so there’s leaf litter and there’s trash litter, and there is the litter you hoist onto your shoulders to carry a soldier off the battlefield, and there is a litter of animals, and there is cat litter. they can’t possibly all be related, can they? well in fact, yes. they all come from the latin word for bed. so you have the stretcher on the battlefield that is a kind of bed. you have the litter of straw in an animal stall that is also a kind of bed. you have a bunch of animals born in that litter and they are called a litter or a “bedful” of newborns. you spread litter material in a box for your cat and it looks a little like a bed. and eventually this idea of spreading things around on the ground morphs into litter in the sense both of leaf litter and trash. here is a litter of rose petals for your enjoyment. and now, it is bedtime. i will retire to my litter.