cat

What's another name for the four-legged feline that lies around on your keyboard all day and purrs? You might call it “Fluffy,” but it’s also known as a cat.

If you’re in the market for a pet cat, just make sure it meows, and doesn’t roar like the lion, tiger, or jaguar, all of which are in the same family as the housecat. Domesticated as long ago as ancient Egyptian times, the cat is a fixture not only in many homes, but also in a host of English expressions — like, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play,” “it’s raining cats and dogs,” and “the cat’s pajamas.”

Definitions of cat
  1. noun
    feline mammal usually having thick soft fur and no ability to roar: domestic cats; wildcats
    synonyms: true cat
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 31 types...
    hide 31 types...
    Felis catus, Felis domesticus, domestic cat, house cat
    any domesticated member of the genus Felis
    wildcat
    any small or medium-sized cat resembling the domestic cat and living in the wild
    kitty, kitty-cat, puss, pussy, pussycat
    informal terms referring to a domestic cat
    mouser
    a cat proficient at mousing
    alley cat
    a homeless cat
    tom, tomcat
    male cat
    queen, tabby
    female cat
    tabby, tabby cat
    a cat with a gray or tawny coat mottled with black
    tiger cat
    a cat having a striped coat
    calico cat, tortoiseshell, tortoiseshell-cat
    a cat having black and cream-colored and yellowish markings
    Persian cat
    a long-haired breed of cat
    Angora, Angora cat
    a long-haired breed of cat similar to the Persian cat
    Siamese, Siamese cat
    a slender short-haired blue-eyed breed of cat having a pale coat with dark ears paws face and tail tip
    Burmese cat
    a short-haired breed with body similar to the Siamese cat but having a solid dark brown or grey coat
    Egyptian cat
    a domestic cat of Egypt
    Maltese, Maltese cat
    a term applied indiscriminately in the United States to any short-haired bluish-grey cat
    Abyssinian, Abyssinian cat
    a small slender short-haired breed of African origin having brownish fur with a reddish undercoat
    Manx, Manx cat
    a short-haired tailless breed of cat believed to originate on the Isle of Man
    sand cat
    a desert wildcat
    European wildcat, Felis silvestris, catamountain
    bushy-tailed wildcat of Europe that resembles the domestic cat and is regarded as the ancestor of the domestic cat
    Felis concolor, catamount, cougar, mountain lion, painter, panther, puma
    large American feline resembling a lion
    Felis pardalis, ocelot, panther cat
    nocturnal wildcat of Central America and South America having a dark-spotted buff-brown coat
    Felis yagouaroundi, eyra, jaguarondi, jaguarundi, jaguarundi cat
    long-bodied long-tailed tropical American wildcat
    Felis ocreata, caffer cat, kaffir cat
    widely distributed wildcat of Africa and Asia Minor
    Felis chaus, jungle cat
    small Asiatic wildcat
    Felis serval, serval
    slender long-legged African wildcat having large untufted ears and tawny black-spotted coat
    Felis bengalensis, leopard cat
    small spotted wildcat of southern Asia and Malaysia
    Felis tigrina, tiger cat
    medium-sized wildcat of Central America and South America having a dark-striped coat
    Felis wiedi, margay, margay cat
    small spotted wildcat found from Texas to Brazil
    Felis manul, Pallas's cat, manul
    small wildcat of the mountains of Siberia and Tibet and Mongolia
    catamount, lynx
    short-tailed wildcats with usually tufted ears; valued for their fur
    type of:
    felid, feline
    any of various lithe-bodied roundheaded fissiped mammals, many with retractile claws
  2. noun
    any of several large cats typically able to roar and living in the wild
    synonyms: big cat
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 19 types...
    hide 19 types...
    Panthera pardus, leopard
    large feline of African and Asian forests usually having a tawny coat with black spots
    Panthera uncia, ounce, snow leopard
    large feline of upland central Asia having long thick whitish fur
    Felis onca, Panthera onca, jaguar, panther
    a large spotted feline of tropical America similar to the leopard; in some classifications considered a member of the genus Felis
    Panthera leo, king of beasts, lion
    large gregarious predatory feline of Africa and India having a tawny coat with a shaggy mane in the male
    Panthera tigris, tiger
    large feline of forests in most of Asia having a tawny coat with black stripes; endangered
    liger
    offspring of a male lion and a female tiger
    tiglon, tigon
    offspring of a male tiger and a female lion
    Acinonyx jubatus, cheetah, chetah
    long-legged spotted cat of Africa and southwestern Asia having nonretractile claws; the swiftest mammal; can be trained to run down game
    saber-toothed tiger, sabertooth
    any of many extinct cats of the Old and New Worlds having long swordlike upper canine teeth; from the Oligocene through the Pleistocene
    lion cub
    a young lion
    tiger cub
    a young tiger
    leopardess
    female leopard
    panther
    a leopard in the black color phase
    lioness
    a female lion
    lionet
    a small or young lion
    Bengal tiger
    southern short-haired tiger
    tigress
    a female tiger
    Smiledon californicus
    North American sabertooth; culmination of sabertooth development
    false saber-toothed tiger
    North American cat of the Miocene and Pliocene; much earlier and less specialized than members of the genus Smiledon
    type of:
    felid, feline
    any of various lithe-bodied roundheaded fissiped mammals, many with retractile claws
  3. noun
    a whip with nine knotted cords
    “British sailors feared the cat
    synonyms: cat-o'-nine-tails
    see moresee less
    type of:
    whip
    an instrument with a handle and a flexible lash that is used for whipping
  4. verb
    beat with a cat-o'-nine-tails
    see moresee less
    type of:
    flog, lash, lather, slash, strap, trounce, welt, whip
    beat severely with a whip or rod
  5. noun
    a large tracked vehicle that is propelled by two endless metal belts; frequently used for moving earth in construction and farm work
    synonyms: Caterpillar
    see moresee less
    type of:
    tracked vehicle
    a self-propelled vehicle that moves on tracks
  6. noun
    a spiteful woman gossip
    “what a cat she is!”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    gossip, gossiper, gossipmonger, newsmonger, rumormonger, rumourmonger
    a person given to gossiping and divulging personal information about others
    adult female, woman
    an adult female person (as opposed to a man)
  7. noun
    an informal term for a youth or man
    synonyms: bozo, guy, hombre
    see moresee less
    types:
    sod
    an informal British term for a youth or man
    type of:
    adult male, man
    an adult person who is male (as opposed to a woman)
  8. noun
    the leaves of the shrub Catha edulis which are chewed like tobacco or used to make tea; has the effect of a euphoric stimulant
    synonyms: African tea, Arabian tea, kat, khat, qat, quat
    see moresee less
    type of:
    excitant, stimulant, stimulant drug
    a drug that temporarily quickens some vital process
  9. verb
    eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth
    synonyms: barf, be sick, chuck, disgorge, regurgitate, throw up, vomit, vomit up
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    keep down
    manage not to throw up
    type of:
    egest, eliminate, excrete, pass
    eliminate from the body
Word Family