Lookups for catcall spiked dramatically on June 2nd, 2016, following reports that the president-elect of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, had whistled suggestively at a reporter, Mariz Umali, at a news conference.
Rosette Adel of The Philippine Star reported that
Duterte drew flak from netizens and other journalists when he wolf whistled Umali, saying that catcalling a woman publicly with words having dirty connotations is a form of sexual harassment based on Article 1 Section 8 of Davao City Ordinance No. 5004 or “The Women's Development Code of Davao City.”
Catcall appeared in English as a noun in the middle of the 17th century. This earliest sense of the word meant “a small instrument for producing a sound like the cry of a cat, formerly used especially in theaters to express disapproval or contempt.” Early uses of the word are found most frequently in plays, showing the theatrical roots of the term.
She has a voice will grate your Ears worse than a Cat-call, and dresses so ill she's scarce fit to trick up a Yeomans Daughter on a Holyday.
—George Etherege, The Man of Mode, or, Sr. Fopling Flutter. A Comedy: acted at the Duke’s Theatre, 1676
By 1681 the word had become a verb, as seen in an anonymous political satire from that year.
He's B---r's Boar-Catt, that not only Mouses for his Master, but like a Lascivious Representative Puss, goes a rutting to the House-top, and Cat-calls the whole Faction.
—The Phanatick in His Colours, 1681
The earliest sense of catcall, the noisemaking device, is little used these days. The word, whether as a noun or a verb, is most often encountered when used in reference to a comment or noise that is rude, sexually suggestive in nature, or both.