I learned that the measure word for 猫 is .

However, my friend said 条 is the correct measure word for 猫.

The conversation with the friend is the following:

X: 你有养猫吗?

I: 哈哈 这只不是我的,我韩国旅游时的我的房东的。

X: 我家有一条🐱

I: 猫应该是只还是条?

X: 条🐱

So she said clearly it should be 条, not 只.

But my Pleco only shows 只, while 网易有道词典 doesn't mention it.

Now I wonder in what cases 条 should be used instead of 只, and why 只 is not correct here.

  • 1
    I prefer to 只; 条 sounds weird. See here and here.
    – user4072
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:08
  • users are used to 条 for dogs, although 条猫 does not seem to exist, on the other hand although 条狗 may be more common, examples for 只狗 abound, iciba (cf. comment #1):伴着一声嗥叫,第二只狗扑向了他的脚后跟,库克叫这只狗的名字时,它的耳朵就会稍稍耷拉一下,那只狗阴郁地盯着我们看了几分钟
    – user6065
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 17:12
  • 1
    只 is right. I've never heard 一条猫, maybe it's her dialect. Commented May 3, 2018 at 0:13
  • @JasonSwift Then where 条 is used more often?
    – Blaszard
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 5:29
  • 2
    Both 一条狗 and 一只狗 are common. Here's a discussion on Zhihu: zhihu.com/question/31086186 Commented May 3, 2018 at 6:41

2 Answers 2


Misusing quantifiers is a practice of rhetorics. Consider the examples of 一滩猫 and 一坨代码. 滩 gives a metaphor noting the liquidity of a cat, and 坨 implies that the code is badly programmed to look like shit.

In orthographic usages, 条 cannot quantify 猫. However, if you have a specific rhetorical purpose, you may quantify anything with any quantifier you prefer.

In this very particular case, when 条 is used to quantify 猫, it would seem that you are giving an explicit implication that the cat is pretty long or very thin; and note that context matters.


In a mistake, I have never heard anyone say 一条猫. It does not make sense.

Because when people choose a counter, he have 3 options,

1st: a description.

一根鱼竿, 一条鱼,

2nd: a common counter.

一个铅笔, 一位好人,

3rd: an emotional counter

一条好汉, 一条狗, 一头疯子

一条狗 originally implies a hungry dog that is hollow and skinny, though it becomes a common counter, it still includes the negative meanings.

If you use 条 with other things, means you treat them as dogs, just like 一条好汉.

If 一条瘦猫, that is much better, a hateful hungry cat.

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