“Cat” is not difficult to pronounce, so what’s the problem? Technically, there is no problem unless you’re in the midst of a conversation about your new Ocicat making it known far and wide that you are now the expert on this particular breed only to have your partner in conversation sheepishly inform you that while you seem to know much about the breed, the correct pronunciation is not within your realm of knowledge. But really, though, why do people give names to things that cannot be pronounced? With 26 letters in the alphabet, you’d think that we could come up with something simpler and easier to relay to others. Since that seems to be a non-option, however, there are more than a few cat names out there that we just cannot say. I mean, we have cat down pat (how very Dr. Suess of me) but when it comes to very specific breeds, we fail miserably. Perhaps this explains why people head straight to the shelter and adopt mixed breeds; they can pronounce that. That said, we’ve decided it’s time to educate ourselves on the proper pronunciation of the most commonly mispronounced cat breeds. Good luck.
Chausie – Chow-See
Exotic and very cool-looking, this breed is one that originated somewhere in Egypt according to scientists and those who study things of this nature. Of course, it’s the kind of thing that makes sense to other people, but I was most assuredly pronouncing this one incorrectly. Saying it correctly sounds a bit funny coming out of my mouth, so I’ll never have one just so that I don’t have to pronounce it. It sounds less Egyptian and more like something that you’d hear in the most country part of the south.
Nebelung – Nay-Bell-Ung
Here’s one that was so far over my head it’s not even funny. Well, it happens, and it’s all right. This is an American breed, even though it has a name like that (Because I guess calling it a Steve would have been too much work, right?) and it’s very similar to the Russian Blue (the Russian version is easier to pronounce?). The only difference is that this one has a long coat – always.
Donskoy – Dons-Koy
Here we go again with another very phonetic word. Reading this breed I immediately pronounced it correctly since I tend to be phonetic. This is a cat that is often mistaken for a Sphynx because it is a hairless breed, but it’s not the same. Very pretty, of course, but this is the kind of cat that people really have to like to want to have around considering it is a bit on the specific side.
Burmilla – Bur-Mill-Uh
I’m going out on a limb here and stating that this one is pronounced exactly as it was spelled, but that’s just me. Apparently it’s more complicated than that as it is assumed the name is Spanish and has some flair to it. I’m all about flair, but I’ve been pronouncing this one correctly for years. Though, admittedly, I did assume I was mispronouncing it for a while.
Sokoke – So-Ko-Key
It doesn’t look like the type of cat most people have at home since it’s very wild looking. However, it’s a domestic cat that hails straight from Kenya, and it’s a beautiful one. It’s lovely and pretty, and it’s the type of cat that makes you want to have one around just because it is so unique-looking. Another fun fact about this breed is the fact that the males are very active in the development and raising of the young, and that’s not something that most cat breeds can say.
Khaomanee – Cow-Manee
If you find that you have trouble pronouncing this one, welcome to the club. The good news is that you can call it the cat with the diamond eyes since that is mostly how it is known to others. It has lovely eyes in two different colors, and that makes this breed very unique and quite lovely. The cat is usually pure white and has either blue, gold or one of each color eyes. It’s certainly the type of breed you recognize immediately once you understand its eyes.
Ojos Azules – Oh-Hose Ah-Zoo-Less
This Mexican breed is one that has some seriously blue eyes that are always gorgeous. The eyes of this cat are so pretty that the breed is actually just named after the cat, which is an interesting choice. But at the end of the day, what really matters is that you’re saying it incorrectly and there is nothing you can do about that one.
Cymric – Come-Rick
Now this one is not at all how I imagined it was pronounced. This breed is very pretty, a little bit on the large side and they really do enjoy dogs and kids. Most cats are against all things dog and child-related, but this large Manx-like cat is actually quite friendly when it comes to both, preferring them over adults and even other cats.
Aegean – A-G-Ann
It looks a bit like it might be pronounced differently than it really is. It’s quite literally just a literal pronunciation of the first two letters and “ann” at the end. It’s not difficult, so I have no real idea why we make it more complicated than it really is. Perhaps because someone decided it was a good idea to add in all those additional letters even though they appear a bit pointless in reality.
Chartreux – Shar-True
I’m sure it will come as a big surprise to hear that this is a French breed. This lovely cat is one of the very few that is accepted in the blue color by official cat organizations, and it’s one that has been around for a while. It’s also a large breed, and it’s another one that I’ve pronounced correctly for years. Probably because down here in the south we spend a fair amount of time in N’awlins and that teaches us how to pronounce anything with a “treux” on the end.
Photos by Getty Images