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Cat Glossary of Terms


Cat Dictionary Definition Information

Agouti : In a Tabby cat, the color between the stripes.

Ailurophile : One who loves cats.

Ailurophobe : One who hates or fears cats.

Albino : A relatively rare, genetically recessive condition resulting in white hair and pink eyes.

Alley Cat : A non-pedigree cat

Alter : To neuter or spay

Awn Hairs : In a cat's coat, the secondary hairs with a bristly texture and thickened tips.

Banding : Individual bands of color growing in a cross-wise direction.

Bib : The lengthened hair around the chest area; part of the ruff.

Bi-color : A cat with a patched coat of white and a second color.

Biopsy : The removal and examination of a sample of tissue from a living body for diagnostic purposes.

Blaze : A contrasting marking running down the center of the forehead, nose and under the chin.

Bloodline : Direct line of descent; pedigree.

Blue : Coat color ranging from blue-grey to slate-grey, also known as "gray" or "maltese".

Breed Standard : The set of breed descriptions originally laid down by the various parent breed clubs and accepted officially by international bodies.

Boar Cat : An old term for an unneutered male cat. Also known as a tom cat.

Bordetellosis : A bacterial infection affecting the respiratory system.

Break : As seen in the Persian breeds, a distinct change in the direction of the nose profile.

Breed : A group of cats with related ancestry and similar, defined physical characteristics.

Breeder : A person who breeds cats.

Breeding : To produce offspring; give birth.

Breeding Program : An continuing program where cats are mated together and the most ‘ideal' kittens selected for breeding.

Breeding Quality : A cat which may not be competitive as a show cat but still meets its breed standards closely enough to be valuable to a breeding program.

Breed-Suitable : A cat proving its worthiness to reproduce by meeting strict breed criteria.

Breed True : The act of producing kittens that closely resemble the parents.

Calicivirus : A serious respiratory disease.

Calico : A coat pattern that is mottled in tones of black, orange, and white.

Calling : A term used to describe a female cat's behavior (i.e. howling, yowling, screaming) during estrus (ovulation).

Call Name : The name that a cat is called, which is commonly a shortened form of a cat's registered name.

Cameo-Chinchilla : A coat that is shaded or smoked with red or cream tipping.

Cardiomyopathy : A disease or disorder of the heart muscle, especially of unknown or obscure cause.

Carpal Pads : The pads on the wrists of a cat's front legs which provide traction.

Castrate : To remove the testicles of a male cat.

Cataract : Opacity of the lens or capsule of the eye, causing impairment of vision or blindness

Cat Collector : A person who acquires and hordes great numbers of cats. Often a derogatory term suggesting improper care.

Caterwaul : A shrill, discordant sound.

Cat Fancy : The collective group of individuals, clubs, and registering associations involved with breeding and showing cats.

Cat Flu : More common term for feline upper respiratory virus.

Catmint : Any of various aromatic, ornamental, annual or perennial plants of the genus Nepeta, having opposite leaves and variously colored flowers with two-lipped corollas.

Catnip : A hairy aromatic perennial herb (Nepeta cataria) in the mint family, native to Eurasia and containing an aromatic oil to which cats are strongly attracted.

Cattery : An establishment where cats are kept and bred.

Certified Pedigree : Pedigree issued officially by a cat registering association.

Champaign : A term referring to the chocolate color in Burmese and the lilac color in Tonkinese.

Characteristic : A feature that helps to identify, tell apart, or describe recognizably; a distinguishing mark or trait.

Chinchilla : A coat color in which most of the hair is white or pale and only the outermost tips are colored black or another color.

Chlamydia : A highly contagious bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract which causes flu-like symptoms including coughing, sneezing and runny eyes and nose. A vaccine is available for cats considered "at risk."

Chocolate : A medium to pale brown color, though distinctly paler than seal in Siamese.

Chronic Renal Failure : Kidney failure. The number one primary cause of death in older cats.

Class B Dealers : People who receive collected usually illegally dogs and cats and sell them for research purposes.

Clowder : A group of cats.

Coat : The fur of a cat.

Cobby : Compact, with a short body.

Colostrum : The milk secreted by the mother during the first few days following birth that provides the kittens with immunity to some diseases.

Congenital : Present at birth; may have genetic or environmental causes.

Conjunctivitis : Inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by redness and often accompanied by a discharge.

Convulsions : An intense, paroxysmal, involuntary muscular contraction.

Crate : Portable container used for shipping, transporting, or housing animals.

Crepuscular or Nocturnal : Becoming active at twilight or before sunrise, as do bats and certain insects and birds.

Crossbred : A cat whose sire and dam are representatives of two different breeds.

Cryptorchid : The adult whose testicles are abnormally retained in the abdominal cavity. Bilateral cryptorchidism involves both sides; i.e., neither testicle has descended into the scrotum. Unilateral cryptorchidism (also called monorchid) involves one side only; i.e., one testicle is retained or hidden, and one is descended.

Dam : The female parent.

Dander : Small scales from the skin, hair, or feathers of an animal, often causing an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

Declawing : A surgical procedure to permanently remove the claws.

Dehydration : Excessive loss of water from the body or from an organ or body part, as from illness or fluid deprivation.

Dermatitis : Inflammation of the skin.

Desex : To fix or alter as by neutering or spaying.

DNA : A unique genetic makeup.

Domesticated : A term used to describe an animal that has been tamed or reclaimed from a wild state.

Domestic Longhair (DLH) : A longhair cat of mixed or unknown parentage.

Domestic Mediumhair (DMH) : A semi-longhair cat of mixed or unknown parentage.

Domestic Shorthair (DSH) : A shorthair cat of mixed or unknown parentage.

Down (Wool) Hairs : The secondary hairs that are short, soft and crimped.

Ear Mites : Microscopic insects that survive by feeding on the lining of the ear canal.

Elizabethan Collar : A type of hood in the shape of a cone which is worn around the neck to keep animals from irritating an injury.

Endogenous : Originating or produced within an organism, tissue, or cell : endogenous secretions.

Entire : A cat whose reproductive system is complete or has not been altered.

Epidemiology : The branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations.

Euthanasia : The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment.

Ex-Feral : A once feral cat that has been tamed to live as a pet.

Exhibitor : A person who shows cats.

Exogenous : Having a cause external to the body. Used of diseases.

Exotic Cat : A breed of cat that was created by crossbreeding Persian cats and British Shorthair cats. Characterized by the short legs and flattened muzzle of a Persian, and the sturdy body of a Shorthair.

External Parasite : Organisms that affect the outside areas of the body, such as ticks and mites.

Fat : Any of various soft, solid, or semisolid organic compounds constituting the esters of glycerol and fatty acids and their associated organic groups.

FCV : Acronym for Feline Calcivirus, a virus that causes upper respiratory disease

Feline : Of or belonging to the family Felidae, which includes the lions, tigers, jaguars, and wild and domestic cats; felid.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus : A virus which invades a cat's DNA and ultimately causes dysfunction of the immune system.

Feline Leukemia Virus : A group of diseases commonly causing cancer and death.

Feral : Having returned to an untamed state from domestication.

Feral-Domestic Hybrid : A hybrid between a wild cat species and a domestic cat.

Fetus : The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.

FIA : Acronym for Feline Infectious Anemia

FIE : Acronym for Feline Infectious Enteritis, also known as panleukopaenia

Fillers : Meant to increase volume, chemicals and other indigestible material that are added to pet food.

FIP : Acronym for feline infectious peritonitis, a highly contagious, often difficult to diagnose disease associated with the feline coronavirus.

FIV : Acronym for feline immunodeficiency virus, a disease usually transmitted by saliva to blood (deep biting wounds).

Flehmening/Flehmen Reaction : The facial gesture similar to a grimace that a cat makes when it draws air over and stimulates the Jacobsen's Organ in the mouth.

FLUTD : Acronym for feline lower urinary tract disease, a blanket term referring to a number of conditions in the lower urinary tract such as infection and bladder stones.

Follicle : A crypt or minute cul-de-sac or lacuna, such as the depression in the skin from which the hair emerges.

FPL : Acronym for Feline Panleukopaenia

Fracture : A break, rupture, or crack, especially in bone or cartilage.

Free-Feed : A process allowing a cat open access throughout the day to a food bowl.

Frost Point : Term referring to lilac (lavender) point.

Full Tom : An unneutered male cat.

Fungicide : A chemical substance that destroys or inhibits the growth of fungi.

Fungus : A primitive form of plant life that can be parasitic.

FUS : Acronym for Feline Urological Syndrome..

FVR : Acronym for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, a serious cause of feline respiratory diseases.

Gastric : Of, relating to, or associated with the stomach.

Gastritis : Chronic or acute inflammation of the stomach, especially of the mucous membrane of the stomach.

Genealogy : Recorded family descent. Pedigree.

Gene pool : The collective genetic information contained within a population of sexually reproducing organisms.

Genes : A hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic in an organism. Genes undergo mutation when their DNA sequence changes.

Genetic : Inherited.

Genetically Linked Defects : Problems with health or temperament that are passed to offspring by their ancestors.

Genetics : The science of heredity.

Genotype : The genetic makeup, as distinguished from the physical appearance, of an organism or a group of organisms.

Genus : A taxonomic category ranking below a family and above a species and generally consisting of a group of species exhibiting similar characteristics. In taxonomic nomenclature the genus name is used, either alone or followed by a Latin adjective or epithet, to form the name of a species.

Geriatric : Of or relating to the aged or to characteristics of the aging process.

Ghost Markings : As seen in some self or solid colored cats, particularly when young, these are faint tabby markings.

Gib : A neutered male cat.

Gland : A cell, a group of cells, or an organ that produces a secretion for use elsewhere in the body or in a body cavity or for elimination from the body.

Glaucoma : Any of a group of eye diseases characterized by abnormally high intraocular fluid pressure, damaged optic disk, hardening of the eyeball, and partial to complete loss of vision.

Granuloma : A mass of inflamed granulation tissue, usually associated with ulcerated infections.

Groom : To brush, comb, trim, or otherwise make a cat's coat neat.

Guard Hair : The long, coarse hairs which form the outer coat.

Habit : A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.

Half-Pedigree : A term referring to a cat with one pedigree parent. In the strictest terms, however, a half-pedigree is still considered a mixed breed.

Hand-Feed : The process of feeding a cat periodically throughout the day and for a limited time.

Haw : A nictitating membrane, especially of a domesticated animal.

Heartworm : A filarial worm (Dirofilaria immitis) transmitted by mosquitoes and parasitic in the heart and associated blood vessels of dogs and other canids.

Heat : Seasonal period of the female. Estrus, in season.

Hemorrhage : Excessive discharge of blood from the blood vessels; profuse bleeding.

Hepatic Lipidosis : A disease of the liver which can be fatal. Most commonly found in obese cats that are anorexic and have rapidly lost weight.

Hepatitis : Inflammation of the liver, caused by infectious or toxic agents and characterized by jaundice, fever, liver enlargement, and abdominal pain.

Hereditary : Transmitted or capable of being transmitted genetically from parent to offspring : a hereditary disease.

Herpes Virus : A highly contagious viral disease causing upper respiratory disease (URIs) in cats.

Hip Dysplasia : Abnormal formation of the hip joint. Although long recognized in dogs, hip dysplasia has only recently been studied in cats, and certain breeds may be more prone to the condition.

Histamine : A physiologically active amine, C5H9N3, found in plant and animal tissue and released from mast cells as part of an allergic reaction in humans. It stimulates gastric secretion and causes dilation of capillaries, constriction of bronchial smooth muscle, and decreased blood pressure.

Hock : Term for the ankle of a cat's hind leg.

Holistic : An alternative form of veterinary care which, rather than focusing on a singular disease, takes into account the whole of the patient.

HomeAgain : Brand name for microchips sold by Schering Plough to veterinarians for permanent identification of companion animals.

Homeopathic : A system of veterinary practice that treats a disease by the administration of very minute doses of a remedy that in a healthy animal would produce the symptoms of the disease that is being treated.

Honey Mink : Term referring to the intermediate brown color of Tonkinese, corresponding to chocolate.

Hookworm : Any of numerous small parasitic nematode worms of the family Ancylostomatidae, having hooked mouthparts with which they fasten themselves to the intestinal walls of various hosts, including humans, causing ancylostomiasis. Also called uncinaria.

Hormone : A substance, usually a peptide or steroid, produced by one tissue and conveyed by the bloodstream to another to effect physiological activity, such as growth or metabolism.

Host : The animal on which a parasite lives .

Household Pet : In cat show terms, a cat not registered for breeding or exhibition.

Housetraining : The process of training a pet to live cleanly in a house. For cats, litter box training.

Humane Societies : Groups that aims to stop animal and human suffering due to cruelty or other reasons.

Hybrid : A cat resulting from the crossbreeding of two different breeds of cats.

Hyperglycemia : The presence of an abnormally high concentration of glucose in the blood.

Hypoglycemia : An abnormally low level of glucose in the blood.

Hysterectomy : Surgical removal of part or all of the uterus.

ICF : Acronym for Independent Cat Federation.

Icteric : Affected by jaundice which causes yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, often caused by liver failure.

Idiopathic : Of, relating to, or designating a disease having no known cause.

Immune Response : The body's reaction to infection.

Immunization : To produce immunity in, as by inoculation.

Innate : Possessed at birth; inborn

Inbreeding : The mating of two closely related cats of the same breed.

Incontinence : The inability to control excretory functions.

Infertile : Not fertile; unproductive or barren.

Inflammation : A localized protective reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection, characterized by pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes loss of function.

Inherent : Existing as an essential constituent or characteristic; intrinsic.

Inherited : To receive (a characteristic) from one's parents by genetic transmission.

Injection : Something that is injected, especially a dose of liquid medicine injected into the body.

Instinct : An inborn pattern of behavior that is characteristic of a species and is often a response to specific environmental stimuli : the spawning instinct in salmon; altruistic instincts in social animals.

Intact : Unneutered, unspayed, unaltered.

Internal Parasites : One celled protozoan, larvae and worms that survive by living off the host animal's meals or blood.

Jacobsen's Organ - Vomeronasal Organ: A sense organ located in a cat's mouth that functions somewhere between smell and taste.

Jowls : Flesh of the lips and jaws.

Kennel Cough : Tracheobronchitis of dogs or cats.

Killed Virus Vaccine (KV) : A vaccine containing dead viruses which cannot multiply when administered in an animal, but can stimulate an immune response to prevent future infection by the virus.

Kindle : Term for a group of kittens.

Kink : A bump, bend, twist or curl in the tail bone.

Kitten : A young cat, typically below the age of 6 months.

Korat Cat : A shorthair cat with a small to medium build appearing sleek and muscular.

Laces : Term for the white markings on the legs.

Lactation : Secretion or formation of milk by the mammary glands.

Lactating : To secrete or produce milk.

Laryngitis : Inflammation of the larynx.

Lavender : A pale, pinkish-gray color to the coat. Lilac

Leukemia : Any of various acute or chronic neoplastic diseases of the bone marrow in which unrestrained proliferation of white blood cells occurs, usually accompanied by anemia, impaired blood clotting, and enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen.

Lilac : A pale, pinkish-gray color to the coat. Lavender

Line Breeding : The practice of mating a cat to a member of an earlier generation of the cat's bloodline.

Liquid Parafin : Also known as mineral oil, a mild laxative.

Lithe : A term referring to a cat body type that is narrow, lean and small-boned.

Litter : The offspring produced at one birth. For cats, litter sizes average three or four, though some litters can contain six to ten kittens.

Litter Box : A container filled with kitty litter and serving as a sanitary place for cats to eliminate.

Locket : A term referring to the solid white marking on the neck.

Longhair : A cat with relatively long fur. Though the length of the fur can vary, all longhairs have long fur on the tail, known as a plume or brush, and they usually have long fur around the neck, known as a ruff.

Lordosis : Behavior of a female cat in heat, position where she lies with her front paws down and her rear end in the air.

Lynx Point : Another name for Tabby point.

Mackerel : A term referring to a type of tabby pattern in which the colors of the coat appear striped.

Mask : A term referring to the darker shadings on the face as seen in Siamese and Himalayans.

Maternal Immunity : A form of temporary immunity passed from a mother to her offspring while in the uterus and after birth in the colostrum and milk.

Microchip : A rice-sized device encoded with a unique and unalterable number. The chip is implanted just under the skin in the scruff of the neck and is read by a scanner.

Mites : Any of various small or minute arachnids of the order Acarina that are often parasitic on animals and plants, infest stored food products, and in some species transmit disease.

Mixed Breed : A cat of mixed or unknown parentage.

Moggy : British term for mixed breed.

Molt : Period shedding of part or all of the coat.

Monorchid : A cat that has one testicle retained or hidden in its abdominal cavity.

Muzzle : The forward, projecting part of the head of certain animals, such as cats, including the mouth, nose, and jaws; the snout.

Nebelung Cat : A longhaired cat bred to resemble the Russian Blue cat except with a long coat.

Necklace : A term referring to the bandings of color across the lower neck and chest area which give the appearance of a necklace.

Neuter : Castration of a male cat.

Nictitating Membrane : A transparent inner eyelid in birds, reptiles, and some mammals that closes to protect and moisten the eye. Also called third eyelid.

Nocturnal : Of, relating to, or occurring in the night.

Obesity : The condition of being obese; increased body weight caused by excessive accumulation of fat.

Odd-Eyed : Eyes of different color, such as one brown eye and one blue eye.

Oestrus : The periodic state of sexual excitement in the female of most mammals, excluding humans, that immediately precedes ovulation and during which the female is most receptive to mating; heat. Also known as estrus.

Olfactory : Of, relating to, or contributing to the sense of smell.

Olfactory Mucosa : The region of the nose that is responsible for the detection of smells.

Omnivore : A person or animal that feeds on both animal and vegetable substances

Onychectomy : The medical term for declawing, the surgical removal of a cat's claws.

Ophthalmic : Of or relating to the eye; ocular.

Otitis Media : Infection of the middle ear.

Outbreeding : The process of mating unrelated individuals in order to improve vigor or type.

Outcrossing : The mating of unrelated individuals of the same breed.

Ovariohysterectomy : The surgical removal of one or both ovaries and the uterus. Also called oophorohysterectomy.

Ovulate : To produce ova; discharge eggs from the ovary.

Panleukopaenia : A viral infection that attacks the bones and intestinal walls, also known as Feline Infectious Enteritis (FIE)

Papers : A cat's pedigree and registration slip.

Papillae : Tiny, finger-like hooks found on a cat's tongue and lining the gut.

Paralysis : Loss or impairment of the ability to move a body part, usually as a result of damage to its nerve supply.

Parasite : An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

Parti-Color : A coat of two or more distinct colors.

Pathogen : An agent that causes disease, especially a living microorganism such as a bacterium or fungus.

Pedigree : The written record of a cat's genealogy, often of three generations or more.

Pedigreed Cat : A cat with a pedigree.

Pet Quality : A cat who does not meet the breed standard closely enough to be considered valuable to a breeding program.

Pheromones : A chemical secreted by an animal that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species, often functioning as an attractant of the opposite sex.

Piebald : Covered with patches of two colors, typically black and white.

Pigment : A substance, such as chlorophyll or melanin, that produces a characteristic color in plant or animal tissue.

Pinking Up : In a pregnant female, the changing of the color of the nipples to pink, typically occurring in cat's about three weeks after successful mating.

Pinna : The ear flap.

Platinum : A term referring to the lilac or lavender color in Burmese.

Pneumonia : An acute or chronic disease marked by inflammation of the lungs and caused by viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms and sometimes by physical and chemical irritants.

Pointed : A coat pattern characterized by a solid body color with darker coloring on the face, ears, legs and tail.

Points : The extremes of a cat's body, including the mask, ears, legs and tail.

Polytocous : Producing many offspring in a single birth.

Praise : Positive reinforcement.

Pre-Disposition : A condition of special susceptibility, as to a disease.

Pregnant : Carrying developing offspring within the body.

Prepotent : A cat with a strong genetic influence resulting in offspring that consistently resemble the parent.

Pricked : Term describing ears which are held apart.

Primary Hairs : The outer coat of a cat, also known as guard hairs.

Progesterone : A steroid hormone, secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary and by the placenta, that acts to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilized ovum, to maintain pregnancy, and to promote development of the mammary glands.

Puberty : The stage of adolescence in which an individual becomes physiologically capable of sexual reproduction, typically occurring between the ages of 6 and 12 months in cats.

Purebred : A cat whose sire and dam belong to the same breed and who are themselves of unmixed descent since recognition of the breed.

Pyometra : An accumulation of pus in the uterine cavity.

Queen : A whole, unspayed female cat.

Quick : The vein running through a cat's claw.

Rabies : An acute, infectious, often fatal viral disease of most warm-blooded animals, especially wolves, cats, and dogs, that attacks the central nervous system and is transmitted by the bite of infected animals.

Rangy : A term used to describe a cat with long, slender legs.

Recognition : The official acceptance of a breed for show under the rules of a particular cat fancy organization.

Red : A coat color. Also known as orange, ginger or marmalade.

Registered Cat : A cat with ancestry documented and recorded by a cat registering association.

Registered Name : The official name -- often quite long -- of a registered cat.

Registration : A recording of a cat's birth, ancestry and other particulars with an official organization.

Renal : Of, relating to, or in the region of the kidneys.

Reward : Anything positive, such as treats or praise, that can be used as a motivating factor to induce desired behavior.

Rhinotracheitis : a disease of the upper respiratory system in cats and especially young kittens that is characterized by sneezing, conjunctivitis with discharge, and nasal discharges

Righting Reflex : The cat's ability to correctly orient the body when falling.

Roman : A term used to describe a nose with a high, prominent bridge. Often seen in Siamese.

Roundworm : A parasitic worm of the class Nematoda capable of causing illness.

Ruff : Thick, longer hair growing around the neck and chest.

Sable : A term referring to the color black, the darkest coat color in Burmese.

Scratching Post : A tower-like structure typically covered in burlap allowing cats to safely scratch or rub their nails.

Seal : A term referring to the dark brown color found at the point of the darkest variety of Siamese.

Secondary Coat : The fine hairs which make up the undercoat.

Self : Also known as solid, a term used to describe a coat of a single, uniform color.

Semi-Feral : A cat which, though not domesticated, still lives near and is accustomed to humans, such as barn cats.

Semi-Longhair : A type of longhair cat without an extremely long coat, such as the Maine Coon.

Senile Cataracts : Occurring in elderly animals, a lens opacity in the eye that does not interfere with vision.

Shaded : A term referring to the coloring pattern in which the tips of the hairs are colored.

Shading : A term referring to a gradual variation in coat color, typically from back to belly

Shelter : A local organization dedicated to the rescue and care of stray or otherwise homeless animals and also seeks to find them permanent homes.

Shock : A generally temporary massive physiological reaction to severe physical or emotional trauma, usually characterized by marked loss of blood pressure and depression of vital processes.

Shorthair : A term used to describe a cat with a fairly short coat.

Show : An exhibition of cats in which judges evaluate and award prized to cats according to their conformance to breed standards.

Show Cat : A cat exhibited in a show.

Show Quality : A cat that can compete in shows because it meets its breed standards.

Show Standard : Also known as standard of point, a term referring to the description of the ideal cat of a particular breed against which actual cats are judged.

Silver : A term describing shaded silver and silver tabby, both tipped colorings.

Sire : The male parent.

Smoke : A term describing a coat color in which most of the hairs are colored with the roots being white or pale.

Solid : Also known as self, a term referring to a coat of a single color.

Spay : To remove a female cat's ovaries to prevent conception.

Species : A fundamental category of taxonomic classification, ranking below a genus or subgenus and consisting of related organisms capable of interbreeding.

Sperm : A male gamete or reproductive cell; a spermatozoon, semen.

Speuter : A blending of spay and neuter.

Spotted : A term describing a coat pattern with many dark, rounded spots, especially at the rear of the body.

Spotting : A term referring to the white patches on the coat.

Spray : Behavior of a cat (typically male) who emits a stream or spray of urine to mark its territory.

Steatitis : An inflammation of fatty tissue. In cats, often caused by a vitamin E deficiency and causing a sensitivity to touch, fever and poor appetite.

Sterilize : To make sterile or unproductive; spay or neuter.

Stereoscopic Vision : Three-dimensional vision produced by the fusion of two slightly different views of a scene on each retina.

Sterilization : The act or procedure of sterilizing.

Sterling Cat : A silver, longhaired chinchilla cat, similar to a Persian cat but without the squashed face.

Stifle : The proper name for the knee of a cat's hind leg.

Stimulus : An agent, action, or condition that elicits or accelerates a physiological or psychological activity or response.

Stop : A term referring to an abrupt change in the slope of the nose profile as seen in Persian breeds.

Stray : A domestic cat with no home or owner.

Stud : A whole, unneutered male cat (tom) used as part of a breeding program.

Subcutaneous : Located or placed just beneath the skin.

Svelte : A term referring to cat's body type that is fine boned and narrow in shape.

Tabby : A term referring to a coat pattern that consists of two or more colors in a striped pattern.

Tabby Tortoiseshell : A term referring to a tortoiseshell coat that has tabby black patching.

Tapetum Lucidum : The highly reflective portion of the interior of the cat's eyeball that aids in night vision.

Tapeworm : Any of various ribbonlike, often very long flatworms of the class Cestoda, that lack an alimentary canal and are parasitic in the intestines of vertebrates, including humans.

Taurine : An essential nutritional substance for cats which can help prevent blindness and certain types of heart disease.

TICA : Acronym for The Independent Cat Association.

Ticked : A term referring to a coat pattern that consists of banded hairs.

Ticking : As seen on the Abyssinian, a term referring to a coat with black flecks.

Tipped : A term referring to the colored ends of the hairs.

Tom : An unneutered, whole male cat.

Tortoiseshell : A term referring to a coat pattern that is generally a mosaic blend of black and orange.

Toxin : A poisonous substance, especially a protein, that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues but is often also capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies or antitoxins.

Toxoplasmosis : An infection caused by parasites transmitted to humans from infected cats; if contracted by a pregnant woman it can result in serious damage to the fetus

Trait : A genetically determined characteristic or condition.

Tubal Ligation : A method of female sterilization in which the fallopian tubes are surgically tied.

Tumor : An abnormal growth of tissue resulting from uncontrolled, progressive multiplication of cells and serving no physiological function; a neoplasm.

Ulcer : A lesion of the skin or a mucous membrane such as the one lining the stomach or duodenum that is accompanied by formation of pus and necrosis of surrounding tissue, usually resulting from inflammation or ischemia.

Unaltered : Term referring to a male or female cat who has not been neutered or spayed and has full reproductive abilities.

Undercoat : The layer of the coat comprised of down hairs.

Undercolor : A term referring to the color of the hair closest to the skin.

Vaccine : A preparation of a weakened or killed pathogen, such as a bacterium or virus, or of a portion of the pathogen's structure that upon administration stimulates antibody production or cellular immunity against the pathogen but is incapable of causing severe infection.

Valerian : A plant of the genus Valeriana, especially V. officinalis, native to Eurasia and widely cultivated for its small, fragrant, white to pink or lavender flowers and for use in medicine. The scent is attractive to cats.

Van Pattern : A term used to describe a bicolor coat consisting of a mostly white body with color restricted to the extremities (head, tail, etc.)

Vascular : Of, characterized by, or containing vessels that carry or circulate fluids, such as blood, lymph, or sap, through the body of an animal or plant.

Vasectomy : Surgical removal of all or part of the male's vas deferens, usually as a means of sterilization.

Vertebral Column : Spinal column.

Vestibular Apparatus : An organ located in the cat's inner ear which allows cats to land on their feet if they fall.

Veterinarian : One skilled in the diseases of cattle or domestic animals; a veterinary surgeon.

Vibrissae : Any of the long stiff hairs that project from the snout or brow of most mammals, as the whiskers of a cat.

Viral Epidemic : A widespread, infectious disease spread by an organism which reproduces within the body.

Virus : Any of various simple submicroscopic parasites of plants, animals, and bacteria that often cause disease and that consist essentially of a core of RNA or DNA surrounded by a protein coat. Unable to replicate without a host cell, viruses are typically not considered living organisms.

Wean : The process of making a kitten eat solid food instead of its mother's milk; to accustom the young of a mammal to take nourishment other than by suckling.

Whisker Break : A term referring to an indentation in the upper jaw.

Whisker Pad : A term referring to the thickened or fatty pads around the whisker area.

Whole : Not neutered or spayed.

Wild Type : The typical form of an organism, strain, gene, or characteristic as it occurs in nature, as distinguished from mutant forms that may result from selective breeding. For cats, this is the shorthaired brown-striped tabby.

White Spotting : A term referring to a coat pattern of random patches of white on a colored coat which vary from small spots to large areas.

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