The historical association between the words “cathouse” and “pussy”

The link is the promiscuous nature of the female urban cat when in heat.

Link between cathouse and pussy
Link between cathouse and pussy. Individual images in the public domain. Montage by PoC.
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You have probably made the association between the words “cathouse” and “pussy”. If you haven’t, this is it. ‘Cathouse’ is a slang word to describe a brothel. It’s been used like that for several centuries because prostitutes have been called cats since the 15th century.

The reason is perhaps obvious namely that stray street cats attract many tomcats when on heat and they mate with them one after the other. As mentioned in a previous post it’s gang rape of a sort.

Records tell us that in the year 1401 men were warned of the risks of chasing the cattis tailis, the cat’s tail. This explains why the word “tail” is sometimes used as slang for female genitals. A similar use for the word “pussy” dates from the 17th century.

My thanks to Dr Desmond Morris’s encyclopaedia Cat World are clarifying this.

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