A Group of Cats is Called a ‘Clowder’

kittensToday I found out that the correct term for referring to a group of cats is ‘clowder’.  Interestingly, there are also two other valid ways to refer to a group of cats, other than just saying “group of cats” or “cats”.  Those other two terms are ‘clutter’ and ‘glaring’.

In addition to this, if one wants to refer to a group of wild cats, the correct terms are ‘dowt’ and ‘destruction’.   A male cat, when neutered, is called a “gib”, when not, is called a “tom”.  Female cats are known as “molly”.

The word “cat” itself derives from the Old English “catt”.  Catt has its source in the Late Latin “catus”, meaning: “domestic cat”.  This Late Latin word probably derives from an Afro-Asiatic word: “kaddîska”, meaning “wild cat”.

Bonus Facts:

  • Cats can survive a fall from virtually any height. According to a study done by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 132 cats falling from an average of 5.5 stories and as high as 32 stories, the latter of which is more than enough for them to reach their terminal velocity, have a survival rate of about 90%, assuming they are brought in to treat their various injuries that may occur because of the impact with the ground.  Read more Here
  • Cats cannot detect the sweet taste.  This is due to a mutant chemoreceptor in their taste buds.  Because of this, cats generally ignore sweet tasting food items like fruit.
  • Cats purr at around 26 cycles per second, which is about the same as an idling diesel engine.  Cats are also not the only animal that purrs.  Other animals that purr include: squirrels, guinea pigs, lemurs, and elephants, among others.
  • Domestic cats can run as fast as 30 mph.
  • It was long thought that domestic cats have their origin in Ancient Egypt.  However, in 2007 it was discovered that domestic cats pre-date Ancient Egypt and actually go as far back as 8000-9000 BC, with the first direct evidence being of a cat buried along side a human in Cyprus around 7500 BC.
  • It was also once popularly thought that cats were domesticated by humans in order to provide rodent control.  However, it is now thought that domestic cats were probably self domesticated in that they simply lived around humans long enough, hunting rodents and other vermin in towns, and gradually became adapted to domesticated life. Fast forward to today and cats are currently the most popular pet in the world.
  • A cat’s forelimbs have a free-floating clavicle bone.  Unless they are very overweight, this allows them to fit through any space their head can fit through.
  • The heaviest cat ever recorded was 46 pounds 15.2 ounces.  The lightest adult cat ever recorded was just 3 pounds.
  • A cat’s normal body temperature is around 101.5° F.  Unlike humans, they can comfortably withstand high external temperatures ranging up to 126° F to 133° F before showing any signs that they are hot.  This is thought to be a remnant of the fact that they were once probably desert animals.  Their feces is also typically very dry and their urine highly concentrated so as not to waste water.  In fact, cats need so little water that they can survive on nothing but uncooked meat, with no other water source needed.
  • Cats can see quite well in light levels as little as 1/6 of what is required for humans to see well.  They accomplish this largely via a tapetum lucidum, which reflects light passed through the retina back into the eye.  They also have exceptionally large pupils for their body size.
  • Cats also have some of the best hearing of any animal.  They can hear frequencies as high as 79 KHz and as low as 55 Hz.  For reference, humans hearing range is typically between 31 Hz to 18 KHz and dog’s hearing range is typically between 67 Hz and 44 KHz.  This extremely good hearing helps cats hunt rodents in that rodents often communicate in ultrasonic frequencies which the cats can hear.
  • A cat’s sense of smell is also about twice that of a typical human.
  • Cats are attracted to catnip largely because of the chemical nepetalactone, which mimics the smell of a certain pheromone found in cats.  Other plants that produce the same effect in cats are Silver Vine and the herb Valerian.  Interestingly, nepetalactone has the opposite effect on cockroaches and mosquitoes in that it repels them.
  • Domestic cats typically have a lifespan of around 12 to 14 years.  The current world record holder for oldest cat, though, is 38 years.  The cat’s name was Creme Puff.
  • Human foods that can be toxic to cats include: chocolate, because of the theobromine; onions, in large amounts; and garlic, again, in large amounts.  Tylenol is also very toxic for cats.
  • The male cat’s penis has around 120-150 barbs on it that point backwards.  When the penis is withdrawn from the female, this scrapes her vagina and triggers ovulation, as well as attempts to clean out any sperm from other cats.
  • A female cat will often mate with several male cats while they are in heat.  This will often result in cats within the same litter having different fathers.
  • While domestic cats are pets in most parts of the world, in certain parts of Asia, particularly southern China in the Guangdong province, cats are also seen as a food source.  It is estimated that around 10,000 cats per day are eaten in that province alone.  In all of Asia, it is estimated that around 4 million cats are eaten every year.
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  • I wonder if this is where the term “molly-coddling” comes from. It makes sense in that a mother cat (a molly) grabs her kittens by the scruff of the neck and hauls them away from dangerous situations. An overprotective human mother could be seen as molly-coddling her children when she doesn’t allow them to take risks.

  • Big Bang Theory sent me here! Who else? 😀

  • 🙂 I am also here because I heard this on big bag theory!

  • Hahaha Big Bang Theory brought me here too!

  • Yup, Big Bang. Love that show.

  • Big Bang Theory brought me here too.

  • If cats cannot detect sweet then why are we repeatedly told they will lick antifreeze because of the sweet taste?

    • Dogs lick antifreeze; I’ve never heard of a cat doing it.

      • Robert A Anderson

        Cats will tear open a jug to get a lick and then they will die

        • Robert A Anderson

          The cat tore open the foil seal because some idiot left the lid off. He was sitting like he was drunk or something. I ran to him but it had been several days and he was long gone.

    • Yeah? Why?

      Also, I don’t agree with the “fact” saying cats aren’t attracted to cats because one of mine LOVES sweets. Never turned down any sweet (no candy). In fact, once she gets a whiff, she runs faster than for meat!!! She gets assertive-aggressive if I don’t give her more (she doesn’t get much). I explain to her that too many sweets aren’t good her. She still sits on chair, watching every bite I take, sometimes reaching in trying to swatt off food.

  • Big Bang Theory as well! “The Zazzy Substitution” in particular.

  • I have 12 very spoiled cats. Several of them like sweets. So if they don’t have the taste for sweet, why do they insist I share my sweets?

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Cheryl: They can still like sweets, just obviously not for the sugar taste. 🙂

      • Cats can like alsorts of odd stuff, not tasting sweet they may still like the texture.

        Cats I have know have eaten eggs, carrot cake, pasta, melon, cheese, bread (raw or buttered), chocolate, yogurt, fresh raspberries, celery, moths.

        Each cat is really partial to something perhaps chicken skin, tuna, liver. When prepare something they are partial to they display the reaction in body language.

    • Things that are sweet have many other properties including salty, sour, spicy, etc. The cat may be tasting any one of the other properties and may be drawn to the food for that reason.

    • Do you have a picture of all your cats in one group? If so I would love to see it.
      I’m trying to make a comparison of a group of dogs similar to a gathering of Golden Retrievee dogs I just saw on FB

  • Yep im here cos of big bang. i have my own clowder of 8 lol. some interesting facts on here.

    • My clowder is up to 15 now. All rescued in some way shape or form. All live inside. Love them, but sometimes it is worse than having 15 human children.

  • Here thanks to Pointless Celebrities 🙂

  • I found myself here thanks to Shirley Rousseau Murphy. My clowder seems to prefer this to passel.

  • I would assume at least 3 cats are needed to be considered a clowder? Is there an official number?

  • I too… Big Bang 🙂
    Down to 4 precious babies

  • A few of these facts are incorrect.
    for instance, cats ARE the only animals that purr.
    the others listed here make sounds similar, but not identical to purring.
    the oscillation of purring can assist with bone regeneration and metal unrest.
    this is why it is believed that cats also purr when in
    pain or stress.
    Cats are also one of few animals who use directed vocal communication towards humans.

  • A group of cats in one household is called a bevy.

  • Living with a sizable family of cats, I would respectively submit that they should be referred to as a “cuddle”. Also, I believe that purring plays a major roll in the formation and regurgitation of hair balls.


  • Cats fed raw meat may theoretically not need water, but cats eating dry food MUST have an ample water supply. BUT, it’s best to feed them little or no dry food in the first place, since its high carb content makes them fat and diabetic.

  • I found this by looking up clowder or clouder. The other terms I am not familiar with. A tom is a male cat. I don’t know the distinction of spayed or not. A female cat is a Sheila. Hear old radio programs make jokes about Tom and Sheila making all kinds of noise all last night. I will research the rest of your terms.

  • I didn’t mind the neighbors cats at first,now she has over 15 cats,they shit in ,on,my plants,scrach my car,sleep on my car.they dig all over.theres not much spca,does about it,so I hope people,eat more cats.hey cat eaters,theres over 30 cats at 2740 branch st sacramento ca 95815.and their fat um

  • I refer to my small group as a “pride,” but I have heard the term clowder, before. I have heard the terms “Tom” and “gib” used this way as well. I have not heard “Molly,” but instead I have heard “Queen.” I like the term bevvy that someone brought up (in comments), but I will still think of mine as my private pride of mini-lygers. Mine are also all indoors. As inconvenient as the neighbors’ outdoor cats may be, I still would never wish them eaten!

  • I have 4 cats 3 are find lol and the youngest is a spayed queen there all inside outside cats but im in a remote place with very little traffic and they really help with the mouse/lizzards population also squirrel and bugs lol my black cat is the best hunter in the pride. They are all in lockdown at night because I’ve lost cats before from the wildlife around my house manly raccoons and fox. So near sunset every one comes in until well past sunrise since they seem to be attacked mostly at dusk and dawn

  • Very interesting. I have to dispute the “cats don’t like sweet things” because one of mine, the Siamese, goes absolutely wild for sweet breads (cake, donuts, etc. and loves to have little bites whenever we eat something like that. He also wants bites of sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly.
    I was directed here when my husband almost tripped over one of our four cats sprawled in the hallway this morning and moaned that he couldn’t maneuver through the “herd of cats”. We then started wondering what a group of cats was actually called.

  • So what rocket in their right mind would give a cat Tylenol

  • Another famous fact is the one of the Popes declared war on cats and the question is why. This was possibly due to the climate change and the less crops, so the religious authorities effectively forced the serfs to do without eating their crops as the Lord demanded more leaving them nothing. Hence the banning of cats that kept the rats down as the serfs now had to eat the rats.
    There is also the possibility that the cats themselves were eaten so getting rid of them also forced the peasants to eat rats.

  • Nehmo Sergheyev

    I have tried for years to find a reputable source regarding theobromine in cats and dogs. Most sources simply quote someone else, maybe even a veterinarian source – but, in any event, not a scientific study.
    Of course, the lethal dose 50 (LD50) should be determined by experiment, and that would be cruel. Meanwhile, there are numerous anecdotical stories of cats (and dogs) being unaffected by theobromine.