Scholarly investigations into the origins of the word “Cat” are not yet complete. A new set of possibilities are presented by Dr Ivana Bašić (a Senior Research Associate at the Serbian Institute of Ethnography, SASA) who points out that there may be previously overlooked connections with the Serbian words for cat / litter :
“This paper points out to a possibility that the lexema cat [mačka in Serbian language] originated from the basis of mat- (in Serbian language: mati, majka, in English language: mom, mother): the motivation basis for the both expression/word for cat/litter (in Serbian language: mačka/kot) could be connected with a representation of female genitals (womb, in Sebian language: materica), birthing, understood here as “expulsion”, and “unfold” of the large number of offspring.”
See: Why Do First Kittens End Up Down the Drain? An Iconic Meaning of the Lexema Cat and Litter (II) , Bulletitin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA, Glasnik Etnografskog instituta SANU, 2010 Volume 58, Issue 2, Pages: 131-145.
The full text : may be found here (Note: mainly in Serbian)
The photo : shows Dorty silikonski posip (3,8) cat latter, available from Petbox.rs, Subotica, Serbia.