What do you call a female cat?

Here is a lesson in words. I was recently asked by a child, what do you call a male cat? The answer was “tom” like in “a tom cat.” The child then asked me what do you call a female cat? My mind came up blank. Just like in chickens, the male is a rooster and the female a hen, cats also have that male and female name………so what DO you call a female cat?

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My mind went racing. For almost every animal there is a female and male title as well as young and mature. For example a young, newborn horse is a foal. When they are just a few days old they take on the gender names of either a filly (female) or colt (male). Those titles stay until their sexual maturity changes. The colt might become a gelding (a neutered male) or a stallion. The filly will take on the name of mare at 3 years old unless she becomes a mother earlier at which time she becomes a mare when pregnant.

The gender titles really get mixed up when you get into the bovine family. Almost everyone wants to call them “cows” when in reality a cow is the female. A young cow is a heifer (female), a young bull (male) can be a steer (castrated male) or remain a bull. If you have a different breed of cattle used as draft animals, they are known as Ox then a steer is an Ox less than four years old. Ox, or Oxen are cattle that a trained to pull wagons. Almost all of them are castrated but bulls and cows are sometimes used.

So back to cats, what is a female cat called? The answer is a “molly” unless she has become a mother and then she has become a “queen.”

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