“What Do You Call a Female Cat if a Male Cat Is Called a Tom?” Well…

“What Do You Call a Female Cat if a Male Cat Is Called a Tom?” Well…

“What Do You Call a Female Cat if a Male Cat Is Called a Tom?” Well…

A Jerry. No, of course I’m only kidding.

I’m making a reference to Tom and Jerry in case you have no idea what I’m talking about…

Though, if you happen to know, is this reference still understandable to the younger generations? (I’m not that old, I swear!)

Oh and also, not that you asked, the two kitties featured in the pictures of post are Athos (grey and white floof) and Aramis (white floof).

Athos is the male and Aramis is the female and they’re great friends (well, he loves chasing after female cats and Aramis puts up with him, sooo… good enough!).

Male Cats Called Tom

Male cats are called “Toms” or “Tomcats” no matter their age these days, but apparently “Tom” was mostly just used for male kittens long ago.

Meaning, the term “Tom” referred at one point to male cats, roughly 6 months of age or younger, and had not matured to the point where they can have children.

Historically, adult male cats were often called ‘Rams’ and ‘Boars’ – apparently until the book The Life And Adventures Of A Cat was published and became super popular, after which many started using “Tom” to describe male cats of all ages.

The main character of that book is a male cat named Tom, so this makes sense.

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And then of course the Loony Toons Tom and Jerry popularized the name for male cats everywhere even more.

Some say that “Toms” or “Tomcats” only refers to adult male cats these days.

Oh and, some people also say the term “Tom” should only be used – technically – to refer to “in tact” males, meaning male cats who can still have children because they are the right age and have not been neutered and thus have not had surgery that makes it impossible for them to get a female cat pregnant.

And the rest of the non-Tom cats in that case would be… Gibs?

But I haven’t told you what a female cat is called yet, partially because I wanted to show you that sometimes, even with male cats, we have distinguished based on the age of the cat as well as other qualifiers, so here it goes for trying to explain the much more nuanced question of what a female cat is called…

Different Names Female Cats Are Called

Those female cats get a slew of different names actually.

I’m going to break them down based on how commonly I’ve heard of them, as well as what some of the qualifications for being called that are (though there is some debate).

Let me know in the comments section if there are more you’ve heard of or what qualifiers I may have gotten wrong or may be debatable and depend on who you’re asking!

1. Some or all adult female cats are called Queens?

Not all female cats are called a Queen, however. At least I’ve seen this said in quite a large number of places.

Apparently the cat in question has to be a female adult cat (i.e. childbearing age) and not spayed, i.e. “in tact” or without having had a surgery to prevent her from being able to breed.

That being said, some people say that Queen is a term only used for female cats who meet the prior criteria and also have to be pregnant or lactating to qualify for being called a Queen.

Okay so either way, what about the rest of the female cats?

And also there appears to be a local aspect to the name because apparently some places only call female cats…

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(That’s a picture of a pregnant Aramis being protected by a blep cat Athos the night before she gave birth to her litter of kittens… Oh and, no he didn’t turn out to be the father, they came out non-Persians, poor guy…)

2. Often female cats are called Molly?

Apparently if you call an adult cat who is lactating or pregnant a Queen, the remaining cats are a Molly.

Or maybe even if you call all adult female cats, who are of an age where they can have children, who are in-tact, never having undergone spaying surgery, the remainder are Molly?

Or if you call all adult cats a Queen the remainder are Molly?

Or if you live in Australia or maybe some other places all female cats are called Molly?

If your head’s spinning a little let me give you some more that are a little more clean cut.

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3. Purebred female cats are called Dam?

I’ve seen this float around some places, would love a confirmation if you’ve ever heard it used!

Personally I’ve only ever heard of Queen and every once in a blue moon Molly being used to refer to a female cat.

4. Old female cats are sometimes called Grimaulkin

Not seen this said often, but apparently this is an Old English term that supposedly roughly translates to “Old Mary.”

Maybe “gri” was referring to age, being old or “gray” and “Maulkin” something like Maude or Mary.

Apparently it is a term of endearment for an elderly female cat.

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Your Turn: What Are Female Cats Called?

Okay honestly, please tell me if you have ever heard of a female cat being called by any of these, and what context and specific criteria that cat had to meet to be called that.

Have you ever heard of a female cat being called anything else? Under what types of circumstances and qualifiers?

Would love the 411 on female cat calling. Just had to, sorry! 😉

Elise Xavier

Have three pet cats, Avery, Bjorn, & Athos whom I love to bits. Obsessed with cats. Figured I might as well blog about ’em.

Fond of my fluffies? See more of them on my personal blog, E&T. Dig KittyClysm? Check out all the other blogs I pen & photograph.

Elise’s Favourite Tip

One of the most frustrating problems I’ve had to deal with as a pet parent is staying on top of my cats’ desire to play. While this is typically hard to do, toys like these that allow cats to play by themselves make the job one heck of a lot easier.

The hits in my household are ridiculously affordable: cat springs, ball track toys, & kick sticks. I have a slew scattered around the house, so when my cats get bored, even if I’m busy or not even home, my furries are able to actively play.

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Reader Interactions


Martin says

October 20, 2023 at 1:59 pm

You obviously know. Females are pussy cats. It is a very usable word that we can’t use anymore for its original meaning, like “gay”, which means happy, carefree. But sometimes “pussy” was used for cats in general, as in Puss in Boots.

The expression “pussy-footing around” means treading very lightly, the way cats walk. But to you question about the “younger generation”, no, I don’t think they are familiar with the feline meaning of the word. My daughter got angry with me when I once used the expression “pussy-footing around”, so I had to explain it to her.


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Hi, I’m Elise! Welcome to KittyClysm – a blog for cat lovers & kitty keepers. Join me & my furries in our little corner of the feline-obsessed world. Facts about cats, training tips, odd behaviours, pet care advice – I talk as much as I can about it all here!

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