How to say “Cat” in Italian

The Italian word for cat

You know what they say…a house is not complete without a cat.

And since we’ve already covered all the Italian names for family members, it’s time to talk about another important presence in the household.

Today you will learn how to say cat in Italian.

how to say cat in italian

The Italian word for cat

The Italian word for cat is gatto. It is a masculine singular word, and its other forms are:

  • gatta: (feminine singular)
  • gatti: (masculine plural)
  • gatte: (feminine plural)

If the cat you’re talking about is very big, you can call it a gattone. And if you want to say “kitten” in Italian, the word you’re looking for is gattino.

Devo tornare a casa a dar da mangiare al gatto.

I gotta go home to feed the cat.

Stanotte ci hanno lasciato una scatola piena di gattini davanti alla porta, e ora stiamo cercando una casa per loro.

Somebody left a box full of kittens at our door tonight, and know we’re looking for a house for them.

Note: American English speakers use the term “big cats” to refer to large felines. Italians do not usually do this. Instead, they use gatto only to describe the little furry friends you’d expect to see in a house. The right way to translate “big cat” when it is used to refer to lions or other felines is “felino di grossa taglia“.

Another word you can use to translate “cat” to Italian is micio. It’s a friendly alternative to gatto. People use it mostly to attract a cat’s attention or to compliment it.

Micio micio micio, vieni qui!

Hey kitty cat, come here!

Ma che bel micione!

What a beautiful cat!

translate kitten to italian

Italian proverbs related to cats

In English, we say that “curiosity killed the cat“. Italian proverbs about cats are often less drastic. Here are a few.

  • Tanto va la gatta al lardo, che ci lascia lo zampino / “The cat aims to the lard [so greedily] that she leaves a footprint“: this proverb means that those who try to hide their misconduct will be caught soon or later;
  • Quando il gatto non c’è, i topi ballano / “When the cat is away, the mice dance”: when those who rule are away, all the other people will do what they really want. This proverb can be said with both positive and negative implications;
  • Qui gatta ci cova / “There’s a cat hatching here“: it’s the equivalent of the English proverb “I smell a rat“. It means the speaker feels something is not quite right;
  • Qui ci sono quattro gatti / “There are just four cats here”: meaning that a place is nearly desert – if not for a couple of people;
  • Una gatta da pelare / “A cat to fleece”: it’s similar to “a fish to fry“. It means “a difficult thing to do“;
  • La gatta frettolosa fa i figli ciechi / “A hasty cat makes blind kittens”: it means that doing things in a rush will never get you what you want.

… okay, maybe the last scenario is more drastic than dying out of curiosity. Luckily, cats have their way of fighting back and getting themself out of unpleasant situations.

That’s why Italians also say:

  • cadere in piedi come un gatto / “to land on one’s own feet like a cat“;
  • and “non dire gatto se non ce l’hai nel sacco” / “Don’t say ‘cat’ if it’s not in your sack“, meaning that it is not wise to brag about something you’ve not achieved yet.

Italian proverbs about cats

Are you a cat or a dog person

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

As you can see, whatever your favorite animal is, knowing how to say “cat” in Italian can help you understand many proverbs that are used in everyday life.

Besides, kittens are one of the most common topics on the web, and you can find a lot of pages and meme groups about cats on social networks.

Now you can join them too.

Have fun reading the next Italian memes about the grumpy cat or the “gatto schifomadò”. But don’t forget to come back to learn new Italian words!

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!


I love writing just about everything Italian.

Follow me to fluency

Receive my free resources once a week together with my best offers! No need to look around, just tell me where to send everything.

Opt out at any time.

Leave a Reply

To master this topic, take a lesson from my audio course!

Try my courses for free​
ripeti con me mockup sm

Let me show you around

Overcome your Barriers

Anything holding you back from becoming fluent?
Get on the right track today with my free checklist!

pain learning languages checklist preview
How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.