzle/mouth. Gueule is a really difficult French phrase as a result of it’s thought-about vulgar should you use it for an individual. That’s why there are expressions like Ta gueule (Shut the hell up). However used with an precise animal, it is a completely impartial phrase. Ex: Le chat avait une souris dans sa guele (The cat had a mouse in its mouth.)
  • les moustaches – whiskers. Ex: Les moustaches d’un chat sont souvent blanches ou noires, mais certains chats ont des moustaches bicolores. (A cat’s whiskers are normally white or black, however some cats have whiskers which might be each colours.)
  • une patte – a paw
  • la queue – tail. Watch out as a result of this phrase also can imply “penis”, so take note of context.
  • une griffe/les griffes – a claw/claws. Observe that declawing cats for non-medical causes is unlawful in France.
  • griffer – to scratch
  • un coup de griffe – a swipe of the claws. Ex: J’ai essayé de caresser le ventre de leur chat et il m’a donné un coup de griffe. (I attempted to pet their cat’s stomach et he swiped me together with his claws.)
  • un griffoir – a scratching publish/cat scratcher
  • un arbre à chat – a cat tree/scratching publish
  • faire sa toilette – to wash oneself. Observe that this expression is used for a cat licking itself clear, however it’s additionally used for an individual cleansing themself up.
  • malaxer/pétrir – to knead, or, as many people cat followers say in English, to “make biscuits”.
  • des croquettes – laborious meals
  • la nourriture (humide) – (moist) meals
  • une friandise – a deal with (one thing to eat)
  • l’herbe à chat OR l’herbe aux chats – catnip. Based on Wikipedia, there’s a slight distinction in elements for every time period within the French spoken in France, however not in Quebec. Nonetheless, most cat individuals in France in all probability don’t differentiate, both.
  • la stérilisation – spaying or neutering. Ex: La stérilisation est un bon moyen de limiter la surpopulation de chatons, et de plus elle augmente l’espérance de vie d’un chat. (Spaying or neutering is an efficient approach to restrict the overpopulation of kittens, and on prime of that it will increase a cat’s life expectancy.)
  • stérilisé(e) – spayed or neutered. There are just a few different phrases for “neutered” that you simply would possibly come throughout, together with castré and châtré.  
  • la litière – litter OR a litter field. If it’s a must to specify, un bac à litière works for “a litter field”.
  • une chatière – cat door/cat flap
  • une puce – an ID chip. This chip, implanted below a cat’s pores and skin, permits her or him to be recognized at any vet’s workplace within the nation, in case she or he runs away. The chip is scanned and divulges a quantity and an proprietor’s title related to it.
  • un blep– a blep (an web slang phrase for when a cat’s tongue adorably stays protruding).
  • chamedi – Caturday (chat (cat) + medi (urday)). The day for social media customers to publish cat pictures and cat memes (properly, greater than they may normally do…). Observe that since that is web slang, many French individuals, particularly of youthful generations, would possibly decide to only use the English time period “Caturday” as a substitute.
  • une langue de chat – a vanilla-flavored cookie whose form and tough texture resemble its title, a cat’s tongue. You’ll be able to study extra about langues de chat on this fascinating Wikipedia article.

5 frequent French cat expressions

A cream-colored cat with black and orange markings on her face and some brown stripes on her chest, front legs, and back, is outdoors. She stares fixedly at something in the distance. Her eyes are a very unusual turquoise color with a lot of white.

As in English (and plenty of different languages), there are a variety of frequent French expressions and idioms that contain cats. Listed here are 5 you’ll almost certainly come throughout:

  • Les chiens ne font pas des chats.The apple doesn’t fall removed from the tree. That’s, a toddler resembles their dad or mum – so on this case, a cat will make a cat, not a canine.
  • avoir un chat dans la gorge – to have a frog in your throat. In different phrases, to have a humorous voice as a result of your throat is irritated.
  • s’entendre comme chien et chatto not get alongside, to all the time be combating with one another. Ex: Son frère et lui s’entendent comme chien et chat. (He and his brother don’t get alongside/all the time struggle.)
  • avoir d’autres chats à fouetter – to produce other fish to fry. Actually “to produce other cats to whip,” this expression is a bit much less good than its English equal! Ex: Laisse tomber. J’ai d’autres chats à fouetter. (Overlook about it. I’ve different fish to fry.) You might also hear an analogous expression: Il n’y a pas de quoi fouetter un chat. (It’s not an enormous deal.)
  • Quand le chat n’est pas là, les souris dansent. – When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

You could find another French “cat” expressions on this WordReference checklist. You can even discover French “cat”-related expressions on this Wiktionnaire web page.

French cat puns

In French, chat seems like a humorous approach to say ça (this/that), which makes it good for all kinds of puns. Mostly, you would possibly come throughout a greeting card with a cat that claims Chat va ? , a play on Ça va? (How are you?/How’s it going?).

However nearly any ça phrase or expression may work.

And actually, the phrase chat will also be substituted for another phrase that has the sound ça or sa in it. That’s why, as you will have seen, Caturday in English is chamedi (chat (cat) + medi (urday) in French — though since French individuals usually maintain web lingo within the authentic English, you’ll in all probability see Caturday used, too.

As in English, although, do not forget that these puns will usually be seen as foolish at greatest and corny at worst, so use them sparingly, and possibly solely with fellow cat (and pun) followers.

You could find extra cat puns in French by doing a web based seek for “chat jeu de mots”.

The most well-liked French cat names

An orange tabby sits on the top of a wall with what seems like a patio behind him. His green eyes are slightly squinted as he looks of into the sunny distance. He is majestic.

Though we frequently consider the French as canine homeowners, since 1996, cats have been the most typical pet in France.

Based on most sources, there are about 14 million pet cats in France at this time.

The 5 most typical cat names in France in 2023 are:

  • Simba
  • Nala
  • Tigrou (Tigger)
  • Ruby
  • Romy

Clear proof that the French love Disney as a lot as many different cultures do!

Another standard French cat names embody:

However many French cat homeowners and shelters go for different selections, too. You’ll come throughout names like Minou, in addition to a gamut of human names. For example, my very own cat was named Arsène by the shelter the place we adopted him. Since I like Arsène Lupin, I used to be thrilled!  

If you wish to take a look at another frequent cat names, or cat title concepts in French, do an web seek for “nom chat” or “idée prénom chat”.

Do the French like cats?

Cats are the most well-liked pet in France, so most French individuals like them. However there are all the time those that don’t – and even individuals who have a phobia of cats.

There’s additionally a tragic drawback in France, which impacts all pets, not simply cats. Numbers differ extensively, however yearly anyplace from round 10,000 to as many as 200,000 pets are deserted, usually throughout trip intervals. It’s a darkish aspect of French pet possession, though in fact there are such a lot of different French pet homeowners who actually care for his or her pets and would by no means abandon them.

Animals are typically nonetheless seen a bit in a different way in France than they’re in lots of Anglo-Saxon international locations. We would discuss “furchildren” however in France, particularly the countryside, animals are sometimes seen as having a job (mousing, for cats) and being expendable.

And the idea of the “loopy cat girl” (a membership of which I’m a proud member!) doesn’t exist within the standard creativeness right here, despite the fact that there are many us in France.

Nonetheless, take coronary heart. In France at this time, you’ll extra possible meet individuals who love (or a minimum of like) cats, just like the hundreds of thousands of households who’ve pet cats. Animal rights have vastly improved below French regulation in recent times. And there are a lot of well-known French animal rights activists and rescue teams and organizations, together with la Fondation Brigitte Bardot and the group 30 hundreds of thousands d’amis, amongst quite a few others.

You’ll discover just a few cat cafes in main French cities, and cat puns and cute cat playing cards in every single place. Keep lengthy sufficient in Paris and also you’ll begin to discover ghosts of emblematic cats like the chat noir who impressed the well-known Montmartre cafe. You’ll meet individuals who love their cats, individuals who feed and assist strays, run or volunteer at shelters, or share cat memes on-line.

So, whereas there are some French individuals who don’t care about cats, they appear to be the minority. Cats are beloved by numerous French individuals, and acknowledged by French regulation as residing creatures who shouldn’t be harmed.

The place can I study extra French cat vocabulary?

A short-haired white kitten with slight gray markings on nose and head leans on a table with its front paws, looking with wide eyes at something. We can assume he's standing on his back paws.

A great way to study extra French cat vocabulary is by visiting web sites about cats and watching French cat documentaries.

You could find French cat web sites by doing a search like “web site internet chat” or “informations sur les chats”.

You’ll be able to watch cat documentaries in French by going to YouTube and trying to find “documentaire chat ”, or if you’d like, swap out the overall time period “chat” along with your most well-liked breed or, considered one of my favourite type of documentary topics, chatons. You might also be capable to discover cat documentaries in French or with a French audio model obtainable on streaming providers like Netflix.

One other good supply of French cat vocabulary are French books and French cat magazines.

For French cat books, you may seek for “livre chat” or “roman chat”. In the event you want quick tales, seek for “nouvelle chat”.

For French magazines about cats,  a web based seek for “journal chat” gives you numerous outcomes. Many of those magazines can be found on-line, although usually in a restricted capability. In any other case, you may verify our article on French magazines for tactics you would possibly be capable to subscribe to them from abroad.

Fellow cat (and French) followers, I hope this text gave you your feline repair! In case you have a cat, please give them une caresse (a pet) from me. And should you’d like to assist cats, contact your native shelter to see should you can donate or volunteer.

Chat suffit pour aujourd’hui. (“Cat’s sufficient” for at this time.) Au revoir les amis !