There is no more important word in the Japanese language than 猫 (cat). That and 可愛い(かわいい – cute). School children are taught in kindergarten that when they see a cat, they shower it with no less than 3 kawaiis (check schoolbook rules).
But what does it all mean?
This is unanswerable.
But what does neko mean?
The major theory is that the word stems from ねこま or ねくま which results in the following appropriate words.
1. 寝子獣 (ねこま): sleeping child beast. Due to cats sleeping all day and being quite scary…
2. 寝熊 (ねくま): Sleeping bear. Getting close…
3. 鼠神(ねこま): Mouse god or god of the mice. And I think we have a winner.
There is another standard theory that ネ(Ne) used to be thought to be the sound cats make, and こ(ko) is an affectionate name ender often used on regular human names like Mariko or Yukiko. Combine them for cat awesomeness.
I hope this has properly taught you to respect cats for what they are.
Wait for it……..