The cat eventually drowned, and did not make it in the zodiac. It is said that this is the reason cats always hunt Rats.However, the Cat is the fourth animal in the Vietnamese zodiac, taking place of the Rabbit. One possible explanation is that Vietnamese, who adopted the zodiac from China, confused the pronunciation of the corresponding earthly branch 卯 (mǎo) with that of 猫 (māo).
猫 is a simplified form of the traditional character 貓 which is a phono-semantic compound of semantic 豸 “beast with long vertebral column” and phonetic 苗 (miáo). In apparent contradiction to Baldrick’s definition of dog, “not a cat”, 豸 got simplified precisely to 犬, “dog”, making the whole thing “a dog that says ‘miáo’”. Thus the Cat joined the Pig, 猪, and the Monkey, 猴 — but not the Tiger, 虎 — as another “kind of dog”.