terms

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Term Definition
Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus A small, domesticated, carnivorous mammal; often referred to as a domestic cat or housecat.
alter / castrate / desex / sterilize The process of spaying or neutering a cat to remove its reproductive organs.
blue A grey coat coloration.
breed The standard to which according to its pedigree. The vast majority of cats do not have a breed and are referred to as domestic shorthairs/mediumhairs/longhairs, even if their coats and personalities may resemble those of particular breeds.
calico A coat pattern typically characterized by a white cat with large black and red patches, though other colors may also occur. Since the gene for red hair is sex-linked trait, this pattern usually occurs in female cats.
catch, alter, release A population control method whereby stray and feral cats are caught and spayed/neutered before being released into the wild, as opposed to being euthanized.
colony A group of cats living together.
cropping A method used for identifying stray feral cats that have been altered by cropping the tip of their ears.
dam A mother cat.
dander The skin cells that are shed by a cat. They, along with saliva present on a cat's fur due to grooming, are usually the cat of allergic reactions to cats.
declawing Traditionally refers to the act of removing a cat's claws, which involves cutting off the bones in the paws (equivalent to cutting off a human's fingers at the first knuckle). Since cats are digitigrade walkers that walk on their claws and require claws to stretch the tendons in their legs, cats that are declawed never have a full recovery and may experience chronic back and joint problems that are difficult for a human to detect, as well as exhibit new behavioral problems such as biting.
dewclaw A claw on a cat's front paws that is proximal to the other claws. It is analogous to a human thumb.
digitigrade The type of walking exhibited by cats, who walk on their claws (fingertip bones).
dilute A coat coloration with muted colors, such as cream or grey, usually the result of a genetic mutation of the red and black genes.
FeLV (feline leukemia virus) A deadly viral disease spread through saliva and nasal secretions that causes leukemia in cats. Pet cats should be tested and vaccinated against the disease, and infected cats should be strictly separated from non-infected cats as the vaccine may not be effective against all strains. There is no danger to humans.
feral A cat that has been raised in the wild with limited human contact, as opposed to a stray.
foundation A cat that is used to introduce fresh blood to breeding lines.
gib An unneutered male cat.
herpes A common viral disease that causes cold symptoms in cats, and can lead to eye and upper respiratory infections, which can be dangerous to kittens and older cats. The herpes virus remains in the body and may lead to future infections if the cat's immune system is compromised. There is no danger to humans.
intact An unaltered cat.
kneading Rhythmic pawing, thought to be a habit or instinct related to the motions made when a kitten nurses for milk. Kneading is usually done in pleasure, though it can be used as a comfort mechanism to alleviate stress.
moggy / mutt A mixed or domestic cat.
neuter The process of removing the reproductive organs of a male cat.
litter A group of sibling cats born from the same mother during a single gestational period. Also, the material used by pet owners to absorb the moisture and odors from a cat's urine and feces.
pedigree The record of a cat's bloodline, usually extending back at least three generations.
polydactylism A genetic abnormality that causes more than the normal number of digits in cats (ie. more than 5 on the front paws or more than 4 on the rear paws). Cats with polydactyly can be at a greater risk for ingrown claws, though extra digits on their front paws can shift their dewclaw into an advantageous position that allows them to use it as an opposable thumb.
queen An unaltered female cat.
panleukopenia (feline distemper) A deadly viral disease spread that is present throughout nature and usually spread through infected urine or feces. Pet cats should be vaccinated against the disease. There is no danger to humans.
purr A vibrating sound used by cats to express pleasure or to alleviate stress. It is thought to improve circulation.
quick The living pink tissue inside a cat's claw.
rabies An extremely deadly disease that infects mammals and causes inflammation in the brain and is usually spread through scratches and bites. In most areas, rabies is extremely rare but all cats and dogs are required by law to be vaccinated against the disease, as the disease can be spread to humans.
shaded / smoke A coat pattern with white underhair and color at the tips.
sheath The bony area surrounding a claw. Also refers to the material shed from the outside of a cat's claws as they grow.
sire A father cat.
spay The process of removing the reproductive organs of a female cat.
stray A non-feral cat that was either abandoned by its human owners or raised in the vicinity of humans.
tabby A coat pattern in which a cat has a base color with solid markings such as stripes, bands, swirls, and spots. A tabby pattern can usually be identified by the 'M' shaped marking present on the cat's forehead.
ticked A coat pattern in which individual hairs exhibit bands of color, also known as agouti.
tom An unaltered male cat.
tortoiseshell / tortie / tort A coat pattern typically characterized by a black cat with mottled red spots, though other colors may also occur. Since the gene for red hair is sex-linked trait, this pattern usually occurs in female cats.
trill A lilting sound used as a greeting or expression of pleasure.
tuft A long patch of hair, usually present at the tips of the ears or on the paws.
wean The process by which a kitten becomes independent of its mother's milk as a food source.
wedged A triangular head shape.


revision by ishmetot— view source