What Is a Group of Cats?

A group of three or more cats can be called a clowder though it is rarely used. Even rarer is a glaring of cats which refers to a group of cats that are more uncertain of each other. A group of kittens may be called a kindle or more commonly a litter.

Clowder and related words typically referred to lumps or balls. If youve ever seen a group of cats, especially around a food bowl, it should be no surprise that words like ball, clump, or even lump would eventually be used to describe them!

While its certainly not used with any frequency, clowder did make an appearance in an episode of the Big Bang Theory. In the clip above, Sheldon also mentions the word glaring in addition to clowder. In other words, kittens in the same litter are all related and theyll also sometimes be referred to as littermates.

Like all of the words weve looked at so far, kindle appears to have origins in early Germanic languages. I worked in the veterinary field for more than a decade and I can count a grand total of zero times that I heard anyone say the words clowder, glaring or kindle. Of course, the word litter was used all the time but beyond that, youd always want to know how many cats were being discussed and not just a general term that described a group.

You could even use it as a test to figure out if someone is a diehard cat lover (or least avid fact finder)! In the wild, your house cat would typically live a solitary life but .

Why are a group of cats called a Clowder?

The Origin of a Clowder of Cats. According to Dictionary.com, Clowder originates from the term, “clodder.” Clodder is a Middle English term that originated in the late 1700s, and was used to describe a “clotted mass.” The term evolved over the years to the current “clowder.”

What is a group of stray cats called?

Feral cats often live in groups called colonies, which are located close to food sources and shelter.

Is a group of cats called a Kindle?

A kindle is a lesser-known way to describe a family of kittens born to one cat. It’s synonymous with the more familiar collective noun: litter.

Is a group of cats called a colony?

Colony – this word is typically used to describe a group of (usually) stray cats that live together in a particular territory. You often find colonies of stray cats around fishing ports when there is plenty of food.

– Colony this word is typically used to describe a group of (usually) stray cats that live together in a particular territory. You often find colonies of stray cats around fishing ports when there is plenty of food.

Cludder Clutter Colony this word is typically used to describe a group of (usually) stray cats that live together in a particular territory. You often find colonies of stray cats around fishing ports when there is plenty of food .

The collective noun Kindle is thought to stem from a combination of the German word kinder (meaning children) and the old English word kindelen (meaning to give birth to).

You could just call them a group of cats, or, even simpler, you could just refer to them as cats, but whats the fun in that? Wouldnt you love to know how to refer to a group of cats in another, more obscure way? Of course you would, and thats exactly what were going to learn today, courtesy of Today I Found Out!

Whenever multiple animals of the same species hang out in the same place, theres usually a unique nickname for it. For example, its a drift of pigs, a pack of dogs, a flock of sheep, and a gaggle of geese. Now youre wondering: what is a group of cats called?

Clowder doesnt roll off the tongue as smoothly as a pack, gaggle, drift, or flock might. For example, a group of feral cats may be crowding together alongside a dumpster while pillaging for food scraps, but that doesnt necessarily mean theyre members of the same colony.

As the term suggests, these foreign cats may be glaring at one another suspiciously as they try to gauge whether their fellow felines are aggressive or friendly. Its not unusual for a glaring of cats to result in fights over territory, especially if male tomcats are involved this heightens the risk for the spread of FIV or FeLV through deep bite wounds. The term kindle better describes a group of young kittens born to one mother cat .

Kindle comes from the old-fashioned Middle English word kindelen , with a definition of to give birth to young. The most common way to describe a group of kittens born to a single mother cat is a litter though some definitions of the word also require the same father amongst all offspring. Therefore, its not unusual for female cats to deliver a litter of kittens with multiple fathers something called superfecundation .

Both stray and feral cats join colonies to develop social bonds with other felines while sharing one similarity: a common food source. However, cats in colonies also wander they may stray into the woods to hunt for rodents when food supplies are running low. If you thought clowder and glaring were unusual terms to describe groups of cats, youre in for a rude awakening.

Tom (or tomcat): An intact male cat with the ability to get an unspayed female cat pregnant; tomcats tend to spray and exhibit aggressive behavior to assert dominance and claim their territory. Kitten: A young cat (either male or female) who has yet to reach full-grown status; usually younger than one year old. Its time to start using these terms more freely and let the world know youre a bit of a cat expert.

Where Did These Terms Come From?

The history and origin of a word is called its etymology. In addition to its origin, a word’s etymology also tells us how the meaning has changed over the years and sometimes the scenario in which it was first used.That means a good place to start is with the etymology for each of these words.

Etymology of the Word Clowder

According to Wiktionary, the word clowder has been in the English language since 1801 and is considered a variation of the word clutter. The word clutter was derived from the Old English word clott. Before that, it can likely trace its origins to the early German and Dutch languages. Clowder and related words typically referred to lumps or balls.If you’ve ever seen a group of cats, especially around a food bowl, it should be no surprise that words like ball, clump, or even lump would eventually be used to describe them! The word clutter is also certainly relevant as cats aren’t exactly known for being organized in groups. Some sources also cite “clutter” as another term for a group of cats!While it’s certainly not used with any frequency, clowder did make an appearance in an episode of the Big Bang Theory. You can check out the clip here:

Etymology of the Word Glaring

In the clip above, Sheldon also mentions the word glaring in addition to clowder.But that’s notMost sources suggest that a glaring of cats specifically refers to a group of cats that are somewhat unfamiliar with each other and it seems like Sheldon’s cats are quite comfortable with each other.However, finding more information on the history of the word glaring (at least when it’s used in reference to cats) is pretty difficult and I can’t track down much more information. Some sources also don’t distinguish how well the cats know each other and still others seem to suggest that it takes at least 4 cats to make a glaring.So maybe Sheldon was right after all.However, I do know that the word glaring is more than 700 years old and has origins in early Germanic languages which is a pattern we keep seeing.

What About Kittens?

Do kittens have a different name when they’re in a group?Yep, they sure do!Most of us are probably familiar with the word litter which goes back several hundred years. In fact, you can see this word used as early as 1602 in Aesop’s Fables. However, litter isn’t limited to cats and it’s used for all types of mammals. It’s also specific to animals that have the same mother. In other words, kittens in the same litter are all related and they’ll also sometimes be referred to as littermates.But that’s not the only word you can use.

What Is A Kindle of Kittens?

Similar to a litter, a kindle describes a group of kittens. I’ve found a few sources that suggest a kindle of kittens is specifically kittens of the same mother but then there are others that suggest this distinction is optional so it seems like it could go either way.It would actually be useful to have a definition for a group of kittens thatLike all of the words we’ve looked at so far, kindle appears to have origins in early Germanic languages.

Does Anyone Actually Use These Words?

If you went out on the street and asked about the nearest clowder of cats…would anyone know what the heck you’re talking about?Probably not.I worked in the veterinary field for more than a decade and I can count a grand total of zero times that I heard anyone say the words clowder, glaring or kindle. Instead, it was simply 21 cats or 4 cats. Of course, the word litter was used all the time but beyond that, you’d always want to knowBut I’m certainly not going to stop you from using words like clowder or glaring. You could even use it as a test to figure out if someone is a diehard cat lover (or least avid fact finder)!

What About Big Cats?

So far we’ve just covered the housecat.But what about big cats?They’ve got their own entirely different set of terms, in part because they live very differently from the housecat. In the wild, your house cat would typically live a solitary life but lions live in large groups with a distinct hierarchy and their groups are called prides. A pride could have as many as 40 lions! That’s quite a clowder!

Glaring

You’d use the word glaring if you’re describing a group of cats who don’t seem to know one another — at least not well. For example, a group of feral cats may be crowding together alongside a dumpster while pillaging for food scraps, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re members of the same colony.As the term suggests, these foreign cats may be glaring at one another suspiciously as they try to gauge whether their fellow felines are aggressive or friendly. It’s not unusual for a glaring of cats to result in fights over territory, especially if male tomcats are involved — this heightens the risk for the spread of FIV or FeLV through deep bite wounds.

Kindle

The term kindle better describes a group of young kittens born to one mother cat. Kindle comes from the old-fashioned Middle English word kindelen, with a definition of “to give birth to young.”Therefore, a mother cat kindles and produces a kindle — a litter of kittens. Very few people use this term over litter. It’s also unclear whether a kindle can also describe a group of kittens born to multiple mother cats (such as several unrelated kittens huddled together in a colony).

Litter

The most common way to describe a group of kittens born to a single mother cat is a litter — though some definitions of the word also require the same father amongst all offspring.However, since a cat’s ovaries release eggs immediately after mating, a female cat may release multiple eggs during a single heat cycle. If she mates with different male cats over those seven days of fertility, a female cat may have numerous eggs fertilized by other fathers. Therefore, it’s not unusual for female cats to deliver a litter of kittens with multiple fathers — something called superfecundation.

Colony

If a group of cats lives and feeds together out in the wild, you can call that a colony. Both stray and feral cats join colonies to develop social bonds with other felines while sharing one similarity: a common food source. Cats living in colonies may gravitate toward residencies of people who leave food out or garbage bins known to contain food bits.However, cats in colonies also wander — they may stray into the woods to hunt for rodents when food supplies are running low. Most cat colonies are matrilinear, meaning the members are strictly female cats and their offspring. In the absence of male cats, there’s also a lack of a colony hierarchy.

Words to Describe Individual Cats

If you thought clowder and glaring were unusual terms to describe groups of cats, you’re in for a rude awakening. You could also call a group of cats:You may also hear a group of cats called a nuisance, cluster, or clutter, but only if it’s to describe a group of three or more cats. Otherwise, stick to pair when talking about two cats and a glaring or clowder when referring to domestic cats.Want to know other collective nouns describing groups of other species? Watch the video below to learn more: