Cat (kăt), n. [AS.
cat; akin to D. & Dan. kat, Sw. katt, Icel.
köttr, G. katze, kater, Ir. cat,
W. cath, Armor. kaz, LL. catus, Bisc.
catua, NGr. ga`ta, ga`tos, Russ. &
Pol. kot, Turk. kedi, Ar. qitt; of unknown
origin. Cf. Kitten.] 1.
(Zoöl.) An animal of various species of the
genera Felis and Lynx. The domestic cat is Felis
domestica. The European wild cat (Felis catus) is much
larger than the domestic cat. In the United States the name
wild cat is commonly applied to the bay lynx (Lynx
rufus) See Wild cat, and Tiger cat.
☞ The domestic cat includes many varieties named from
their place of origin or from some peculiarity; as, the Angora
cat; the Maltese cat; the Manx cat.
The word cat is also used to designate other animals,
from some fancied resemblance; as, civet cat, fisher
cat, catbird, catfish shark, sea
2. (Naut.) (a) A
strong vessel with a narrow stern, projecting quarters, and deep
waist. It is employed in the coal and timber trade.
(b) A strong tackle used to draw an anchor
up to the cathead of a ship. Totten.
3. A double tripod (for holding a plate,
etc.), having six feet, of which three rest on the ground, in
whatever position it is placed.
4. An old game; (a) The
game of tipcat and the implement with which it is played. See
Tipcat. (c) A game of ball, called,
according to the number of batters, one old cat, two
old cat, etc.
5. A cat o' nine tails. See
Angora cat, blind cat,
See under Angora, Blind. -- Black
cat the fisher. See under Black. --
Cat and dog, like a cat and dog;
quarrelsome; inharmonious. "I am sure we have lived a
cat and dog life of it." Coleridge. -- Cat
block (Naut.), a heavy iron-strapped block
with a large hook, part of the tackle used in drawing an anchor
up to the cathead. -- Cat hook
(Naut.), a strong hook attached to a cat block. -
- Cat nap, a very short sleep.
[Colloq.] -- Cat o' nine tails, an
instrument of punishment consisting of nine pieces of knotted
line or cord fastened to a handle; -- formerly used to flog
offenders on the bare back. -- Cat's
cradle, game played, esp. by children, with a
string looped on the fingers so, as to resemble small cradle. The
string is transferred from the fingers of one to those of
another, at each transfer with a change of form. See
Cratch, Cratch cradle. -- To let the
cat out of the bag, to tell a secret, carelessly or
willfully. [Colloq.] -- Bush cat, the
serval. See Serval.