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What Is a Group of Cats Called? The Answer Is Sure to Surprise You!

You’ve heard of a flock of birds, a herd of cattle, a pack of dogs, and many other references to a group of specific types of animals. But what about cats? While it isn’t a widely used term, a group of cats is actually called a clowder. In fact, if you were to pull out a dictionary and look up the word “clowder,” the definition states verbatim “a group of cats.”

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Origin of a Clowder

It’s always interesting to find out where a certain term comes from. While clowder may not be a popular way to refer to a group of cats of two or more, it has been used for quite some time. The word clowder has been an official part of the English language since the year 1801 and is a variation of the word clutter.

We can’t say whether this term originated to describe how unruly and chaotic a group of cats can be. If you’ve ever heard of the term “herding cats,” you can understand how the reference to a group of cats came from the word clutter, but we can only speculate.

feral cats resting outdoor
Image Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

Other Terms Used for a Group of Cats

Clowder isn’t the only term used to describe a group of cats. The following terms are most related to groups of wild or feral cats but here are a few more ways to describe a group of two or more cats:

  • Clutter of cats
  • Cluster of Cats
  • Colony of cats
  • Destruction of cats
  • Dowt of cats
  • Glaring of Cats
  • Nuisance of cats
  • Pounce of cats
stray cats
Image Credit: Lea Rae, Shutterstock

Term Used for Kittens

You’ve heard of a litter of kittens, but did you know there is another term to refer to a litter of these tiny little bundles of joy? Another term that is synonymous with litter is kindle. That’s right, you can also refer to a group of kittens as a kindle of kittens.

Origins of Kindle

The use of the word “kindle” to describe a litter of kittens is derived from the Middle English word kindelen, which means “to give birth to” and the word kindel, which means “offspring.” As it turns out, this term relates very closely to what it is describing.

sweet chartreux kittens
Image Credit: Gosha Georgiev, shutterstock

What Is a Group of Feral Cats Called?

Unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals and tend to live solitary lives. With the increase in the homeless pet population, however, it’s common to see groups of feral cats that gather near food sources and shelter. These groups are most often referred to as colonies, which you’ve likely heard of this terminology.

Unfortunately, feral cats receive little to no socialization and are unable to be adopted into loving homes and thrive as house pets. To reduce the number of feral cats in urban areas, some programs work hard to trap, spay, or neuter, then release these cats. Feral cats are not confused with strays, which are typically well socialized and used to human companionship.

feral cats
Image Credit: Piqsels

What About the Big Cats?

If you are thinking outside the box of your typical domesticated house cat, don’t worry, there are other terms used to describe specific groups of large, wild cats. Lions are the exception to the solitary, and independent lifestyle of the feline family and are the only cats to live and hunt in social groups. Other big cats do sometimes gather in groups, here’s what they’re called:

Lions Pride
Tigers Streak, ambush
Cheetahs Coalition
Leopards Leap
Jaguars Jamboree
pride of lions
Image Credit: Piqsels

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Final Thoughts

The word clowder is used to describe a group of three or more cats, though there are plenty of other terms that are commonly used. You will also hear colony when referring to a group of feral cats and even the word kindle to describe a litter of kittens. Even big cats get their own specific terminology when they gather in groups. Regardless of what you want to call a group of cats, it is interesting to know what kind of references are out there.

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Featured Image Credit: Murat An, Shutterstock

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