Some of the words that cat owners use irritate me. The same applies to other aspects of the world of cats including breeders of cats and even references to wild cats. I realise that I get irritated quite easily so what irritates me is not necessarily a good indication that the word is indeed irritating but I’ll write about them anyway.
A note to regular visitors: If you like some of these words and use them, please don’t be upset with me. It is just me. I’m like that.
Here are some cat words that irritate me:
Kitty – this is a well used word. And it is used worldwide. It annoys me. For me, it conjures up an image of an oldish cat caretaker who doesn’t really know that much about cats, does an average job at looking after their cat and sees the cat as a fluffy thing that adorns her home. “Here kitty kitty“..irritates me even more. For me “here kitty kitty” is indicative of some of the things that are wrong in the relationship between cat and human. It is partly because it is a little bit derogatory. It is said in a baby voice indicating that the person treats the cat as a human baby.
Pussy – hmm..this word is a bit old-fashioned because as slang it is now used to describe that part of the human female anatomy that we are not allowed to mention (in the UK anyway). I think the US version is “fanny”. This word doesn’t really irritate me but it is somewhat like “kitty”. “Here pussy, pussy…” comes to mind. For me it is a bit stupid.
Feral cat – I have mentioned this before. This terminology is not good for cats. The word “feral” indicates something out of control and bad. We use the word to describe kids who are criminals and completely out of control. The word applies to kids who have not received any parenting. Feral cat conjures up a mangy, thin cat scavenging for food and which is fair game to be brutalised by people. The problem is that people conveniently forget that they created feral cats. “Community cats” is much kinder and it would promote more kindly and humane behavior towards these generally disliked and even hated cats. Perhaps the word is used to deflect attention away from human responsibility for these cats.
Harvest – no we are not writing about corn or wheat but beautiful wild cats shot for their skins. People in the business of killing wild cats for their skin write of “harvesting”. They decide what degree of harvesting is allowable to sustain populations. I hate this word. It is so disrespectful of nature and these beautiful animals. Sadly even highly educated people who should have feelings about the word use it. I am referring to Mel and Fiona Sunquist the authors of the best book on wildcats, Wild Cats Of The World. Conservationists use the word too. Which brings me to…
Pelt – one those words that is meant to hide the real meaning: skin. The skin and gorgeous fur of a real, live, beautiful, athletic predator that should be left alone to live in the wild. Humans are good at using words that hide what is really going on. Which brings me to..
Euthanasia – this conjures up a beautiful transition from life to death under the most humane of conditions. Sometimes the word is used accurately. A great deal of the time it is not. It just masks the reality and perpetuates the nasty side of life that we prefer to brush under the carpet and try and forget about as it reminds us of our failures.
Alter – this is a word used by people in the cat fancy (breeders and showers) to classify a cat that has been neutered. It is a horrible word. It brings up thoughts of some sort of Frankenstein-type cat who has been altered.
Modified wedge – bizarre terminology to describe the head and face of a purebred cat in breed standards. It is used often. For me it is almost completely meaningless. A head can’t be entirely wedge shaped so it has to modified. So why use the phrase? And it is very hard to see a head as a wedge.
Break – this refers to the shape of a purebred cat’s nose. I have always struggled with what this word means, which shows you how misleading and misconceived a word it is. These are the words used for the flat-faced Persian nose: NOSE: short, snub, and broad, with “break” centered between the eyes. Go figure what “break” means. The cat associations never illustrate their breed standards (guides for breeders on appearance of a purebred cat).
Queen – description of a mother cat who has kittens or a female cat kept for breeding. Where did this word come from? It’s a bit weird. It is a bit sycophantic and over indulgent. Just say “mother cat’ and be done with it. If a mother cat is a queen why isn’t the father a king? He is called a “tom cat”. This is sexist! It looks as though this word was devised by women in the breeding business. It is indicative of slight sexism.
Massive – this describes the way the head of a Persian cat should look! Come on, cat fancy. That is a horrible exaggeration and encourages extreme breeding.
Moggie – I find this word OK actually. I use it a lot myself. But it is not quite right for me. It conjures up ideas of average, unrefined, uninteresting etc. It is wrong if the word does that because moggies are just as beautiful as any other cat. They are random-bred cats. They are not “mixed-breed” cats because they are of no breed whatsoever. Although that is a mute point because all cats have some purebred in them. It’s complicated. What might be a better word for moggie? “Non-purebred” is a bit clumsy. Perhaps we should just refer to them as “cats” and when referring to purebred cats we make that clear.
Do any cat words irritate you? Have I missed some? I probably have. Am I just a grumpy old man?