Cathedral City is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 42,647 at the 2000 census. Sandwiched between Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, it is one of the cities in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) of southern California. The town's name derives from "Cathedral Canyon" to the south of the town, so named in 1850 by Colonel Henry Washington because its rock formations were reminiscent of a cathedral. The city itself started as a housing subdivision in 1925, but was not incorporated until 1981. The city grew 4-5 times in two decades, as the 2006 population estimate is 48,000. Locals gave it the nickname "Cat City", short for Cathedral. Others like historians claim that came from the reputation as a slinger gaming gulch in the late 1800s, and a safe haven for bars or saloons during prohibition of the 1920s.