What is a catamount? The word ‘catamount’ is a shortened version of ‘cat-of-the-mountain’, which in turn is a translation of the Spanish ‘gato monte‘.
Catamount is one of the several names that the puma is known by. ‘Puma’ is the correct name for this large wild cat and it is used by the scientists. The general public use ‘cougar’ and ‘mountain lion’.
However, dictionaries tell us that catamount refers to a large wild cat especially a puma. They are saying that the word is not used exclusively as an alternative name for the puma.
I don’t know who is correct. I favour the first explanation which comes from the wonderful book by Mel and Fiona Sunquist, Wild Cats Of The World. This book is the definitive work on the wild cats and it must have taken many years to research and write.
Of all the names bestowed on this fabulous wild cat species, catamount is perhaps the least used and a little old fashioned.
Click on the link below to read about the naming of the puma – the wild cat with the most names!