what is a female cat called

Feline Royalty: What Is a Female Cat Called? And Its Origins

Cats, with their mysterious aura and elegant demeanor, have captivated human hearts for centuries. But beyond their charming quirks lies a world rich in terminology and roles. One question often arises in the minds of cat enthusiasts: What is a female cat called?

This article delves into this specific query, exploring not just the term itself but also its historical and cultural significance, shedding light on the esteemed position female cats hold in the feline hierarchy.

Basic Cat Terminology

Cat 2

When it comes to understanding our feline friends, the terminology we use plays a key role. Let’s start with the basics:

1. Feline

This general term refers to any member of the cat family, encompassing both domesticated cats and their wild relatives, like lions and tigers. It’s a broad classification that links household pets with their majestic, wild counterparts.

2. Tomcat

Specifically referring to a mature male cat, especially when he’s not neutered. This term often connotes a certain ruggedness or independence typically observed in male cats. It’s a term steeped in folklore and popular culture, often associated with the image of a roving, untamed male cat.

3. Queen

Now, to the heart of our topic: What is a female cat called? The answer is ‘Queen.’ This term is particularly used for mature female cats, especially those that are reproductive. It’s a term of respect and endearment, reflecting the important role female cats play in the cycle of life, both as mothers and as central figures in cat social structures.

The origins of these terms are as intriguing as the animals they describe. They reflect not just the physical characteristics of these animals but also our relationship with them throughout history. Understanding these terms is the first step in appreciating the complex and fascinating world of cats.

The Queen: Understanding Female Cats

Female Cat

Delving deeper into the world of feline terminology, the term ‘Queen’ stands out, particularly when addressing the question: What is a female cat called? This term, reserved for mature, reproductive female cats, reveals much about their roles and behaviors.

1. Defining the Queen

Unlike the more general term ‘feline’, which applies to all cats, or ‘Tomcat’, used for male cats, the term ‘Queen’ specifically distinguishes female cats of breeding age. It implies a level of respect and recognition of their role in cat reproduction and social structures.

2. Behavioral Characteristics

Queens exhibit distinct behaviors, especially during the breeding season. They can become more vocal, restless, and may display a strong desire to go outside, if they are indoor cats. This behavior, known as calling or yowling, is part of their natural reproductive instincts.

3. Role in Cat Colonies

In both domestic and feral settings, Queens play a pivotal role. They often dominate the social hierarchy in cat colonies. Their interactions with other cats, especially during breeding and rearing of kittens, can influence the social dynamics of the group.

4. Maternal Instincts

The term ‘Queen’ also highlights the strong maternal instincts of female cats. They are fiercely protective of their kittens, teaching them essential survival skills. A Queen will often go to great lengths to find a safe, secluded place to birth and care for her young.

5. Independent and Resilient Nature

Female cats, especially when they assume the role of a Queen, demonstrate a high degree of independence and resilience. They are adept hunters, crucial for both their survival and the sustenance of their kittens. This independence is a defining trait of what makes a female cat a Queen.

Understanding what a female cat is called, and the significance behind the term ‘Queen’, opens up a window into the fascinating world of feline social dynamics and behaviors. It’s a term that encompasses their strength, independence, and the pivotal role they play in the continuity of their species.

Reproduction and Motherhood in Cats

Motherhood in Cats

In the realm of feline biology, understanding the reproduction and motherhood of Queens (female cats) is a fascinating study. When we explore “what is a female cat called,” we delve into the intricate world of feline reproduction and maternal behavior.

1. Reproductive Cycle of the Queen

Female cats reach sexual maturity between 4 to 10 months of age, though this can vary depending on the cat and its environment. The reproductive cycle of a Queen is unique; they are seasonally polyestrous, meaning they have multiple estrus (heat) cycles during the breeding season, typically in the spring and summer.

2. Estrus and Mating

During estrus, Queens exhibit distinct behaviors such as increased vocalization, affectionateness, and restlessness. They are receptive to male cats and can mate with multiple males during a single estrus cycle. This mating pattern can lead to a litter of kittens with different fathers.

3. Pregnancy and Gestation

Once a Queen is pregnant, the gestation period typically lasts around 64 to 67 days. During this time, she may display signs of nesting behavior and seek a safe, quiet space for the impending birth.

4. Birth and Kitten Care

The process of giving birth, known as queening, is a critical phase. A Queen can give birth to a litter ranging from one to several kittens. Post-birth, the mother’s role is pivotal; she nurses, cleans, and protects her kittens with great care. She teaches them essential skills for survival and social interaction.

5. Maternal Instinct and Weaning

The maternal instinct in Queens is strong and essential for the survival of the kittens. Around 8 to 10 weeks, the weaning process begins, wherein the Queen gradually encourages her kittens to become more independent, starting to eat solid food and learn litter habits.

6. The Role of Spaying

Understanding the reproductive cycle of female cats also brings attention to the importance of spaying. Spaying not only helps control the pet population but also reduces the risk of certain health issues and behavioral problems associated with the heat cycle.

In exploring “what is a female cat called,” we encounter the complex and admirable aspects of feline reproduction and motherhood. The Queen, with her natural instincts and behaviors, plays a crucial role in the nurturing and continuation of her species.

Cultural and Historical Perspective

Historical Perspective

When we delve into the question, “What is a female cat called?” we uncover not just a name but a rich tapestry of cultural and historical significance surrounding female cats. The term ‘Queen’ for female cats has roots that extend deep into human history and culture.

1. Ancient Reverence

In ancient civilizations, cats, especially female ones, were often held in high regard. In Ancient Egypt, cats were revered, and goddesses like Bastet, often depicted as a lioness or as a woman with a cat’s head, symbolized fertility and motherhood. This reverence highlights the esteemed role female cats played in early societies.

2. Cats in Folklore and Superstition

Throughout history, female cats, particularly black ones, have been associated with mysticism and superstition. In medieval Europe, they were often linked to witches and magic, a belief that led to both fear and respect for these creatures. This association speaks to the enigmatic nature attributed to female cats.

3. Literary and Artistic Depictions

Female cats have been a popular subject in literature and art, often portrayed as nurturing yet independent and cunning characters. From the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” to the various depictions of cats in fairy tales and folklore, these portrayals reflect the multifaceted nature of female cats.

4. Modern Symbolism

In contemporary culture, the image of a female cat, or a Queen, often symbolizes independence, agility, and mystery. This can be seen in various forms of media, where female cats are depicted as strong and autonomous characters.

5. Global Perspectives

The view and naming of female cats vary across cultures. In some places, they are seen as nurturing protectors, while in others, they embody independence and self-sufficiency. The term ‘Queen’ itself is predominantly a Western nomenclature, while other cultures may have different terms and associations.

6. Cultural Shifts and Cat Domestication

The role and perception of female cats have also evolved with the domestication of cats. As cats transitioned from wild hunters to domestic companions, the role of the Queen shifted as well, adapting to the needs of living in proximity to humans.

In summary, exploring the question, “What is a female cat called?” leads us into a world where the term ‘Queen’ is imbued with historical depth and cultural richness. Female cats have been, and continue to be, symbols of mystery, power, and nurturing across various societies, reflecting the diverse roles they play in human history and culture.

Famous Female Cats in History and Media

In the journey to answer “What is a female cat called?”, we encounter numerous famous female cats who have left their paw prints in history and media. These Queens have not only captured hearts but have also played significant roles in shaping our perceptions of feline femininity.

1. Bastet – The Egyptian Goddess


Image source: Pinterest

Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess depicted as a lioness or as a woman with the head of a cat, is perhaps the most renowned historical figure embodying the essence of a Queen. She represented protection, fertility, and motherhood, highlighting the revered status of female cats in ancient cultures.

2. The Cheshire Cat in Literature

Cheshire Cat

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Although not explicitly female, the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” has often been portrayed with feminine characteristics in various adaptations. This character’s enigmatic and cunning nature reflects the mysterious allure often associated with female cats.

3. Hello Kitty – A Cultural Icon

Hello Kitty

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Hello Kitty, a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, is a globally recognized female cat figure. Though depicted without a mouth, her simple design and cute demeanor have made her an icon of pop culture, representing innocence and friendship.

4. Felicity from ‘Felidae’


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In the animated film “Felidae,” Felicity is a strong, independent female cat character. Her role in the film showcases the intelligence and complex nature of female cats, aligning with the characteristics of a Queen.

5. Mrs. Norris from the Harry Potter Series


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Mrs. Norris, the pet cat of Argus Filch in the Harry Potter series, is another example of a famous female cat in media. Her keen sense of awareness and loyalty to Filch showcases the protective and observant traits often seen in Queens.

6. Grumpy Cat – An Internet Sensation

Grumpy Cat

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Tardar Sauce, better known as Grumpy Cat, became an internet sensation due to her unique facial expression. Her fame highlights the modern world’s fascination with cat personalities and the way they capture public imagination.

7. Salem from ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’

Salem 1

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Although originally male in the comic series, Salem has been portrayed as female in some adaptations, embodying the mystique and cunning often attributed to female cats.

These famous female cats, from mythical goddesses to pop culture icons, illustrate the diverse roles and representations of Queens in history and media. They not only entertain and intrigue us but also deepen our understanding of what a female cat is called and represents.


The term ‘Queen’ does more than just define the gender of a cat. It encapsulates the essence of what a female cat is called and represents their significant role in both the animal kingdom and human culture. Understanding these terms enriches our appreciation of these magnificent creatures and reminds us of the depth and history behind our feline friends.

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