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Within the context of 17th century witch-hunting, a kittling was apparently commonly known as some kind of animal.

Perhaps the obvious first guess is a misspelled kitten, or some kind of bird, or a white calf – or lamb?

What animal was “Holt” the witch's familiar spirit?

Reference:

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  • "Cat" would be a fair guess, since the Old French for cat is "chitoun", and "kittling" comes close phonetically. Observe that most of the other beings mentioned are small animals.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 26, 2015 at 21:16
  • Oh jeez. I misread the Wikipedia entry. I thought it said the first listed entry was NOT a cat, so I couldn't figure out what it was.
    – Larry
    Dec 26, 2015 at 21:42
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    Joseph Wright in his English Dialect Dictionary (vol III, H-L, Oxford,1905) lists the noun KITLING "a kitten, a small cat" and relates it to the verb KITTLE, "to bring forth young, used gen. of cats but also of other small animals...".
    – TimR
    Dec 27, 2015 at 0:38

1 Answer 1

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It appears to be a Scottish term for kitten:

  • (Scot.) Kitten, also tickling.

(Folk-Etymology)

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