Couldn't we accept "They do not have any cat" as another valid translation ?
That would be more like "Oni nie mają żadnego kota". Of course the meaning is the same, but there is emphasis, both in English and Polish, on "any" ("żadnego") in your sentence.
what i would ask here is why the negation of kot in accusative form is "kota" and not "koty" as lesson earlier tought us "ona nie lubi kawy" but i think i got the answer. koty is plural and would be kotow but kawy is still singular. right?
Yes. "kawa" is feminine singular, and Genitive singular of feminine nouns is almost always identical to Nominative/Accusative plural. That's quite confusing for learners at first, although after some time it can become helpful - one form less to remember.
"koty" would be the Genitive if the basic form was "kota". But it's not. Indeed "koty" is plural (Nom/Acc) and Genitive plural is "kotów".
Could you also say 'oni nie mają kotów' ('they do not have cats') to mean the same thing, like in English?
Well... grammatically it's different, even if it says more or less the same thing.
Hmm.. I thought that the meaning of the sentence is about "absence of cats", so I translated it to english as "they have no cats".
I googled about usage of singular/plural words after "no" and it seems both are acceptable. Here are two places where it's talked about it: https://www.englishforums.com/English/SingularPluralNounsAfter/vbqx/post.htm https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/162482/grammar-no-singular-plural-noun-singular-plural-verb https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/138688/plural-or-singular-after-no https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/197798/singular-or-plural-verb-after-no http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv354.shtml
All sources show it's ok, and the last one (which seems somehow more to be trusted) says:
"With countable nouns, no is normally followed by plural forms. It sounds more natural and makes better sense to say: ... Sometimes, no may be followed by singular or plural nouns, depending on whether one is thinking of one or more than one"
What do you think?
it is natural when i say "i do have a cat but they dont have a cat" (dont have one) which refers to a singular animal. almost same meaning if you say they dont have cats but "almost". So what that source says is very accurate imo