The Las Vegas Review Journal recently reported that comedian Paula Poundstone, who owns 15 cats and is all-too-familiar with a multi-cat litter box situation, has something to say about Nevada’s legendary brothels being referred to as “cathouses.”
“You have to wonder why they ever called a whorehouse a ‘cathouse,’ because it’s so unappealing. They should have named them ‘cookiehouses.’”
What do you think? Does “cookiehouse” work for you?
The term “cathouse” actually (most likely) comes from an obsolete reference. Apparently, people used to refer to a prostitute as a “cat,” so a “cathouse” is a place where several prostitutes ply their trade…
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, very early. The now-obsolete use of the word “cat” for “prostitute” was established as early as 1401, when the word appeared in Friar Daw’s Reply, a poem in the Middle English Piers Plowman tradition. Although the exact meaning of the word in this poem is debatable, the definition had been unquestionably cemented by 1670, when an early dictionary entry for “cat” followed the word with the phrase, “a common whore.”
– Deadwood Magazine