There are 2 parts to the article. Please read the entire page as I believe the updating second part to be more accurate but the origin of the word ‘moggie’ is still somewhat up for discussion after all these years in use. The first part is by an appreciated visitor to the site. Michael Broad wrote the second part. My source is Dr Desmond Morris’s book Catlore. This page was first published in around 2008 and has been updated in May 2023.
What is a moggy?
I use the word ‘random-bred’ to describe the moggie. Another term is ‘mixed-breed’. They are created through natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution compared to artificial selection or selective breeding for the creation of purebred cats. Purebred cats are often pedigree cats which means that they have a recorded family tree (a lineage) with the cat association where the cat is registered.
This section written by by Ria (Ockendon, Essex, England). The picture is of her cat, Pebble who’s a moggie.
This page also answers the question: Why are cats called moggies?
Moggy or moggie is an old British affectionate term for a domestic cat, but is also used as alternative name for a mongrel or mixed-breed cat whose ancestry and pedigree are unknown or only partially known. Because of this mixed ancestry and free-breeding, a moggy can either be very healthy, or, if from an inbred feral colony, genetically unsound and sickly.
However, as feral colonies are often left without any form of human intervention and veterinary attention, the sickliest generally do not live past kittenhood.
Also in Lancashire and Cumbria UK the word moggy was used to mean a mouse and the cat was called a moggy catcher. Eventually the ‘catcher’ was dropped and so both cat and mouse were called moggies.
It was thought to be derived from the classic M markings on a tabbies head! (Most cats have tabby markings as kittens). Because people don’t tend to be as careful of the breeding of cats the vast majority are moggies!
Hi Ria: Thanks for your submission. I changed the title to see if Google search finds it better. Michael
Further updating information by Michael Broad
I would also like to add some more on this subject. The term “moggy” began as a “local dialect variant” of the name Maggie which means a dishevelled old woman. In some places it was the name of a scarecrow. At its core it means something which is scruffy and untidy. At the start of the 20th century its use had spread to include cats.
It appears to have begun in London where there were lots of scruffy community cats. Their poor condition was comparable to a dishevelled old woman. In between the world wars in Britain the word moggy was abbreviated to “mog”. In the 1920s and 1930s schoolboy slang referred to dogs and cats as “tikes and mogs”. The shortened version fizzled out after World War II while “moggie” returned to popularity to describe a random bred (non-purebred) cat. – source: Cat World by Desmond Morris.
Moving forward in time to the era of the AI computer, ChatGPT responds like this to the question in the title:
The term “moggy” is a colloquial British English word that is often used to refer to a domestic cat that does not belong to a particular breed or is of mixed breed. The origin of the word “moggy” is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated from the term “Maggie,” which was a common name for female cats in the 18th and 19th centuries. Over time, the name “Maggie” may have become shortened to “moggy.”
Another theory suggests that “moggy” comes from the word “mongrel,” which is used to describe an animal of mixed breed or uncertain ancestry. However, while “mongrel” is often used to describe mixed-breed dogs, it is less commonly used to refer to cats.
Regardless of its origin, the term “moggy” has become a widely accepted term in British English to describe domestic cats of mixed breed or unknown ancestry.
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