Wonderful French vocabulary with cats

Knowing wonderful French vocabulary with cats will help you engage in conversation and make new francophone friends. Pet vocabulary is definitely a fun topic to dive into when you’re starting out learning a language.

Get ready for a furry and soft article!

French vocabulary with cats

Table of content :

  1. Basic vocabulary related to cats
  2. Verbs to talk about your favorite pet
  3. French idioms with cats

Basic French vocabulary related to cats

If you are looking for a feline friend, consider checking first the Société Protectrice pour les Animaux (SPA). All cats deserve a cosy and loving home !

How to call your beloved pet

Firstly, to sound like a native speaker, you need to master these different names for cats in French :

  • Un chat = a male cat
  • Une chatte = a female cat
  • Un chat domestique = a pet cat
  • Un chat errant = an alley cat / a stray cat
  • Un chat sauvage = a feral cat
  • Un chaton (mâle ou femelle) = a kitten (male or female)
  • Un matou = a tomcat / a big male cat
  • Un minou = a male pussycat
  • Une minette = a female pussycat

Cats accessories and must-have

Next, you can learn these everyday words for your adored feline :

  • Un arbre à chat = a cat tree
  • Le bac à litière = the litter box
  • Un collier (pour chat) = a cat collar
  • Des croquettes = dry cat food
  • Une caisse / cage de transport = a cat carrier
  • Un grattoir / griffoir = a scratching post
  • Un jouet pour chat = a cat toy
  • La litière = the litter
  • La nourriture pour chat = cat food
  • Un panier pour chat = a cat basket

How to describe your furry friend

Finally, these terms are useful to outline cat specifics :

  • Les griffes = claws
  • Les moustaches = whiskers
  • Le museau = the muzzle / nose
  • Les pattes = paws
  • Le pelage = fur
  • Les poils de chat = cat hairs
  • La queue = tail
basic vocabulary french cats

Verbs to talk about your favorite pet

Let’s now learn the French cat verbs and avoid an embarrassment!

Be careful with the false friend ‘chat’. To have a chat is avoir une discussion ou bavarder in French.

Actions a cat does

  • Chasser = to hunt
  • S’étirer = to stretch
  • Feuler = to hiss
  • Se frotter contre moi / contre mes jambes = to rub against me / my legs
  • Griffer = to scratch
  • Grogner = to growl
  • Mettre bas = to give birth
  • Miauler = to meow
  • Ronronner = to purr
  • Sauter = to jump

Verbs you do to/with your cat

  • Adopter = to adopt
  • Câliner = to cuddle
  • Caresser = to pet
  • Castrer un chat = to neuter
  • Emmener son chat chez le vétérinaire = Bring your cat to the veterinarian
  • Jouer = to play
  • Nettoyer le bac à litière = to clean the litter box
  • Nourrir = to feed
  • Pucer un chat = to chip
  • Stériliser = to spay
french verbs cats

French idioms with cats

Last but not least, here are a few common French idioms referring to our dearest cats. If you’ve read previous articles, you know that French loves strange expressions. We’ve compiled a few food and colourful French idioms.

The most popular idioms with the word ‘chat’

  • Appeler un chat un chat = saying things straight, as they are (to call a cat a cat)
  • Donner sa langue au chat = running out of guesses (to give your tongue to the cat)
  • Il n’y a pas un chat = there’s nobody (there’s not one cat around)
  • Avoir un chat dans la gorge = to have a sore throat (to have a cat in your throat)
  • Avoir d’autres chats à fouetter = to have other things to do (to have other cats to whip)
  • Jouer au chat et à la souris = to play at cat and mouse
  • Quand le chat n’est pas là, les souris dansent = people enjoying themselves when unsupervised (when the cat is away, the mouse are dancing)

Expressions used in a formal context and/or in written French

  • La nuit, tous les chats sont gris = when it’s dark, all people look the same (at night, all the cats are grey)
  • Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide = someone hurt in the past will fearful being hurt again (a scalded cat fears cold water)
  • A bon chat, bon rat = monkey see, monkey do (to a good cat, a good rat)
cats and dogs

In conclusion, if you’d like to use some of this vocabulary in context, feel free to reach out today ! And, of course, dog lover or any other pet aficionado is welcome.

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