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What Is a Group of Cats Called?

Picture of a group of 4 cats

Even though the word is not exactly used frequently, a group of cats is called ‘clowder.’ Naturally, you can still call a group of cats just by what it is, meaning a group of cats. Besides ‘clowder’, there are two other terms that you can use to refer to several cats, and they are ‘glaring’ and ‘clutter.’ 

The same words can’t be used if you are talking about a group of wild cats, however, in which case you would have to call them a ‘dowt,’ but they also go by the name ‘destruction.’  

In today’s article, we will look at some interesting names that cat groups have, their etymology, but also some cool facts about cats in general and how likely it is for you to actually see a group of cats in the wild. 

Etymology

As we might have mentioned, this isn’t exactly a popular word used to describe a group of cats, so how did it end up being the main term for it? Well, it was first recorded at the end of the 18th century and was defined as a clotted mass. 

Like many other words in the English language, clowder gradually evolved into what it is now. Clowder comes from the verb ‘to clot,’ meaning to gather into one place. The noun clot describes a coagulated mass, so we’re back to the 18th-century meaning. 

While it might make a great word, if you’re curious about these things, you might not want to use it in a conversation unless you want to explain it to your friends. Clowder is now considered archaic, but it still exists. 

Different cats, different group names

Even though groups of cats aren’t that common in the wild, they still have their own names. You’d call a group of leopards a leap, one of cheetahs a coalition, and a group of jaguars a jamboree. 

Tigers group into streaks, hides, or ambushes whereas lions group into a pride, troop, sowse, or salut. 

A group of kittens is called a kindle, an intrigue, or a litter. 

Do cats live in groups, anyway?

If you have seen a group of stray cats, you might have wondered whether cats have adopted this type of behavior over time or if they have always been social animals. Well, you might be surprised to find out that cats aren’t actually that sociable at all, and that the only social ‘cats’ out there are lions.

Other than them, cats are considered solitary predators, which is why you don’t see any lynx hanging out with his friends or family. 

However, domestic cats are quite different compared to their wild counterparts. They might have been solitary at one point, but due to their adaptability, they have learned to co-exist with humans and other cats. After all, food availability is what made it possible for cats to become domestic. 

You will be happy to know that cats know how to survive even if they end up being lost or they have to somehow make do with what they have available in the wild. 

Naturally, there are cats that can’t do this as well as others, but most cats are born with a set of natural instincts that makes them capable of hunting down small prey, whether they’re part of a colony or not. 

Colony living

Feral cats are known to form colonies that are usually based around food sources. Most feral cats still prefer a solitary life, but groups can be formed depending on family relations, too. For instance, queens and kittens can stick together, even when the young ones grow into adults. 

In such groups, one can talk about a certain dominance hierarchy, but it is not nearly similar to what dogs might have in the same situation. 

Relationships between cats are far more complex, and they aren’t inter-dependent. Some cats can have a stronger affiliation to others while some cats might only be a member of a colony because of the advantages that they might have, whether in terms of food or not. 

In other words, cats merely adapt to social groups — they aren’t natural pack animals like canines. 

What makes colonies stick together?

In most cases, colonies are formed because of family relationships. Nevertheless, as the kittens start to grow up, some tension could arise between the members of the colony, especially if there are any males. 

Aggression isn’t that common when it comes to female colonies, but it can occur as male cats reach sexual maturity. For the colony to survive, the females often exclude the male from the group or learn to co-exist with the male so long as he undertakes the role of protecting the colony from afar. 

When females become sexually active, they might become receptive to the males. Otherwise, the latter are going to be met with almost aggressive behavior. Naturally, there are cases where males and females can get along just fine. 

There is the option of some males, especially those that are born with a set of sexual imbalances that makes them incapable of breeding, being just as affectionate as females, especially towards kittens. These males are often perfect colony protectors and will even fight other animals to make sure that none of the colony members are put in danger. 

Final thoughts

Although groups of cats are more uncommon than you might think, they can be formed if the cats are related to each other or if they depend on the same food source. Some cats never prefer to be part of a group and will always be solitary hunters. 

Whatever they might be called, groups of cats are organized depending on a hierarchy that might be based on dominance or individual cat behaviors. 

Groups of feral cats led by females have a better chance of surviving and sticking together for a long time than those led by males. Most males might actually not manifest any interest in creating a colony.

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