Meaning of the word ‘catta’

This is an interesting discussion because there are different ideas about the meaning of the word catta. It seems, however, that its origin is the Latin word cattus which is a derivative of the word catus which in turn is part of the Latin scientific name for the domestic cat: Felis silvestris catus or Felis catus.

Meaning of the word 'catta'
Top left: copyright Helmi Flick. Remaining two in public domain.
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Urban Dictionary

Having got that out of the way the Urban Dictionary says that catta is another word for faggot. They provide an example:

“Thyiem is always acting like a catta”

They also state that it comes from the Latin word “Scatter” which led to the English word “Scatta” meaning a pussy or a scaredy cat which in turn means somebody who runs away from a difficult situation.

It is interesting to see the reference to the word “cat” in this description of catta. This is because I think the best description of the meaning of this word comes from Dr Desmond Morris in his encyclopedia about cats: Cat World.

Dr Desmond Morris

He says that the word “catta” means a female cat. A veterinary surgeon, Leon Witney, in 1950, published a book, The Complete Book of Cat Care, and in the preface he suggested that there should be a new name for the female cat. As we know a male, unneutered cat is called a “tom” or “tomcat”. Female cats are referred to as “queens”. More precisely the word refers to a female cat who is a mother and/or a breeding female cat (unspayed). But Mr Witney thought that the word was silly and wanted to improve upon it. He commented:

“I should like to propose a new word for our language… I propose the word catta for the female cat… catta is the Latin word for the female of an unknown species of animal. Why not apply it to the cat? Why has some word not been used in our language long ago? I propose to use it throughout this book.”

He used the word as follows:

“Breeders usually allow a catta to call for two or three days and then put her with the male..”

The author’s plea for the word to be taken up universally fell upon deaf ears. Perhaps it is because the word is slightly clumsy and doesn’t fit naturally within the English language.

Wiktionary, the free online dictionary, states that catta describes a female cat:

Noun: catta f (genitive cattae); first declension

Baruch 6:21 (Vulgate) “supra corpus eorum et supra caput volant noctuae et hirundines et aves etiam similiter et cattae

Translation:

Owls, and swallows, and other birds fly upon their bodies, and upon their heads, and cats in like manner.

Conclusion: the meaning of the word ‘catta’ is the female cat.

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