Vietnamese cats or “Meo” in Vietnamese (pronounced: moew) can hunt rats, safeguard the harvest, and bring happiness to their owners. In the Vietnamese Zodiac sign, the cat is one of the 12 Zodiac animals. With the help of Vietnamtrips, we will learn more about this fascinating species in this post!

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vietnamese cat
Source: Erik-Jan Leusink

Vietnamese cats ("mèo" means cat in Vietnamese) are popular pets in many Vietnamese households, particularly in rural families (the area accounts for 65.5 percent of the total population of Vietnam, according to the General Statistics Office, as of December 19, 2019). 

Vietnamese Zodiac Cat

The cat is the fourth animal in Vietnam's 12-animal Zodiac system (in front of the tiger and after the dragon). In some other cultures, such as China and Korea, the fourth animal is a rabbit instead of a cat, as it is in Vietnam


Birth Cat types Lucky numbers Lucky colors

6/2/1951 - 26/1/1952

Cat of Metal 


White, Yellow, Golden Brown, Metallic

25/1/1963 - 12/2/1964

Cat of Water 

0,1, 6,7

Black, Navy blue, white

11/2/1975 - 30/1/1976

Cat of Wood 

3,4, 0,1

Green, navy, black

29/1/1987 - 16/2/1988

Cat of Fire

9, 6,7

Red, Orange, Pink, Purple, Green

16/2/1999 - 4/2/2000

Cat of Earth

2, 5, 8, 9

Brown, red, orange, purple, pink

11/2/2011 - 22/1/ 2012

Cat of Metal

9, 6,7

Red, Orange, Pink, Purple, Green

22/1/2023 - 9/2/2024

Cat of Water

2, 5, 8, 9

Brown, red, orange, purple, pink


Vietnamese Zodiac Cat individuals tend to match up with the pig and goat Zodiacs in Feng Shui (12th and 8th respectively in the order of Zodiac). Meanwhile, the Cat Zodiac does not get along with those born in the years of the Rat, Horse, or Chicken (1st, 7th, 20th respectively in the order of Zodiac animals).

Vietnamese cats in countryside families

cats in vietnam

Cats in countryside families - Source: Kenh14

Vietnam is one of the few countries with a long history of wet rice civilization and agriculture. Cats, as a result, serve an essential role in capturing rodents and safeguarding the local food storage. Cats in Vietnam, like dogs, are great human companions in today's world. Cats not only provide pleasure to their owners, but they also have a lot of cute moments that assist to relieve stress in humans.

Vietnamese cats in culture and art

Cat images may be found in many traditional Vietnamese paintings, and some of them have become quite valued in the art world. The artwork "Wedding of the Rats" from the Dong Ho Painting Village (now part of Bac Ninh Province, 30km from Hanoi - Vietnam's capital) is a perfect example of utilizing Vietnam cat images. The artwork, which has a history of almost 500 years, portrays the wedding activities of the rat family using various outstanding drawing methods that have significant meaning inside it. 


vietnam cat

Wedding of the Cats - Source: Laodong

The rat bride, who wishes to have a quiet wedding, must pay homage to the cat with birds and fishes while the cat inside the picture sits comfortably and receives all the presents. In this panting, the Vietnamese cat represents the higher classes, while rats symbolize the lower classes, which have no authority or rights. As a result, the picture helps us comprehend the inequity of class; the more power they had, the more respect they earned in past society.

Cats in Vietnamese culture, specifically in poetry and literary writings, motifs with negative characteristics like unfaithfulness, laziness, cunning,... Cat images are used to criticize the bad society and lead to an improved future. Here are a few interesting folks about it:

- Mèo mả gà đồng or wild chicken, cat street: the cat implies woman of easy virtue

- Mèo già hóa cáo or old birds are not caught with chaff: cat image means people who always seeking for benefits in cunning way

- Làm như mèo mửa or great talkers are little doers: loud talking, little doing 

Tabby cats, Siamese cats, and Golden cats are the most common kinds of Vietnamese cats. However, there are additional breeds, such as the Bicolor cat and the Tricolor cat, which are created by combining three previous types.

vietnam cats

Tabby cat - Source: Kenh14

The hair of this breed of cat is distinguished by a variety of colored stripes. The major color of Tabby cat's hair is dark. The forehead has a unique "M" color shape. Furthermore, this cat enjoys sunbathing, grooming its hair, and is athletic, aggressive, and clever.

Golden cat

vietnamese cats

Golden cat - Source: Kenh14

The Golden cat is distinguished by its white or golden coat and short fur. This Vietnamese cat breed has a small white stripe along the lips and upright ears, and its mouth is typically longer than usual. Their attitude is not very agile or active, but rather reliant, making them an excellent pet. Vietnamese people think that owning a golden cat will bring them good fortune.

Do Vietnamese eat cats? 

Eating cat meat, like eating dog meat, has many bad connotations in Vietnam at the moment. Many areas in the North of Vietnam, particularly Thai Binh Province, consider cat meat to be a speciality, but those in the south believe that eating cat meat brings bad luck. 

There are several non-profit groups, such as Four Paws, that are working to put a stop to the slaughter of cats. This group has made a good first step by garnering a lot of positive support from the public.

Localtravelidea has compiled and produced a list of information about Vietnamese cats. As you can see, cats play an important role in the lives of humans, particularly Vietnamese people and Vietnamese literary works.

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Being born and living here in Vietnam, I got a chance to see lots of beautiful places, try countless great dishes, & experience many interesting things in places I visited. And It's so great to share all things I know about Vietnam to you.

Giang Pham — Giang Pham



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