"Czy tygrys to nie kot?"
Translation:Is a tiger not a cat?
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It's not arbitrary, at least not here. Using "the" before "cat" would mean that we're asking whether a tiger happens to be a very specific cat. Surely that's not what we want to express here. (Btw, it's accepted nevertheless). If we omitted the articles completely (and ignored upper case letters) that would be a weird way of asking whether Tiger Woods and Cat Stevens are in fact the same person.