Feline names

In the spirit of the month of Halloween, and because black cats are one of the animals associated with Halloween, here’s a list of names with meanings relating to the word “cat.” To simplify things, I’m only including names that actually mean “cat” itself, or are directly related to cats, not different kinds of cats like lions, jaguars, panthers, and tigers.

Unisex:

Popoki means “cat” in Hawaiian.

Female:

Aradia is a Neo-Pagan goddess (with claimed origins in Etruscan mythology), who can take the form of a cat. Her mother, the goddess Diana (Artemis), was in the form of a cat when Aradia was conceived.

Bast was the Egyptian goddess of cats, the Sun, and fertility. She’s usually depicted with the head of a cat or lioness. Her name became Bastet (a diminutive form) after Sekhmet became a more popular goddess.

Felina means “cat-like” in Latin.

Feline (Feh-LEE-nah) is Dutch. I’d obviously caution against this name in an Anglophone country!

Katida means “kittenish” in Esperanto.

Ketzeleh, or Ketzele, means “little kitten” in Yiddish. The more formal form of the name is Ketzel, which just means “kitten.”

Koneko can mean “child cat” (i.e., kitten) in Japanese.

Li Shou is a Chinese cat goddess who was selected by the creator deities to rule the world. Her cat nature kept getting the better of her, and she admitted she wasn’t up to the task. Li Shou named humans as the ones who should take over her job. Though humans gained the ability to speak in the cats’ place, they couldn’t understand the deities. The cats, who did understand the deities, were left in charge of keeping time. According to Chinese tradition, cats’ pupils control the height of the Sun above the horizon.

Mafdet was an Egyptian goddess depicted as a woman with a cat’s head, or a cat with a woman’s head. She protected against snakes and scorpions, and ripped out evildoers’ hearts, presenting them to Pharaoh like a cat presents dead mice to its owner.

Mee means “cat” or “noodle” in Hmong, depending upon how the vowels are pronounced.

Mineko can mean “beautiful cat” in Japanese.

Muezza was said to be Prophet Mohammad’s favourite cat. One story goes that he cut off a sleeve on his prayer robe rather than wake Muezza, who was sleeping on the sleeve.

Neko is a rare Japanese name which can mean “cat.”

Male:

Felinus is the male form of Felina.

Humans owe a huge debt of gratitude to the cat. If they hadn’t provided free pest control when we started living in towns and farming, civilisation would’ve proceeded much more slowly. They also helped to bring an end to the deadly first wave of the Black Plague in 1348, by killing all the diseased rats.

Sadly, due to Medieval superstitions and the obsession with rooting out “witchcraft” and evil, many European cats were murdered and made illegal as pets. It took a long time for the masses to make the connection between cats eating rats and the Plague diminishing.

Cats have long been considered good luck in Russia, Japan, and the Islamic world.

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