Vietnamese Language Blog

Happy Cat Month Posted by on Sep 27, 2021 in Culture, News, Vocabulary

Image taken and used with permission by Kandle Dart

September is the Happy Cat Month, designated by the CATalyst Council to raise awareness of cat welfare. Although cats have recently been embraced by many families in Vietnam, whether as a pet or a mouser cat, the brutal treatment of cats through the illicit meat trade by trafficker in recent years has continued to rise at an alarming rate.

Let’s get familiar with some vocabulary related to cats.


Vietnamese English
Mèo/Miêu/Mão Cat
Mèo con Kitten
Mèo cái Female cat
Mèo đực Male cat
Giống mèo Cat breed
Mèo đen/Mèo mun Black cat
Mèo mướp Tabby cat
Mèo vàng Yellow Tabby cat
Mèo tam thể Calico cat
Mèo Xiêm Siamese cat
Mèo Ba Tư Persian cat
Mèo hoang Stray cat
Mèo nhà House cat
Meo meo Meow (sound)

It’s sad to see mèo doesn’t have the same reputation as chó (dog) and often doesn’t receive as much credit as they deserve. The majority of mèo nhà (house cats) in Vietnam are indoor/outdoor cats and are raised for the sole purpose of chasing mice, particularly in the countryside. Unlike the overpopulation of mèo hoang (stray cats) in the United States, there is not a problem in Vietnam because they would be trapped quickly by the locals to sell to traffickers for consumption.

The majority of mèo in Vietnam that you often see are mèo mướp (tabby), mèo vàng (yellow tabby), or mèo Xiêm (Siamese). Mèo tam thể is a mix and is a tri-color cat. All of them are short hair. Mèo nhà’s meals often include cooked rice mixed with some fat juice and leftover fish or shrimp. Because they are mainly raised as working cats, you won’t find any overweight mèo in Vietnam.

If you feel the need for a companion, need some emotional support, or simply have much love to give or want a challenge, I urge you to adopt mèo at the shelter. There are so many to choose from and I promise you will find it’s very rewarding if you do it right.

Let’s talk about ưu điểm (pros) and nhược điểm (cons) for you to consider regarding cats.

Ưu điểm

  • Mèo is known for its independence. Unlike chó (dog) that needs constant attention from the owner, mèo needs a lot less attention. Therefore, you don’t need to spend too much time to “walk” or play with mèo as much as chó when you’re busy.
  • Mèo is very clean. They groom themselves all day long so they don’t smell. Indeed, you don’t need to bathe them at all, especially the short-hair breeds.
  • Mèo is very gentle and quiet. You don’t have to worry about mèo “barking” in the middle of the night to bother your neighbors. They don’t jump up and down to dirty your clothes either.

Nhược điểm

  • If you define the word “faithful” or “loyal” by a chó’s standard, mèo would fail your expectation. It’s more challenging to get the cat’s attention and trust.
  • Mèo’s waste is smelly and hard to get rid of the smell if he/she made an accident on your carpet, furniture, or bed.
  • Mèo’s behavior is unpredictable and they can have a bad reputation.

About Mèo đen

Among all breeds, poor mèo đen has the worst reputation for many reasons. I heard the adoption rate for mèo đen is very low compared to other breeds. Some people think they are ugly because they are just “black”, don’t appear well in pictures, or just look evil.

I took a mèo hoang in, who also is a mèo đen and trained him to be a mèo nhà. This was my first time to have a cat. To my surprise, he has become a love bug in no time and an important member of our family. No doubt, he is the sweetest thing that came into our lives.

Do give mèo đen a chance if you come across one. He may bring you so much luck and joy as mine does.

Image taken and used with permission from Kandle Dart


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