Female Cat Names: What is the Female Cat Called?

Have you ever wondered what the correct term is for a female cat? Whether you’re a new cat owner or just curious, understanding the different designations for female cats can be helpful. Female cats are called by various names depending on their age and reproductive status. Let’s explore the terms used to refer to these lovely feline companions.

Key Takeaways:

  • A female cat can be called a “molly,” “queen,” or “dam” depending on various factors.
  • The term “molly” is a general term used for female cats of any age, particularly for spayed cats.
  • A “queen” is a female cat in her heat cycle, pregnant, or nursing.
  • “Dam” is a technical term used for purebred cats involved in breeding.
  • Male cats, on the other hand, are simply referred to as “tomcats” or “toms.”

The Term “Molly”

When it comes to female cats, they are commonly referred to as “mollies.” This term is used to describe female cats of any age. Unlike their male counterparts who can be called “toms” or “tomcats,” female cats are exclusively known as “mollies” and not “molly cats.”

The use of the term “molly” starts from the moment a kitten is born and can continue throughout her life. However, it is particularly used for spayed female cats during adulthood. Spaying refers to the surgical procedure that prevents cats from reproducing. This means that spayed cats are unable to give birth, hence they are commonly referred to as “mollies.”

The origin of the term “molly” is uncertain, although there are some theories. Some believe it may have derived from the Latin word “mollita,” which means softness or weakness. This could possibly allude to the perceived docile nature of female cats compared to their male counterparts.

female cat term

Interesting fact:

The term “mollita” in Latin means softness or weakness, possibly referring to the perceived weakness of female cats compared to males.

Female Cat Term Description
Molly A general term for female cats of any age, particularly used for spayed cats.
Queen Used for female cats in their heat cycle, as well as pregnant or nursing cats.
Dam Technical term used for purebred cats involved in breeding.
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The Term “Queen”

If a female cat reaches sexual maturity and begins her heat cycle, she is referred to as a queen. The term “queen” is also used for pregnant cats or cats that are nursing a litter of kittens. The name “queen” comes from the term “queening,” which refers to the process of a female cat giving birth.

It is interesting to note that many free-range domestic cats live in a matriarchal structure, with a mother cat in charge, similar to a queen.

Queen Cats and the Matriarchal Structure

In the feline kingdom, the queen cat is a central figure in the social hierarchy. Unlike some other animal species where males dominate, cats have a matriarchal structure where the female holds the highest position of power.

Queen cats establish their authority through various behaviors and interactions with other cats. They mark their territory with scent, exhibit confident body language, and assert their dominance when necessary. Other cats in the group, including both males and females, typically defer to the queen and follow her lead.

One of the most notable roles of a queen cat is her role as a mother. When a queen becomes pregnant, she creates a nest and prepares for the arrival of her kittens. During this time, she requires additional care and protection from her group, ensuring the survival and well-being of her offspring.

“The queen cat is a strong and nurturing figure, providing care and guidance to her kittens. She plays a vital role in sustaining the next generation of cats.”
– Feline Expert, Dr. Emily Thompson

The matriarchal structure of queen cats highlights the importance of female power and leadership in both the animal kingdom and our society. Understanding the role of queen cats can deepen our appreciation for the complexity and dynamics of feline social interactions.

The Term “Dam”

In the world of purebred cats and breeding, the term “dam” holds significant importance. It refers specifically to female cats that are used for breeding purposes. Although the term is not commonly used in everyday conversation, it plays a crucial role in the breeding environment.

The origin of the term “dam” can be traced back to the word “dame,” which refers to a matronly woman or a woman of a higher class. This term reflects the significance and respect given to female cats involved in breeding.

“The term ‘dam’ is a testament to the crucial role that female cats play in maintaining and expanding the population of purebred felines. It acknowledges their status as matriarchs within the breeding environment.”

In the breeding world, dams are carefully selected based on their lineage, genetic traits, and conformation to breed standards. Their health, temperament, and reproductive history are also considered to ensure the best possible outcomes for future generations of purebred cats.

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The Role of Dams in Breeding

Dams create the foundation for healthy and genetically diverse litters of kittens. Breeders meticulously pair dams with compatible stud cats to improve specific traits, maintain breed standards, and promote overall breed health.

During the breeding process, dams provide a nurturing and secure environment for their offspring. They play an essential role in ensuring the well-being and development of the kittens, from pregnancy to birth and beyond.

The Significance of Purebred Cats

Purebred cats are highly sought after for their predictable physical characteristics, temperament, and lineage. Breeders devote considerable time and effort to maintaining and improving specific breeds. Dams are integral to this process, as they pass on their unique traits and bloodlines to future generations.

By selecting and breeding dams carefully, breeders contribute to the preservation and advancement of purebred cats. They aim to produce healthy, well-tempered kittens that embody the desired qualities of their respective breeds, ensuring the continuation of these unique feline lineages.

female cat term - dam

Example Table: Breeding Traits of Dams

Trait Description
Fertility Dams must be capable of conceiving and birthing healthy litters.
Genetic Health Health screenings and genetic testing are conducted to ensure dams are free from hereditary diseases.
Temperament Dams should exhibit stable and friendly personalities to ensure well-adjusted kittens.
Conformation Physical attributes, such as body structure and coat quality, are assessed to meet breed standards.
Mothering Ability Dams should possess natural instincts for nurturing and caring for their kittens.

Why Do Male Cats Have Only One Name?

In the feline world, male cats are known by one name and one name only – the “tomcat” or simply “tom.” Unlike their female counterparts, male cats do not go through a reproductive cycle that requires distinct designations. Let’s explore the origin of the term “tomcat” and understand why male cats have just one name.

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The term “tomcat” can be traced back to a book published in the 1700s titled “The Life and Adventures of a Cat.” The protagonist of the book, named Tom, was a charismatic male cat who captivated the hearts of many female felines. From then on, male cats have been referred to as “tomcats” in honor of Tom’s romantic escapades.

Before the term “tomcat” gained popularity, male cats were sometimes called “rams” or “boars” due to their tendency to roam and search for a mate. However, these terms gradually fell out of use, and “tomcat” became the established name.

Male cats having just one name is also a reflection of their unique reproductive biology. Unlike female cats, who experience heat cycles and varying reproductive statuses, male cats do not have such distinctions. This is why they are simply known as “tomcats” throughout their lives.


In conclusion, understanding the various designations for female cats can help cat owners and enthusiasts refer to their feline companions correctly. Female cats are known as “mollies,” “queens,” or “dams” depending on their age, reproductive status, and breeding involvement.

“Molly” is a general term that can be used for female cats of any age, particularly for spayed cats. It is a versatile term that applies throughout a female cat’s life.

“Queen” is the term used for female cats in their heat cycle, as well as pregnant or nursing cats. This designation highlights the unique role that female cats play in the reproductive process and the matriarchal structure within some cat communities.

“Dam” is a technical term primarily used for purebred cats involved in breeding. It is more commonly used in paperwork and professional breeding settings.

On the other hand, male cats have only one name, “tomcat” or “tom.” This distinction reflects the different reproductive cycles and roles between male and female cats.

By familiarizing ourselves with these female cat designations, we can create a stronger bond with our feline companions and enhance our understanding of their unique characteristics and needs.


What is a female cat called?

A female cat is called by different terms depending on her age and reproductive status. The three main terms for a female cat are “molly,” “queen,” and “dam.”

What is the term for a female cat of any age?

The term for a female cat of any age is “molly.” It is a general term used throughout her life, particularly for spayed cats.

What is the term for a female cat in her heat cycle, pregnant, or nursing?

The term for a female cat in her heat cycle, pregnant, or nursing is “queen.”

What is the term used for purebred cats involved in breeding?

The term used for purebred cats involved in breeding is “dam.”

Why do male cats have only one name?

Male cats have only one name, which is “tomcat” or “tom,” because they do not go through the same reproductive cycle as female cats.

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