[puss’-puss] general, [pish’-pish] Puget Sound — noun.
Meaning: A cat. Also used for cougar, lynx, bobcat, etc.
Origin: English, An informal term of address for a cat. From a common Germanic word for cat, perhaps ultimately imitative of a sound made to get its attention.
While the term for a house cat in ‘standard’ Chinook Wawa was “puss-puss”, occasionally it was shortened to just “pus”, while in some localities along the Puget Sound region it was pronounced “pish-pish”. A young cat was called a “tenas puss-puss” (kitten; kittycat), while “hyas puss-puss” (a cougar; big cat) was used for the mountain lion (Puma concolor couguar), and was even used on the Canadian comedy-drama television series ‘The Beachcombers’. This term could be conceivably used for other species of wildcat, such as the lynx or bobcat, but probably only in the context of a large one, and is used as the CHinook Wawa word for other big cats like the panther and tiger.
It is worth noting that the St’at’imcets and Nlaka’pamux First Nations of British Columbia used their own word for cougar, “swaawa”.