Have you ever wondered, ‘What is a group of cats called?’ If you thought the animal kingdom’s quirky nomenclature stopped at a ‘murder of crows’ or a ‘gaggle of geese,’ think again. A group of cats has its own unique—and equally fascinating—name: a clowder. But the intrigue doesn’t stop there. In this article, we’ll delve into the origin, terminology, and social dynamics that make clowders more than just a quirky term.
What Is a Group of Cats Called?
When it comes to understanding what a group of cats is called, the answer is more than a cute play on words. The term most commonly used is a “clowder,” a word that dates back to the 1700s. It is believed to derive from the term “clodder,” which refers to a clotted mass or lump. The idea is that the cats form a lumpish, irregular gathering, rather than a unified, structured group, like a herd of cows or a flock of birds.
While “clowder” may be the most well-known name for a group of cats, there are other terms in use. One alternative is a “glaring,” particularly if the cats appear distrustful or aggressive. “Glaring” perfectly encapsulates the intense, scrutinizing gaze that a group of cats might direct at a newcomer or potential threat.
Yet another term, although less commonly used, is a “cluster,” a word that suggests a random grouping without any significant social structure.
Interestingly, these terms are not universally applied. For instance, a group of wild cats might be referred to differently than a group of domesticated cats. And, a group of kittens born to the same mother is often called a “kindle,” echoing the warm, nurturing environment in which they are raised.
It’s worth mentioning that these terms are not just fun tidbits for trivia nights; they reflect our broader understanding of cats as complex, social creatures. The variety of terms available suggests that people have been fascinated by feline group dynamics for centuries, attempting to capture the essence of these gatherings through language.
Fun Facts and Trivia
When it comes to a clowder of cats, the intrigue goes beyond the unique name. Here are some fascinating tidbits that add another layer of wonder to our feline friends:
1. Genetic Ties
Many clowders form around a core family of cats, often led by a matriarch, thereby sharing a common ancestry. This means that a clowder could be a feline version of a family reunion!
2. Tech Lingo
The term “clowder” has been borrowed by tech enthusiasts. Specifically, it is sometimes used to describe a group of Apple devices connected via iCloud. This speaks to the term’s versatility and wide-ranging appeal.
3. A Kindle of Kittens
A “kindle” is not just an e-reader; it’s also the term for a group of kittens born to the same mother. The word “kindle” stems from the Middle English word “kindelen,” meaning to give birth, and it aptly describes the nurturing environment in which kittens are raised.
4. Cat Culture
Believe it or not, the world’s largest clowder consists of over 700 cats and is situated at a cat sanctuary. This extreme example serves as an interesting contrast to the typically smaller, family-based clowders we commonly see.
5. Literary Clowders
In T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” a collection of whimsical poems that inspired the musical “Cats,” the idea of a clowder is portrayed as an intriguing society with its own rules and hierarchies.
Modern Day Clowders
The concept of a clowder has evolved in contemporary times, adapting to modern lifestyles and environments.
1. Community Cats
Urban and suburban neighborhoods often have clowders of community cats. These feral groups usually form around a stable food source like a generous homeowner or a restaurant’s dumpster. Such clowders often comprise multiple generations and can have complex social hierarchies.
2. Cat Cafés
The rise of cat cafés offers a unique twist on the concept of a clowder. In these establishments, patrons can enjoy coffee or tea while spending time with resident cats. While the environment is controlled, the interaction between the cats mimics the natural dynamics of a clowder.
3. Online Clowders
In the digital age, virtual clowders have also emerged. Social media groups dedicated to cat lovers serve as modern renditions of clowders, offering a communal space for sharing photos, advice, and stories about our feline companions.
4. Adoption Trends
Animal shelters often use the term “clowder” in promotional materials to encourage the adoption of multiple cats. The idea is to emphasize the social nature of cats and suggest that adding more than one to a household could create a mini-clowder, offering companionship to the animals and entertainment to the owners.
Whether you’re a cat lover or just a curious observer, the term “clowder” not only adds a bit of whimsy to your vocabulary but also deepens our understanding of these intriguing animals. Next time you see a group of cats, you’ll know you’ve spotted a clowder!