I'm an American (and fond of cats). I'm familiar with the British term "moggie" for a non-purebred cat--basically the equivalent of "mutt" for a dog. I've never heard any American English equivalent of "moggie." Is there one?

(If there isn't, I'll use "moggie," because we have a need for it.)

  • They cover it pretty well right here: cats.about.com/od/coatcolorpatternstypes/f/domesticcat.htm , even to the extent of including "moggie".
    – Misneac
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 23:02
  • ODO says that a moggie is 'a cat, typically one that is does not have a pedigree or is otherwise unremarkable.'. It's often merely a term of endearment. Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 23:05
  • 1
    Actually, in the US "mongrel" has more the meaning of a mixed-breed dog, while "mutt" is simply an unimpressive dog.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 1:22
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA The first meaning listed in many dictionaries isn't the "principal" meaning, it's the oldest. Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:30
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA I don't think there's any doubt that the principal meaning of moggy these days is cat, and I bet the editors of the OED would agree. But their claim to fame is including every significant way the word has ever been used, and they put them in order of oldest to newest, not considering popularity. My older print copy cites 1825 for the first use of "pet name for cow," 1886 for "untidily dressed woman," and 1911 for "cat," in that order, but gives many more examples for the last usage. Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:48

3 Answers 3


Looks like domestic short-haired cat and domestic long-haired cat are standard in American English.


A domestic short-haired cat is a cat of mixed ancestry – thus not belonging to any particular recognized cat breed – possessing a coat of short fur. In British English, they are often referred to as moggies.

If you want simple, house cat and alley cat often connote mixed breed, especially the latter, but are technically terms describing where the cat lives, not its ancestry. Nonetheless, house cat is used by some cat organizations (source) to refer to mixed-breed cats of both long-hair and short-hair varities.


I'll go with mongrel cat.

alley cat: a homeless, mongrel cat Your Dictionary

Thomas, a 10-year-old moggie (a British nickname for a housecat or mongrel cat), claims to be Britain's fattest cat at 28 pounds. Books Google

  • 1
    When Bob Kanefsky (US) wrote a filk (parody) of Eric Bogle's (UK/Aus) Nobody's moggy, he evidently used "Moggy" as the cat's name. I often wondered whether this was just the exigencies of rhyme and meter, or whether he didn't recognise the word and assumed it was a name.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 0:52

I hadn't realized it, but a smorgasbord of choices exists, with one or another better or worse, depending on your specific reference cat-sense. The following are some, omitting 'moggie' and others already mentioned in earlier answers. If the sense desired includes a denoted (rather than connoted) 'mixed breed', 'housecat' (already detailed in another answer) in use is probably closest to the use of the British 'moggie' (other than 'mog', also British).

Obsolete, archaic or rare:

  • bad (obs.)
  • gib, or gib-cat (obs. gib, arch. and dial. gib-cat)
  • mewer (rare)
  • mewler (obs., rare)
  • Tibert (arch.)
  • miauler (rare)


  • baudrons (Sc.)
  • puss-cat (Am. or Brit., nursery or colloq.)
  • puss (colloq.)
  • grimalkin (esp. an old she-cat)
  • miaower
  • pussycat (colloq., orig. nursery)
  • pussy (nursery and colloq.)
  • tigerkin
  • pussums (colloq.)
  • mog (Brit. colloq.)

(All terms and designations [obsolete, archaic, rare, etc.] from the OED Historical Thesaurus.)

The 'tigerkin' choice seems best to me, and avoids denigrating the cat while at the same time suggesting in a positive way that the cat is a mixture of breeds.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.