“What is a female cat called” is a common question asked by cat owners. It is common knowledge that female dogs are called bitches, and male cats are called Toms or Tomcats, but what on earth do you call a female cat?
Believe it or not, there are actually three different names for female cats. I know right, THREE names. They are Molly, Queen, and Dam. These names depend on the cat’s current reproductive state; such as if they are pregnant or nursing.
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A Molly is a female alternative to Tomcat. It is the general term used to refer to all female cats. It is not clear where this name originates. Although male cats are referred to as Tomcat, a Molly is not a Mollycat, just a Molly.
Unspayed female cats that are of breeding age are called Queens. They are still Queens whilst they are pregnant or nursing. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of owning a female cat knows that this is the perfect name for them.
Owlie’s nickname, much to my mother’s disapproval, is Queen because it is so well suited to her personality. So when I found out this is an actual term, I couldn’t believe it.
The word “queen” originates from old English meaning; a female ruler, a wife, or an honoured woman, which is entirely fitting for female cats as in the wild or in multi-cat households they like in a matriarchal society.
The term Dam is an older term usually used by cat breeders, which is why it is the least common of the three. If you are involved in cat breeding or have friends and family who are you might have heard this term pop up. A Dam refers to a purebred or rare female cat with regards to breeding records and data.
There are many advantages of being female such as they act as mother to increase progeny and cherish the beauty of motherhood. But along with that, there are many extra disadvantages too for being a female, such as the prevalence of perineal hernia in a female cat more than males.
To keep the summary short and sweet, the three terms used to call a female cat are:
Molly – The most common term used to call all female cats.
Queen– The term used on unspayed female cats who are of breeding age, pregnant, or nursing.
Dam – Term used solely in relation to rare and purebred female cats for breeding records.