Ailurophiles (cat fanciers) will tell you that it makes perfect sense female cats are called queens. “Tomcat,” however, is a little trickier. While we’re on the feline topic, what is the name for a group of cats, and where does the myth of cats’ nine lives originate?

Meow. (What do people in Japan say instead of ”meow?” Here’s the answer.)

It turns out that the term for a male cat is associated with a fictional character from long before the cartoon “Tom and Jerry.” In the mid-eighteenth century, a popular children’s book called “The Life and Adventures of a Cat” featured a cat named Tom. “Tomcat” is also slang for a “woman-chaser,” a definition that was first recorded in 1927.

A less common name for the male cat is Gib-cat, which is likely a shortening of the name Gilbert.

Female cats (and often male cats too) are called pusses or pussycats, or queens. There is some debate as to which language this term came from. Dutch, German, Swedish, and Norwegian are all candidates.

The word is also used to refer to a person who is harmless. For example, “Don’t let John’s serious stare intimidate you. He’s really just a pussycat.”

Incidentally, the verb pussyfoot was originally the apropos nickname for a stealthy prohibition agent named W.E. Johnson.

(Cats are one thing, but zedonks and ligers are another. Learn the difference between a zebrula, a zonkey, and a zebrinny, here.)

You may have witnessed a herd of cows, a pack of dogs, a murder of crows, and a covey of partridges, but how often do you see a clowder of cats? Maybe when there is an abundance of catnip.

Since ancient times, cats have inspired a variety of myths and superstitions. One common superstition states that bad luck comes to whoever lets a black cat cross his path. If this superstition develops into a persistent, irrational fear of felines, it is called ailurophobia. The word comes from the Greek ailouros, which means “cat,” and phobos, which means “fear.”

Many cultures share a version of the myth that cats have multiple lives. We often talk about cats having nine lives, while in some Spanish-speaking regions pusses are said to have seven. The myth stems from cats’ natural abilities to dodge life-threatening situations.

What other animal would you like us to investigate? The creature with the most support below will receive its own future blog entry.

Corolla continues as a little spark plug for Toyota.(Auto Preview)

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) September 19, 2002 | Boe, Dave Byline: Dave Boe Daily Herald Auto Editor Background: The Corolla is one of Toyota’s most venerable nameplates. Japan’s largest automaker first introduced the diminutive Corolla in the United States back in 1968. It debuted in Japan two years earlier.

The success of the compact, front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder Corolla represents a microcosm of its parent company. It’s not the flashiest vehicle on the road, nor the most potent. What it does deliver is better-than-average reliability and decent fuel economy at a relatively low price. Like the familiar Timex watch slogan from yesteryear states, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking. site 2002 honda civic

When the vehicle first arrived in 1968, it was much smaller than today’s Corolla, and considered a subcompact. In 1993 Toyota moved it upmarket and began selling it as a compact. Like many “compact” rivals during the past decade, they seem to get a little bit bigger with each new generation. The all-new, 2003 version represents Corolla’s ninth incarnation. The last major makeover occurred in the 1998 model year.

How important is Corolla to its parent company? Since its inception in the mid 1960s, more than 25 million units have been sold in 142 countries.

The 2003 Corolla redesign is notable for one more reason. The all-new 2003 Toyota Matrix is built off the same platform. The trendy Matrix is a cross between a four-door wagon and compact sport utility. It makes good economic sense for an automaker to build several different looking vehicles off one platform because costs are shared by several models, reducing the company’s bottom line. Corolla got an early jump on the 2003 model year when it debuted in January of 2002.

The 2003 Corolla is built at two North American plants: one in Freemont Calif. and another in Ontario, Canada.

Engine/Trim level: Unlike many compact rivals, all Corollas sold in the United States are four-door sedans. Ford’s compact Focus is available in five different body styles while its main Japanese rival, the 2002 Honda Civic, comes in two-door, four-door and hatchback versions.

As was the case in the 2002 model year, three trim levels are available: CE, LE and the sporty S version. Manual transmission is standard while four-speed automatic is optional in all three models. The same in-line engine powers all three; a 1.8-liter, inline engine delivering 130 horsepower, five more than last year’s model.

The fuel tank holds 13.2 gallons of regular unleaded fuel. Manual versions crank out an impressive 32 miles per gallon in city travel, and 40 m.p.g. highway. Automatic transmissions are not far behind with 30 m.p.g. city and 38 m.p.g. highway.

Price: The folks at Toyota provided the Daily Herald with a green LE edition with automatic transmission starting at $15,480. After factoring in such options as anti-lock brakes ($300), side air bags ($250), leather package ($900) and moonroof ($750), the bottom line added up to $18,367 with the $485 destination charge factored in.

The lowest priced Corolla is a CE edition with manual transmission which starts at $13,570. With automatic transmission, the price sneaks up to $14,370. The sporty S version starts at $14,515 with manual transmission and $15,315 with automatic.

Comparatively speaking, a 2003 Cavalier sedan with manual transmission starts at $14,175; a 2002 Dodge Neon sedan with manual transmission checks in at $12,515 while a 2002 Honda Civic DX sedan with manual transmission starts at $13,010.

Standard equipment: Each succeeding Corolla trim level features more standard equipment. All three include: power mirrors, a split rear-folding rear seat, power steering, tilt adjustable steering wheel, air conditioning, compact disc player, intermittent wipers and rear window defroster. The sport S edition adds power door locks, fog lights and map lights. The up-level LE adds wood-tone interior trim, power windows, power door locks and a vertical seat height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

Like many entry level vehicles that try to keep prices low, Corolla has many options and option packages to choose from. Cruise control is optional in all three editions. Sunroofs, fifteen-inch alloy wheels and a six-speaker stereo system are available in S and LE. A rear spoiler are optional in the sporty S edition only.

Outside: Once again the exterior design takes on conservative traits. No radical nuances, just low-tech, vanilla ice cream nuances. This strategy has worked very well for the Corolla and its larger Camry sibling for decades, so why tinker with a formula that works.

In 2003, Corolla is wider, longer and taller than the previous year. In fact, it’s over four inches longer. Both the front windshield and rear window are larger and the front hood slopes downward at more of an angle from the edge of the windshield. Large cat’s eye headlights wrap around from the fenders to the small front grille with horizontal slats and circular Toyota layout. Outside, body-colored side mirrors are permanently fixed, and do not fold in if needed, so be careful when sailing through the fast- food drive thru.

Horizontal taillights wrap from the rear fender onto the trunk lid. The locking fuel tank door is on the rear left fender. Strap- like, body-colored handles adorn all four doors.

Inside: The interior design is simply stated and very functional. Knobs and dials are generally where one would expect. The stereo is high atop the center dashboard. Below are three large, easy-to-grab dials monitoring fan speed and direction. A few rectangular buttons activating air conditioning, the hazard lights and rear window defogger are in between. Another feature in the area is a stand-alone digital clock.

Power outside mirrors are controlled via a square dial on the dashboards far left side. The driver’s door has switches operating all four power windows. In between front bucket seats are the hand- operated parking brake and the arm rest/flip-top storage bin combo. Dual permanently-molded beverage holders are nearby as well.

Cloth interiors are standard throughout the model line while a leather-trim option package is available in the up-level LE. Two adult travelers fit comfortably in back. Three would be a tight fit. Headroom is quite plentiful even with the optional sunroof, which can compromise room at the top. Two beverage holders retract into the back of the front center console. go to site 2002 honda civic

Headlights are controlled from the turn signal stalk while wipers activate from a right-hand side stalk. Corolla’s with optional cruise control have a small square appendage jetting out from the steering wheel’s right side. Levers unlocking the trunk and fuel tank door are found on the floor left of the driver’s seat.

Trunk volume checks in at a very respectable 13.6 cubic feet, which is more than a Neon or Civic sedan and on par with a Cavalier. A temporary spare tire is found under the flat trunk floor.


Wheelbase: 102.4 inches Overall length: 178.3 inches Overall width: 66.9 inches Overall height: 57.5 inches Curb weight: 2,590 pounds Safety features: Front driver and passenger air bags come standard as do child safety rear door locks, side impact door beams and daytime running lights. Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and side-impact air bags are optional across the board. Traction control is not offered. Remote keyless entry is standard in LE editions only and optional in S.

Warranty: Corolla includes Toyota’s three-year/36,000-mile (which ever comes first) basic new-vehicle warranty covers all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. The drivetrain warranty is good for five years or 60,000 miles. The rust/corrosion warranty is good for five years with unlimited miles.

Final thoughts: Longevity speaks volumes about passenger cars and trucks. Names such as Corvette, Suburban and even Century have withstood the test of time because repeat business has been strong. Corolla is no different. Dependability and a relatively low price tag have kept buyers coming back.

Expect to pay a little more for a comparably-equipped 2003 Corolla when judged against to many foreign and domestic compact rivals; but you can also expect a higher resale value down the road and one with a long history of reliable transportation.

Boe, Dave


  1. artemisia -  March 1, 2014 - 8:51 pm

    Why do the Brits call a cat a “moggy”?

  2. Tom -  February 15, 2014 - 5:57 am

    I have come to the exact same conclusion on my blog http://tomandjerryblog.weebly.com/

    Tom is a male cat … it’s something like if he was a girl he would be called Kittie …. short from kittie cat…

  3. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  December 11, 2013 - 3:47 am

    I third wolves. Wolves are the most awesome creatures because they are so loyal to their family and they always support their pack. They work together for everything. Please do an article about them.

    I thought only female cats that are nursing kittens were called queens. In Warriors, female warriors are called she-cats and nursing mothers are called queens. Warrior cats rule!

    Where I live, there are stray cats on every corner. In my apartment complex alone there are more than I can keep track of. And they breed like crazy. It’s really sad…they fight over trash can rights. :(

    The proper term for a male wolf is “dog.”

  4. Pixie -  May 16, 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Besides Tomcat,what about a female cat?How to call or describe a female cat in a intimate way?Is it called a Kate cat?Wondering!Eager to receive a respondence from U.XoXo.

  5. Jane -  February 25, 2013 - 4:29 pm

    Star nosed moles

  6. bethany -  September 16, 2012 - 1:43 am

    what about smuge

  7. Stella -  May 30, 2012 - 5:21 am

    Lonesome George

  8. OnceInABlueMoon -  April 29, 2012 - 11:23 am

    I thought a queen was a female cat meant for raising kittens?

  9. OnceInABlueMoon -  April 29, 2012 - 11:22 am

    @Patrick J: Red pandas and giant pandas are now classified in their own family, Ailuridae, with red pandas as the core species.

    @Faith: I LOVE MUDSKIPPERS!!!!!!! They are so cute! I think they are an awesome fish they are my favorite fish! Top 10 list of animals I want to include:

    10) Caracals
    9) Stoats/Ermines (why are they stoats in summer and ermine in winter?)
    8) Any kind of lagomorph (rabbits, hares, pikas)
    7) Axolotls
    6) Mudskippers
    5) Dholes
    4) Owls (why are they considered wise?)
    3) Rhynchocephalians
    2) Echidnas
    1) Tarsiers!

  10. OnceInABlueMoon -  April 29, 2012 - 11:10 am

    @andrea: A narwhal is a cetacean with a very long protruding upper tooth. Some people think that this is the inspiration of the unicorn.

  11. OnceInABlueMoon -  April 29, 2012 - 11:07 am


  12. dumb blonde -  February 17, 2012 - 2:13 pm

    Narwhal definition, “The narwhal, or narwhale, Monodon monoceros, is a medium-sized toothed whale that lives year-round in the Arctic.”

  13. kss -  November 10, 2011 - 6:40 am

    what are two name female cats are referred tolike male cats are referred to as “tom cats”

  14. Will -  October 23, 2011 - 8:59 am

    yo mamma

  15. maddie -  February 24, 2011 - 4:36 pm

    ooohhh please do one on narwalls or llamas!!!!

  16. a -  February 16, 2011 - 9:50 pm

    Hellworms would be an interesting topic.

  17. Katie -  February 16, 2011 - 12:12 pm

    Owls! :D

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