In English the plural of fish is fish. ( Edit: alvaro1944 has a good point. "fishes" can sometimes also be used for the plural, but "eats" is not correct for plural. Oddly, the plural verb form is "eat" without the s. "fish" is still the most commonly used for plural as well as for singular.)
Gatte is used when you know all of the cats are girl cats.People use I Gatti when they don't know the gender of the cats or theres both girl cats and boy cats eating fish. I think this is correct anyways im still learning so don't place all of your trust on me. =D Spero che questo ti aiuta!
How do we know whether the cats are eating more than one fish if the task is to translate the English into Italian. “The cats eat the fish.” could be that the cats are eating one fish(il pesce) or more than one fish (i pesci). Fish can be singular or plural in English. True story: The other day while cleaning fish outside, one fish fell on the ground. And guess what. I let “the cats eat the fish” hence: “I gatti mangiano il pesce.”
Both are correct if you try to translate the English sentence:
"The cats eat the fish."
As it does not tell you if the cats are comprised of a single gender group
(and if so, are they male or female) or a mixed group.
Though not very common, one could use the (English) gender specific words for cat:
- [IT] Il Gatto - [EN] The tomcat. (Male cat, singular)
- [IT] I gatti - [EN] The tomcats. (Male cats, plural)
- [IT] La gatta - [EN] The molly. (Female cat, singular)
- [IT] Le gatte - [EN] The mollies. (Female cats, plural)
From this, you can understand that cat in Italian, comes with specifying the gender and singular\plural.
I am unaware of an Italian gender neutral word for cat as in English.
Most animal words in Italian specify the animal's gender.
You have some cases like Tiger, where the word still has a gender, but not necessarily that of the animal in question.
The tiger = La tigre.
But what if the tiger is a male tiger?
In that case you'd have to say: "La tigre maschio".