black friday cyber monday last chance to save 25% on all packages »

I was always told not to use the female for a cat as it is very vulgar in French

WendyA1Kwiziq community member

I was always told not to use the female for a cat as it is very vulgar in French

Asked 3 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Wendy,

It's all about context. There are a lot of words in French (as in English) which have sexual connotations. It is however in the eye (or ear) of the beholder .

There is absolutely nothing wrong with referring to your female cat as 'chatte'.

Hope this helps!

JohannaB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you. This has been a topic of much discussion in my local French club. 
MaxC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I have written about this elsewhere (search on "MAX"). I have French friends from the south and from Paris and they universally say to never use CHATTE. What I've learned from all this, as I have learned in other ways about the French and the French language is that things change from place to place and they change over time. Personally, to avoid embarrassment, I just don't use chatte at all. When I do, at least in among my French friends, I get a talking to. Chatte happens.......max

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Max,

Just to reiterate, we would have to ban using lots of words because of their sexual connotations. I don’t think it’s a question of regional differences I did think maybe age was a factor but we discussed it as an all female (multigenerational ) team and we all agreed that there’s nothing wrong with using ‘chatte’ for describing a female cat.

Incidentally what Maarten suggested could also be sexualised if you have that sort of mind.

Maybe safer to talk about your cats by their names-

"En ce moment j’ai deux chats qui s’appellent Jasper et Filou mais dans le passé j’ai eu des chattes qui s’appelaient Misty et Lily."

I was always told not to use the female for a cat as it is very vulgar in French

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Thinking...