There are two theories about the origin of the town's name. One simply holds that the headland called Cap-Chat bore a likeness to a cat ("chat" in French). The other theory is a bit more fanciful. According to a local legend, a cat walking along the shore killed and ate various animals, whereupon the "cat fairy" accused him of having eaten her offspring. For his punishment, the cat was turned into stone for ever.
It seems most likely, however, that the town's name is a corruption of "Aymar de Chaste", who was New France's lieutenant-general in 1603.
Cap-Chat was one of the prime viewing areas for the total solar eclipse of July 10, 1972. Unfortunately, cloudy skies prevented most observers from viewing the total phase of the eclipse.
On March 15, 2000, the Municipality of Capucins was amalgamated into the Town of Cap-Chat.
Cap-Chat has become synonymous with wind energy. There is a wind farm there containing 76 wind generators in revenue service. Each one of these is a horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT), but there is also to be seen there one called Éole, which is the world's tallest vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) at 110 m. It is capable of producing 4 MW of power. Everything that there is to know about wind power at Cap-Chat may be learnt at the interpretative centre at the wind farm.
Cap-Chat has other things that are worth seeing, such as the aforesaid cat-shaped headland, and a lighthouse.
Those interested in wilderness and spectacular scenery can explore the areas inland from Cap-Chat, where there was once a village called Saint-Octave-de-l'Avenir (which ironically means Saint Octavius of the Future, though it's long in the past now). Salmon fishing and moosehunting are other activities available in the Cap-Chat area, as are hiking, horseback riding, and off-road four-wheel drive excursions in the back country.