A to Z glossary of common feline terms.


Abdominal palpation – Examination of the abdomen by hands and fingers.

Abiotic – Not living; not biotic.

Ablation – Removal.

Abscess – A puss-filled cavity.

Abundism –  A cat (animal) that has markings that are more prolific than normal.

Aby – Abyssinian cat.

Acariasis – Mite infection.

Accicat – Alternative name for Ocicat.

ACF – Australian Cat Federation.

Active – A cat that can be bred from as shown on the active register with the cat’s registering body.

Active immunity –An immune state achieved by self-production of antibodies, compared with passive immunity.

Acute hepatic necrosis – Death of liver cells.

Adaptation – The hereditable traits of a cat (organisms) that benefit or improve its chance of surviving and reproducing within its environment.

Additive effects of genes  – The result of gene action where the effects on a genetic trait are enhanced by each additional gene.

Additive genetic value  – The genetic value of a cat (organism) within a breeding program.

Additive genetic variance – Genetic variation associated with the average effects of substituting one allele for another.

Adenocarcinoma – Malignant tumor of the glandular tissue.

Adenoma – Benign tumor of the glandular tissue.

ADR – Adverse drug reaction.

Adventitious Sounds – Abnormal sounds heard on auscultation (listening) of the lungs.

Adverse Effect– Any unintended, undesired side effect of a drug.

Acidophile – An organism that grows best in acidic conditions.

Aerobe – Organism that grows in the presence of oxygen, may be facultative, obligative or microaerobic.

Affix – A cattery name used at the end of the cat’s registered name. The cattery owner but not the breeder of the cat.

Agouti – The natural coloring between a tabby’s stripes.

Ailurophile –A person who loves cats.

Ailurophobe – A person that hates cats.

Adjuvant – The adjuvant is a substance sometimes used in killed vaccinations. The adjuvant helps to keep the killed virus in the body for a longer period and therefore stimulate a better immune reaction. It is believed that the adjuvant is the reason vaccine-induced sarcomas are becoming more prevalent.

Agglutination – reaction between antibody and particle-bound antigen resulting in clumping of the particles.

Agonist – A drug that binds with a receptor to exert an effect.

Albino – A mutation in animals with little to no pigmentation in the eyes, coat and skin. The eyes are often pink or red. This is caused by the blood in the translucent eye structures. The Siamese is an incomplete albino.

Alkaliphile – Is an organism that grows best in alkaline conditions.

All-breed – Refers to either a show that contains all breeds or a judge that is qualified to judge all breeds of cats.

All Breeds Club – A club that caters for all breeds of cats.

Allele – One of many alternate forms of a gene occupying the same locus on a chromosome.

Allelism – A Shortening of the term allelomorphism, one of the two or more forms of a gene arising by mutation and occupying the same locus on homologous chromosomes.

Allele-specific suppressor – A secondary mutation that repairs the mutant phenotype/trait but only in cats (organisms) with the primary mutation.

Allele frequency  – A measure of the commonness of an allele in a population of alleles.

Allele shift – A modification of allele frequency in a breed/population due to either natural or artificial selection.

Alley cat – A non-pedigree cat.

Allogene  – A recessive allele.

Allogeneic – Two genetically dissimilar individuals of the same species. Like any two cats or any two human beings, other than monozygotic twins (identical twins).

Allelomorph– A term that is commonly shortened to allele.

Allelotype– The genetic composition of a breeding population.

Allophonic – Chimeric. i.e., made up of cells of two different genotypes, as in a Chimeric gene, Chimeric, virus, Chimeric DNA, etc.

Allozygous – Homozygous for a gene but the homologous genes are not identical by descent.  (each allele has descended from different ancestors)

Allergen – A substance that can produce an allergic reaction.

Allergy – A harmful immune reaction, usually caused by a foreign antibody in food, pollen or chemicals.

Algerian Cat – Old term for an Abyssinian cat.

Alopecia -   The absence or loss of hair.

Alpaca Cat – Alternative name for La Perm.

ALT – A test that measures the amount of Alanine Transaminase (ALT)  in serum.  The test is to determine if a cat has liver damage.  It is also known as serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase – SGPT.

Altruism – A type of behavior in which a cat (organism) risks lowering its well-being (fitness) for the benefit of another.

Alter – Also known as spayed or neutered.

Amelia – Congenital absence of a limb.

Amino acid – The basic building blocks of protein (Polypeptide). Each protein consists of a specific sequence of amino acids. There are 20 types of amino molecules that can make up proteins.

Anabolism – the biochemical processes involved in the synthesis of cell constituents from simpler molecules, usually requiring energy.

Anagenesis – Evolutionary process where one species evolves into another without any splitting of the phylogenetic tree.

Analgesic – Drug which causes pain relief without producing anesthesia.

Anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock) – A violent allergic reaction caused by an antigen-antibody reaction.

Anaerobe – An organism that grows in the absence of oxygen.

Anesthetic – A drug that reversibly depresses neuronal function, thereby producing pain relief.

Androgen – Any male sex hormone, produced in the testes.

Anemia– A blood disorder caused by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells).

Anencephaly – A condition where the brain fails to develop and may be only partially present or completely absent.

Anestrus – The period between estrus in the female.

Aneuploidy – The state of having too many or too few chromosomes.

Angio – Blood vessel or pertaining to blood vessels.

Angioplasty – Reconstruction of a blood vessel.

Anisogamy – Sexual reproduction where one sex produces sex cells much larger (egg) than those of the other (sperm). As seen in cats and humans.

Anophthalmia – The absence of the eye or eyes.

Anorexia – an eating disorder causing loss of weight.

Antagonist – A drug that binds with a receptor but does not exert an effect and can stop an agonist from binding to the same receptor, can bind reversibly or irreversibly.

Antibiotic – A chemical agent produced by one organism that is harmful to other organisms.

Antibiotic resistance – The acquired ability of a microorganism to grow in the presence of an antibiotic to which the microorganism is usually sensitive.

Antibody – Specialized protein produced by the immune system in reaction to the presence of a foreign substance such as bacteria, viruses etc.

Anticoagulant– A substance that prevents coagulation of blood or blood products.

Anti-inflammatory – Causing a reduction of inflammation by acting on body responses, without removing the causative agent.

Antimicrobial agent – A chemical that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

Any other variety (AOV) – A registered cat which does not conform to the breed’s standard i.e. the color of the cat is not accepted in the breed standard.

Anurous – A cat having no tail.

Aortic – Referring to the aorta or aortic valve of the heart.

Aperture – Eye-opening.

Aplastic anemia– A type of anemia caused by the failure of the bone marrow to produce sufficient blood cells (red cells, white cells, and platelets).

Apnea – Cessation of breathing.

Archangel – Archaic name for a Russian Blue cat.

ASH – is an American Shorthair cat.

Asian – A cat of Burmese type, but without Burmese markings, coloration or coat length. e.g. Burmilla, Mandalay, etc.

Aspiration – The inhalation of a foreign object.

Assortative mating – The matin of cats (individuals) with similar phenotypes.

Asthenia -Weakness.

Asymptomatic – Without noticeable symptoms.

Ataxia – Shaky movements, unsteadiness or staggering; Lack of voluntary muscle coordination.

Atelectasis – The collapse of a lung.

Atrophy – A decrease in the size or wasting of an organ or tissue.

Auscultation – Listening to sounds within the body; either by unaided ear or with a stethoscope.

Autoclave – A sterilizer that destroys microorganisms by high temperature using steam under pressure.

Autosomal gene – A gene present on the autosomes, as opposed to those on the sex chromosomes (X and Y).

Autosomal Set – The non-sex chromosomes consisting of one from each homologous pair.

Autozygous – Homozygous for a gene and the homologous genes are identical by descent (both alleles have descended from a single allele in an ancestor).

Avulsion – Tearing away or forcible separation.

Avuncular relationship – The genetic relationship between nephews and nieces and their aunts and uncles.

Awn hair – The awn hairs form the middle coat. They act to keep protect the down hairs and also insulate the cat.

Back cross – Mating back to the parent. Symbolized as BC.

Bacteria – Single-celled life form. Most well known for their ability to cause disease, however not all bacteria are harmful or dangerous. In fact, some bacteria are helpful to life on earth. They break down waste products and assist in keeping the fauna at check in the body.

Bacteriocide – Capable of killing bacteria.

Bacteriolytic – Capable of lysing bacteria, always bacteriocidal.

Bacteriophage – A virus whose host is a bacterium, commonly called phage.

Bacteriostatic – Capable of inhibiting bacterial growth.

BAL – Balinese.

Balance – Referring to a cat that’s structure is proportional according to the breed standard.

Barr body – The condensed single X-chromosome seen in the nuclei of somatic cells of female mammals. Base pair a pair of hydrogen-bonded nitrogenous bases (one purine and one pyrimidine) that join the component strands of the DNA double helix.

Barring – Tabby striped markings.

Base color – The coat color. This may be masked by the effects of the sex-linked gene.

BC generation – Back Cross generation., the result of back-crossing.

BEN – Bengal.

Benign – Non-cancerous.

Bennie – Affectionate nickname for Bengal cats.

Benching – The area where the cat’s cage is placed when it’s not being judged at a show.

Biochemical genetics – The study of the relationship between enzymes and genes.

Bicolor –  A patched color and white cat.

Biological species concept – The classification of organisms in the same species if they are plausibly able of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring.

Biota – The plant and animal life in a region.

Biomass – The amount of living matter present in a particular habitat.

Biotic – Living; Relating to life; caused or influenced by living organisms.

Bilirubin– A yellow-orange substance produced by the breakdown of hemoglobin from red blood cells.

Biotechnology – Biological research techniques to develop products which improve the health of animals, humans and agriculture.

Bite – A term for the way a cat’s jaws meet. The teeth should close together evenly when the bit is said to be a “level” or “even” bite.

Black – A cat that has a black color coat; The highly melanistic coat color in cats that is the darkest of all coat colorations. In color points, it is called “Seal”, in some tabbies, sepia and mink cats it may be referred to as “Brown”, in other Sepia and mink cats it may be called “natural”.

Blasts – Immature blood cells.

Blaze – White coloring on the face usually in the shape of an inverted V.

Blep –  Also called blepping or tipping is a cat pokes the tip of its tongue out.

Blood– A liquid substance that continually circulates through the body, which is made up of plasma, red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets; blood The most important function of blood is to transport oxygen to the body via hemoglobin (in the red blood cells).  Blood also circulates away waste matter and carbon dioxide and brings nourishment, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins, antibodies, and heat. Cats have 3 blood Type.  See Blood types.

Bloodline – Pedigree of a cat. The feline equivalent of a family tree.

Blood serum – The pale yellowish fluid which exudes from the clot formed in the coagulation of the blood. The liquid portion of the blood, after removal of the blood corpuscles and the fibrin.

Blood type – An AB system is used in cats.  Cats have three blood groups.  The red blood cell proteins are Type A antigen, Type B antigen, Type AB antigen.  If your cat needs a blood transfusion it must have the right blood type.

Type A – Type A antigen; Type A blood; N-glycolyl-neuraminic acid
Type B – Type B antigen; Type A blood;  N-acetyl-neuraminic acid
Type AB – Type AB antigen; Type AB blood; Both N-glycolyl-neuraminic acid and N-acetyl-neuraminic acid

Blotched tabby – Also see classic tabby

Blue – Color used to describe a cat’s coat. Blue is dilute of black and appears as a grey or slate color. This varies from cat to cat and breed to breed. Here are two examples of blue cats.

BML – Burmilla.

Boar Cat – Was an early name for a tomcat.

Boarding cattery – A establishment where cats are cared for when their owners are away.

Bone marrow– The soft, spongy tissue inside bones. Around 95 percent of the body’s blood cells are developed and stored here.

Break – The indentation of a cat’s nose.

Breeches – Longer hair on the back of the upper hind legs.

Breed numbers – A numbering system that is used to identify breed types and colors according to the set breed number used by the registration body.

Breeding value – The value of a cat (organism) within a breeding program.  Can also be referred to as the additive genetic value of the cat (organism).

BRI – British Shorthair.

Brindled – A tortie with inter-mingled colors – Also see Tortie.

Brindling – Coat color which is a mix of black and orange, or blue and cream (dilute).

Brush – A term for a cat’s tail, usually reserved for long-haired cats.

Breed standard – Characteristics of a breed as set out by the cat associations.

Breed true – Offspring who closely resemble their parents.

Breech birth – Born feet first.

Breed quality – A cat who closely matches the breed standard and is of a quality to be used in a breeding program.

British tick – Archaic name for Abyssinian.

Broad heritability (H2) – The total proportion of phenotypic variation in a population that is caused by genetic variation in the organisms.

Bronchus – One of the large passages taking air to and within the lungs.

Buff – When a cat rubs its facial glands on an object.

Bulldog stance – The gait of a cat that has a broad chest and legs appear to be slightly bowed outwards, as in the Devon Rex.

Bull’s eyes – Circular pattern on the classic tabby coat resembling bull’s eyes.

BUN – Blood urea nitrogen. The BUN test measures the amount of nitrogen (a waste product) in the blood. This test is usually performed to see how well the kidneys are functioning.

BUR – Burmese.

Butterfly – Pattern on the classic tabby coat around the shoulders resembling a butterfly.

Butterfly rex – Archaic name for the Devon Rex breed.

Cabbit – Mythical animal, a cross between a cat and a rabbit.

C-section or Cesarean section – An operation performed by a veterinarian to remove the queen’s litter when she is unable to give birth to them naturally.

Calico – A tri-color cat, which is usually made up of black, red and white. However, a dilute calico is a blue, cream and white cat.

Calling – Vocalization by a female cat in heat.

Cameo – The coat pattern of a cat that has a white agouti banding with red or its dilute cream and tortoiseshells on the outer portion of the hair. A cameo is either a red/cream silver tabby, red/cream shaded or red/cream tipped (shell). See Shell, shaded, silver tabby.

Carpal pads – Pads on a cat’s front wrists that help to prevent it from sliding or slipping when jumping “Anti-skid pads”.

Carrier  – A cat (organism) whose genotype includes a recessive allele that causes disease, but who does not have the disease themselves.

Castration – Surgical removal of the male cat’s testicles.

Catabolism – The biochemical processes involved in the breakdown of organic or inorganic compounds, usually leading to the production of energy.

Catalogue – The official record of all cats entered into a particular cat show.

Cataract – Clouding of the natural lens of the eye.

Cat collector – Somebody who collects far more cats than they can possibly care for.

Catecholamine – Any of a group of chemicals including epinephrine and norepinephrine that are produced in the medulla of the adrenal gland.

Caterwaul – The cry of a cat during calling time.

Cat Fancy – People who are members of a cat association who breed and or show their cats.

Cat run – An enclosed outdoor area where cats can have access to the outdoors in safety without being allowed to freely roam.

Cat Show – An event where cats are shown and judged.

Cattery – A cattery is a registered cat breeder, there are several cat associations that a cat breeder can be registered such as CFA, the Cat Fancier’s Association, TICA, The International Cat Association, ACFA, the American Cat Fanciers Association, also a place where cats are boarded.

Cattery name – A name registered with the cat registering body to identify cats bred by the breeder/s. The breeder’s name appears as a prefix on the names of the cats. Occasionally a suffix will also be added to show the cat is owned by another cattery.

Caudal –  The tail or rear end.

CBC – CBC is a complete blood count.

CCCofA – Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia.

CFA – Cat Fanciers Association.

CHA – A Chartreux cat.

Champion – The title of a cat that wins at a number of shows.

Characteristics – Features or traits that are defined by the breed standard of a cat.

Chemosis – Conjunctival swelling which can be severe enough to protrude between the lids.

Chimera – An animal formed from the fusion of two fertilized eggs. As a result, they have two different types of DNA. Tortoiseshell males are sometimes Chimeras.

Chinchilla – Referring to the coat pattern where the hair lacks the normal agouti banding pattern, and instead has very wide bands that make the majority of the coat white except at the very tips which show the base coloration (black, blue, chocolate etc.); Called Shell when red/cream coloration is involved; A Chinchilla is a Persian cat that has chinchilla or tipped pattern; Genetically they are silver tabbies and their base color (black/chocolate/cinnamon and their dilute forms) with modified agouti banding. See Tipped.

Chintz cat – An archaic term for tortoiseshell and white.

Chocolate – Coat color ranging from milk chocolate to a warm chestnut brown.

Cinnamon – Color of various cat’s coats such as in the Abyssinians reddish-brown color.

Clade – All descendants of any given species. A single whole branch of a phylogeny.

Cladogenesis – Evolutionary process where one species splits into two or more species.

Classic tabby – A coat pattern in a cat that has tabby markings that form a “bulls-eye” on each side of the body with a swirl of color surrounded by bold, wide bands of the same color, with no lines going down the side (like a Mackerel tabby). This pattern is sometimes called a blotched tabby or “egg and ham” (after the markings).

Clavicle – Collarbone.

Closed show – A show in which spectators (both exhibitors and paying public) are excluded until the completion of judging. or the scheduled time for admittance.

Close-lying – A term used when describing a coat in a cat that is lying very close to the skin.

Clotting– The sealing of a blood vessel with coagulated blood.

Clowder – A group of cats.

Clutter – Same as Clowder.

Coagulant– A substance that assists in coagulation of the blood.

Cobby – A compact body such as the Persian cat breed.

Codominance – Two genes express themselves equally; in the Tonkinese coat pattern.

Coital crouch – Squatting position the female in heat displays when she is receptive to the male.

Coitus – Mating.

Colony – A group of cats living wild outside, i.e., a colony of feral cats

Colostrum – First milk produced by the mother, this is thick, yellowish in color and rich in nutrients and antibodies. Colostrum contains less lactose than usual.

Color class – A divisions created by cat associations to classify certain types of coat colors or patterns for shows, such as shaded, color points.

Colorpoint – A coat pattern on a cat that is controlled by the color point alleles (cs/cs) e.g.. Siamese. A cat with these alleles has highly thermo-liable tyrosinase and thus results in a coat pattern that has normal pigmentation (color) on the tail, legs, face and ears, and a white or ivory coat on the body. The color point alleles are the most thermo-liable tyrosinase of cats from the Himalayan series. See Himalayan Series.

Concaveation – Is when a female cat starts to adequate mothering traits via repetitive exposure to a male.

Conditional-lethal mutation – A mutation that is lethal under particular conditions and not lethal under other conditions.

Conditional mutation – A mutation that has wild type phenotype under particular (permissive) environmental conditions and a mutant phenotype under other (restrictive) conditions.

Conformation – How well a pedigree cat fits their breed standard, in terms of the structure, type, color and pattern etc.

Congenital – A characteristic that is present at birth. It may be inherited from one or both parents or have developed in the womb.

Confirmation – The physical type of the cat, including coat length, color, bone structure, facial type, eye color and other factors.

Conjunctiva – The mucous membrane that lines the visible part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid.

Conjugation reaction – Important metabolism reaction for drugs.

Conjunctivitis – Inflammation of the conjunctiva. The cause is either infectious or allergic. Other symptoms include burning, discharge, dryness, itching, light sensitivity, discomfort, stickiness, tearing and chemosis.

Contraindication – Contraindication is when a drug should NOT be used.

Convergence breeding –  A  breeding method that involves the reciprocal addition to each of two inbred lines of the dominant favorable genes lacking in one line and present in the other.

Cornea – The outer part of the eye that provides around 70% of the eye’s refractive power. It is the transparent front “window” of the eye that covers the iris and pupil and provides most of the eye’s optical power.

Cow hocked – A term used when describing the hind legs in a cat that appear to bend towards the center; knock-kneed like a cow, causing the feet to turn outwards.

CPC –  Color Point Carrier.

Crackles (respiration) – The sound of rales.

Cream – A sex (X Chromosome) linked coat color in a cat that is dilute of the red coat coloration in cats; a lighter version of red; a beige or buff coloration.

Crossbreed – Offspring produced by the mating of two distinct breeds. example: Persian x Burmese.

Cross resistance – resistance to a drug as a result of resistance developed to another (often similar) drug.

Creatinine clearance – Test of renal function.

Crinklies – Affectionate nickname for a group of rex cats.

Cross-over – The exchange of genetic material between homologous chromosomes during meiosis.

CRX – Cornish Rex.

Cryptorchid– A adult male cat whose testicles have not descended into the scrotal sac.

Culling – Rejection and or removal of inferior cats/kittens from a breeding program.

Culture medium – An aqueous solution of various nutrients suitable for the growth of microorganisms.

Cyanosis – A bluish discoloration of the skin that is caused by lack of oxygen in the blood.

Cytochrome P 450 – Most important enzyme system in the liver responsible for breaking down drugs and other chemicals.

Cytogenetics – The study of chromosomes.

Cytoplasm – the protoplasm of a cell excluding the nucleus. See Protoplasm.

Dam – Female parent.

Dander – The tiny particles or flakes of skin, hair or feathers of all warm-blooded animals, such as cats, dogs, rodents, and birds.

Deciduous teeth – The primary or baby teeth.

Declawing – Surgical removal of the cat’s claw and first joint, including bones, joints and ligaments. Declawing is considered inhumane and is no longer acceptable.

Deletion – The loss of a segment of genetic material from the chromosome.

Deme  – A locally interbreeding population.

Denaturation – Irreversible destruction of a macromolecule, as for example the destruction of protein by heat.

De novo – ‘From new’ as opposed to inherited. A new mutation.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – The large double-stranded molecule carrying the genetic code. Consisting of four bases (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine), phosphate and ribose.

Dermis – The thicker layer of the skin just below the epidermis on most of the body. It is composed of collagen, connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, sebaceous glands, hair follicles etc. Also called the corium.

Developed breed – A breed of cat that was developed by selective breeding and crossing of established breeds, domestic shorthairs, and or wild cats. Example: Bengal, Australian Mist, Bombay, Ocicat etc.

Dew claw – The first digit found on the inside of the leg above the front paws.

Dicephalous – Congenital malformation resulting in the development of two heads.

Digitigrade – Walking on tiptoes, as seen in cats.

Dihybrid  – A cat (organism) that is heterozygous at two loci (2 traits).

Dihybrid cross – A cross between two cats (individuals) identically heterozygous at two loci  E.g, AaBb/AaBb.

Dilution or dilute – Referring to a lighter coat color variation of a cat’s primary color controlled by the Dilution alleles. i.e., Black becomes blue, chocolate becomes lilac, Cinnamon becomes fawn, and Red becomes cream. Dilute such as a dilute calico. Or in the reference of a tortoiseshell, the dilute of a tortoiseshell cat would be a blue cream.

Diploid  – Cats (organisms) that carry two copies of each gene. They are homozygous for the gene.

Diuretic – Agent which promotes urine production.

Dm – Dilute Modifier Gene.

DNA – Deoxyribonucleic acid.

Doctoring – Another world for neutering.

Doe cat – Early term for a female cat.

Dome – A term used when describing a forehead in a cat that is well rounded or domed out.

Dominance – A gene that overrides itself over another gene at the same locus.

Doming – Rounded forehead on the cat. This is often referred to in the Persian breed. A Persian cat would possess smooth doming to be considered a show cat.

Dorsal – The back (along the spine) of a cat or animal

Double helix – The shape that two linear strands of DNA form when joined together.

Double recessive – An individual who is homozygous for two pairs of recessive genes.

Down hairs – The down hairs are the shortest, finest and closest to the skin. Their purpose is to keep the cat warm.

DLH – Domestic Longhair (long-haired mixed breed cat).

Drug absorption – The process by which the unchanged drug proceeds from the site of administration into the blood.

Drug clearance – The volume of blood cleared of drug per unit time. Describes the efficiency of the irreversible elimination of a drug from the body.

Drug disposition – refers to those processes which occur subsequent to absorption of a drug (i.e. distribution and elimination).

Drug distribution – Process of reversible transfer of drug between one location and another (one of which is usually blood) in the body.

Drug elimination – the irreversible loss of drug from the body by the processes of metabolism and excretion

Drug excretion – The irreversible loss of unchanged drug from the body (e.g. in urine, feces)

Drug metabolism – The chemical modification of a drug (almost invariably enzymatically mediated)

DRX – A Devon Rex cat.

DSH – Domestic Shorthair (short-haired mixed breed cat).

Dystocia – A difficult or prolonged labor at birth.

Dysphagia – Difficulty swallowing.

Dyspnea – Difficult or labored breathing.

Ear furnishings –  Hair tufts that grow around and in the ears.

Easy mind systems – A system used by FiFe to replace color and breed names with a simple alphanumerical system. It is not genetically based nor does language create any barriers. The 1st part of the EMS code is written in uppercase and denotes breeds (e.g. BUR = Burmese). The 2nd part denotes a recognized color and uses letters in lower case (e.g. “b” is chocolate). The 3rd part denotes patterns via a numerical code (e.g. 23 = mackerel tabby). The fourth part is used for eye color specification and uses numerical values. (eye color is left out for breeds such as Burmese, Siamese etc). The 5th part is used for a few breed-specific codes and is also numerical (e.g. 51 = rumpy Manx). Thus a Chocolate Silver tabby point Devon Rex would be DRX bs 21 33.

Ebony – See black.

Eccrine gland – Sweat bland found in the foot.

Ecogenetics – A branch of genetics that studies how (acquired or inherited) genetic factors influence human and animal susceptibility to environmental health risks. Ecogenetics interacts with ecology, molecular genetics,
toxicology, public health medicine and environmental epidemiology.

Ectoparasite – A parasite that lives outside its host…ie: paralysis ticks.

Ectropion – Eyelid falling away from the eyeball.

Edema – The accumulation of excess fluid in the intercellular or interstitial tissue spaces or body cavities.

ELISA – Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent AssayA test for the presence of antibody or antigen in the blood.

Emesis – The act of vomiting.

Empyema – Accumulation of pus in a body cavity.

Endemic – A disease that is constantly present in low numbers in a population. Compare with an epidemic.

Endogenous – Coming from inside the body (the opposite of exogenous).

Endometrium – The highly vascular lining of the uterus.

Endotoxin –a toxin not released from the cell, bound to the cell surface or intracellular, compare with exotoxin.

Enteric coating – Tablet coating which protects the drug from being exposed to stomach acid.

Entire – A cat that has not been desexed.

Entropion – Turning inward of the eyelid against the eyeball.

Enucleation – The removal of an eye.

Epidemic – A disease occurring in an unusually high number of individuals in a population at the same time. Compare with endemic.

Epidemiology – Is the study of the distribution and causes of health-related events (including disease epidemics), with the aim of tracking down their cause and thus control health problems.

Epidermal cells – There are for distinct cell types in the epidermis. Keratinocytes (produce keratin and provide protection and immunity), Melanocytes (melanin/pigment cells), Langheran cells (from the bone marrow and have a role in immunity), and Granstein cells that also have a role in immunity.

Epidermal layers – The layers of cells, dead and alive, that make up the epidermis. They consist of the stratum corneum (horny layer), stratum lucidum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and stratum germinitivum (basal layer). The germinitivum (deepest layer, at the base), where the cells reproduce and grow. i.e., melanocytes.

Epidermis ­ – The outermost layer of the skin. The epidermis contains no nerves or blood vessel, thus it is not capable of any sensation or bleeding. The epidermis is made up of a protective outer layer of non-living keratin scale cells and acts as a seal against the environment. The epidermis contains keratinocytes (cells that make keratin) and melanocytes (cells that make pigment), as well as other specialized cells. See Epidermal layer, melanocytes, and keratin.

Epigenetic –  Changes in gene expression in an organism but without changing the DNA sequence of a gene.  E.g. chemical molecules called methyl groups attach to DNA and turn off a gene’s expression, and genomic imprinting, etc.

Epinephrine (Adrenaline) – a chemical (catecholamine) secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stress; stimulates autonomic nerve action.

Epiphora – Watering of the eye.

Epistasis – The masking effect of one gene (the epistatic gene) over another gene (the hypostatic gene). The phenotype will only show the epistatic gene.  As seen in white and red cats

Epistaxis – Bleeding from the nose.

Erythrocyte/s – Red blood cell/s.

Erythristic– The coloration of a cat (animal) is unusually red.

Estrogen – The female sex hormone.

Estrus – Female cat who is fertile and receptive to the male.

Etiology – Referring to the cause of a disorder or disease.

EUR – European Shorthair.

Eumelanin – Is a form of melanin that produces the brown shades in cats. (Black, Chocolate, Cinnamon and their dilute forms) as defined by the genes present.

Euthanasia – Humanely ending a life, ie: putting your cat to sleep.

Evisceration – Portions of the intestine protruding from an abdominal wound.

Evolution – The process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations; Specifically, it is changed in the gene pool frequencies of a population from one generation on to the next; Genes mutate. Individuals are selected. Populations evolve.

Exhibition only – Cat/s or kitten/s entered and displayed at a cat show, but are not scheduled for judging.

Exhibitor – A cat fancier that has entered their cat into a cat show.

EXO – Exotic Shorthair Cat also known as the “short hair Persian.”

Exogenous DNA – DNA that originates outside an organism.

Exons – The region of a gene that contains the code for producing the gene’s protein. Each exon codes for a specific portion of the complete protein. In some species (including cats) a gene’s exons are separated by long regions of DNA (named introns) that have no apparent function. See Introns.

Exotoxin – A toxin released extracellularly, compare endotoxin.

Exogenous – Coming from outside the body (the opposite of endogenous).

Expiration (respiration) –  Exhalation.

Expression – The variation of the phenotype of a gene.

Expressivity – The range of phenotypes expressed by a genotype in a range of environmental conditions.

Ex-situ – In a location/position other than the original or natural location/position.

Extreme – A pedigree cat that has or is extreme in confirmation or structure for its breed when compared to other cats of the same breed. Extreme refers to the flatness of the face of the Persian or Exotic Shorthair.

F1 – First filial generation.

F2 – Second filial generation.

Feces – Bowel excretions.

Fading Kitten Syndrome – Kittens that die within the first two weeks after birth. This may happen for varying reason such as malnourishment during gestation or postpartum, sub-clinical infections, blood type incompatibility, congenital malformation, large litters with not enough nipples for the number of kittens, or inability of a smaller kitten to compete with other kittens etc. There are many variable factors that may contribute to the death of a kitten, but in general the term “Fading Kitten Syndrome” is often used when breeders do not know why the kitten died as no necropsy was performed on the kitten or the necropsy failed to show a reason for the death of a kitten

Fallopian tube – Another name for oviduct; leading the ovary to the tip of each uterine horn.

Familial trait – A trait that is shared by members of a family.

Fawn – Used to describe coat color in various breeds.

FCV – Feline calicivirus.

Fecundity – Rate at which a cat (individual) produces offspring, usually expressed only for females.

FECV – Feline Enteric Coronavirus.

Fel D1 – An allergenic glycoprotein found in cats sebaceous glands.   Felis Domesticus 1 allergen (Fel D1) is the primary allergen in cats.

Felid –  Referring to or about cats, feline; having traits similar to the cat; member of the Felidae family.

Felis – Scientific name for the genus that contains all species of small cats.

Felis silvestris catus– Domestic Cat; Genus, Species, and group name for domestic cats, from the humble cat, to the pedigree cat.

FeLV – Feline leukemia virus.

Feral – Wild, untamed feline, of domestic descent.

FeSV – Feline sarcoma virus.

Flehmening – The detection of small trace chemicals in the air using the Jacobson’s Organ. The cat appears to sneer as it’s doing this.

FIA – Feline Infectious Anemia.

FiFe – Federation International Feline de l’Europe.

Filial – The generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation. Usually shown as represented as a “F” . i.e. F1,F2 or F3.

FIP – Feline Infectious Peritonitis.

FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (feline AIDS).

Fistula – Abnormal opening or passage between two hollow organs or structures.

Fixing – To fix a certain characteristic by selective breeding or inbreeding.

Fluffies – Affectionate nickname for a group of longhaired or Persian cats.

FLUTD –  Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (same as FUS).

Foetus – The second stage of the unborn kitten, develops around 2-3 weeks of gestation.

Foreign – A cat with a body type that is fine-boned, lithe, tubular, and elegant, e.g. Siamese.

Forward mutation – A mutation that converts wild type genes to a mutant allele. See Reversion.

Founder effect – A gene mutation seen in a high frequency in a particular population due to the presence of that gene mutation in a singular feline (ancestor) or a small number of felines (ancestors).

FP – Feline Panleukopenia.

Fractious cat – A cat that attacks or is vicious towards someone.

Freckles – See Lentigo Simplex.

Frost – Another name for the coloration found in cats called Lilac, Sometimes used for color point cats. See Lilac.

Full sib – Sister or brother with both parents in common. Fraction not bound to plasma protein, ratio of unbound and total concentrations of drug in plasma

Functionaliation reaction – Important metabolism reaction for drugs.

FUS – Feline urological syndrome (same as FLUTD).

FVR – Feline viral rhinotracheitis, also known as Feline Herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1)

F1 – First filial generation.

F2 – Second filial generation.

Faeces – Bowel excretions.

Fading Kitten Syndrome – Kittens that die within the first two weeks after birth. This may happen for varying reason such as malnourishment during gestation or postpartum, sub-clinical infections, blood type incompatibility, congenital malformation, large litters with not enough nipples for the number of kittens, or inability of a smaller kitten to compete with other kittens etc. There are many variable factors that may contribute to the death of a kitten, but in general the term “Fading Kitten Syndrome” is often used when breeders do not know why the kitten died as no necropsy was performed on the kitten or the necropsy failed to show a reason for the death of a kitten

Fallopian tube – Another name for oviduct; leading the ovary to the tip of each uterine horn.

Familial trait – A trait that is shared by members of a family.

Fawn – Used to describe coat color in various breeds.

FCV – Feline calicivirus.

Fecundity – Rate at which a cat (individual) produces offspring, usually expressed only for females.

FECV – Feline Enteric Coronavirus.

Fel D1 – An allergenic glycoprotein found in cats sebaceous glands.   Felis Domesticus 1 allergen (Fel D1) is the primary allergen in cats.

Felid –  Referring to or about cats, feline; having traits similar to the cat; member of the Felidae family.

Felis – Scientific name for the genus that contains all species of small cats.

Felis silvestris catus– Domestic Cat; Genus, Species, and group name for domestic cats, from the humble moggie, to the pedigree cat.

FeLV – Feline leukaemia virus.

Feral – Wild, untamed feline, of domestic descent.

FeSV – Feline sarcoma virus.

Flehmening – The detection of small trace chemicals in the air using the Jacobson’s Organ. The cat appears to sneer as it’s doing this.

FIA – Feline Infectious Anaemia.

FiFe – Federation Internationale Feline de l’Europe.

Filial – The generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation. Usually shown as represented as a “F” . i.e. F1,F2 or F3.

FIP – Feline Infectious Peritonitis.

FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (feline AIDS).

Fistula – Abnormal opening or passage between two hollow organs or structures.

Fixing – To fix a certain characteristic by selective breeding or inbreeding.

Fluffies – Affectionate nickname for a group of longhaired or Persian cats.

FLUTD –  Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (same as FUS).

Foetus – The second stage of the unborn kitten, develops around 2-3 weeks of gestation.

Foreign – A cat with a body type that is fine-boned, lithe, tubular, and elegant, e.g. Siamese.

Forward mutation – A mutation that converts wild type genes to a mutant allele. See Reversion.

Founder effect – A gene mutation seen in a high frequency in a particular population due to the presence of that gene mutation in a singular feline (ancestor) or a small number of felines (ancestors).

FP – Feline Panleukopenia.

Fractious cat – A cat that attacks or is vicious towards someone.

Freckles – See Lentigo Simplex.

Frost – Another name for the colouration found in cats called Lilac, Sometimes used for colour point cats. See Lilac.

fu – Fraction not bound to plasma protein, the ratio of unbound and total concentrations of drug in plasma

Full sib – Sister or brother with both parents in common. Fraction not bound to plasma protein, ratio of unbound and total concentrations of drug in plasma

Functionalization reaction – Important metabolism reaction for drugs.

FUS – Feline urological syndrome (same as FLUTD).

FVR – Feline viral rhinotracheitis, also known as Feline Herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1)

Gauntlets – See Mitted.

Gene – Basic unit of heredity. A hereditary unit that occupies a certain position on a chromosome, a unit that has one or more specific effects on the phenotype, and can mutate to various allelic forms.

Gene dose – The number of copies of a particular gene present in the genome.

Gene frequency – The proportion of genes at a locus represented by a particular allele.

Generation interval – The time transpiring from reproduction in one generation to the time the next generation reproduces.

Generation turnover – Time between parents producing offspring and those offspring reaching reproductive age

Genotypic ratio – Ratio of genotypes in descendants from matings involving parents with specified genotypes.

Gene pool – Collective number of genes in a breeding population.

Genera –   The plural of genus, a group of similar species.

Generation – A collection of cats (organisms) born and living at the same time.

Genetic – Influenced or produced by genes.

Genetics – The study of genes via their variation.  The study of inheritance.

Genetic contribution – A contribution of genetic material by a parent to her or his progeny.  A measurement of specified improvement in a breed/population for a particular trait such as coat color, fertility etc.

Genetic drift – Random variations in gene frequencies resulting from gamete sampling, often more noticeable in small populations.

Genetic load – The average number of lethal alleles per cat (organism) within a breed (population).

Geneticist pedigree – A pedigree that not only shows the parental lineage (parents, grandparents etc.) but also shows related cats in the pedigree (cousins and their offspring, grandparents littermates and their offspring, etc.). It is a tool to delineate genetic disease. A genetic pedigree can be as simple as close relative (parents and their littermates and offspring) to as complex as a 20-year pedigree of a family, listing 100’s and 100’s of relatives and their litters produced by all matings. A geneticist pedigree marks carriers, multiple traits, death, birth dates using standard symbols.

Genetic variance – The phenotypic variation accredited to the diversity in the genotypes of cats (organisms) in a breed (population). It is the total of the additive, dominance and epistatic variance.

Genocopy – The same phenotype/trait due to different genetic causes.

Genotype  – The specific allelic structure of a cell, either of the entire cell or for a certain gene or a set of genes. The genes that a cat (organism) possesses.

Genotypic frequency – The proportion of cats (organisms) in a given breed/population with a particular genotype.

Genus – A group of closely related species.

Gestation – Gestation refers to pregnancy.

Ghost pattern/marking – Faint tabby markings sometimes seen in the coat of solid colored kittens. This pattern usually disappears as the kitten matures. Also see barring.

Gib – Early term for a male cat.

Gilbert – Early term for a male cat.

Gingivitis – Inflammation of the gums.

Glitter – This is used to describe the beautiful glitter appearance on a Bengal cat’s coat.

Gloves – See Mitted.

Golden – The coat pattern of a cat that has a golden agouti banding with colored hair (black, blue, chocolate etc.) on the outer portion of the hair. Golden Chinchilla’s or Tipped Goldens, refer to a cat with wide bands that make the majority of the coat golden or apricot in tone with only the very tips of the hair showing the base color. Shaded Goldens refer to a cat with wide bands that make a large portion of the coat white with the base which shows the base coloration starting almost halfway down the hair shaft and extending to the tip; Genetically they are non-silver agouti cats with modified agouti banding. See Silver.

Golden Siamese – Archaic name for the cat breed Tonkinese.

Gonads – Testes or ovaries.

Gram-negative cell – a prokaryotic cell whose cell wall contains relatively little peptidoglycan but has another membrane composed of lipopolysaccharide, lipoprotein and other complex macromolecules.

Gram-positive cell – a prokaryotic cell whose cell wall consists mainly of peptidoglycan and lacks the outer membrane of gram-negative cells.

Granulocytes– Is a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections. Types of granulocytes include basophils, eosinophils, and neutrophils.

Gravid – Containing one or more fetuses; pregnant.

Gremlin cats – Affectionate nickname for Devon Rex.

Grimalkin – Seventeenth-century term for a cat, especially an old female cat.

GRX – German Rex.

Guard hairs – Coarse hairs that form the outer fur.

Hematocrit – Percentage of the volume of blood occupied by red blood cells.

Hemoglobin– The oxygen-carrying pigment and predominant protein in the red blood cells. In its oxygenated state blood is bright red and called oxyhemoglobin. In the reduced state, it is purple-blue in color and called deoxyhemoglobin.

Half sib – Sister or brother with one parent in common. Maternal half-sibs a common female parent and paternal half-sibs have a common male parent.

Hair follicle – Tubelike pocket of epidermal cells that extends into the dermis and produces hair.

Half-life – Time taken for the concentration to fall to 50% of the original, an indication of how long it will take for all drug to be eliminated from the body (4-5 half-lives).

Hand rearing – Hand feeding a kitten or kittens a milk formula, via bottle, dropper, syringe, or tube to supplement mother’s milk for varying reasons i.e. lack of milk supply or orphaned kittens.

Haploid – Cats (organisms) that carry one copy of each gene. They are heterozygous for the gene.

Haplotype – A particular combination of alleles in a linked group encoded by genes in close vicinity on the same chromosome.

Harlequin – A cat with coat markings consisting of van markings of any color and the addition of a few small patches of the same color on the body and legs.

Haw – Third eyelid (also known as nictitating membrane)

Heat – See Estrus.

Hemarthrosis– Bleeding into a joint.

Hematocrit– Is the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells found in a specific volume of blood.

Hematology– The study of blood and blood-forming tissues

Hematological– Relating to blood or hematology.

Hematopoiesis– The process of producing and developing new blood cells.

Hematuria – The presence of blood in the urine.

Hemingway cat –See Polydactyl.

Hemizygous – A cat (organism) that has only a single chromosome rather than a pair or a chromosome segment; also refers any X-linked trait in male cats (individuals), who normally only have one X chromosome. Deletions that result on one autosome can produce hemizygosity in both males and females.

Hemobartonella – A blood parasite in cats that causes anemia.

Hemoclip – A device placed on a blood-vessel during surgery to stop bleeding.

Hemodynamic-Relating to the physical dynamics of blood circulation.

Hemoglobin– A protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues of the body.

Hemolysis or Hemolytic – The destruction of red blood cells with the release of hemoglobin into the surrounding fluid.

Hemolytic anemia– An anemia in which the red blood cells are prematurely destroyed.

HEPA filter: A High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter. A filter used to clean the air in the home to decrease exposure to allergens.

Heredity –  The biological similarity of progeny and parents. Traits that are inherited from parents or ancestors.

Heritability Rule – The proportion of the total phenotypic variation that is ascribable to genetic causes: Heritability ( h2) = genetic variance (VG) / total phenotypic variance (VP).

Hernia – Herniated tissue; Protrusion of any part or organ through an abnormal opening. See Umbilical Hernia.

Herniorrhaphy – Surgical repair of a hernia.

Heterogeneity – Identical or similar phenotypes, traits, disorders, caused by different genetic or environmental mechanisms.  Genetic heterogeneity The presence of different alleles at a gene locus. 2 The ability of more than one allele to cause the same trait, phenotype or disease. Alleles at different gene loci (locus heterogeneity), as well as those at the same locus, expressed as the same trait.

Heterogametic sex – The sex which has two different sex chromosomes (XY). Male cats are the heterogametic sex (XY). In birds and some other organisms, it is the female that is the heterogametic sex (ZW).

Heterozygote advantage – The offspring of mating where heterozygotes have greater fitness than either homozygote parent.

Heterosis/hybrid vigor – The improved performance of hybrids over purebreds (heterozygotes over homozygotes).  The crossing of different breeds that results in offspring with superior stamina, health, fertility
etc., when compared to the parental breeds.

Heterozygote – Individual with two dissimilar alleles at a locus.

HHP – Household pet (aka moggy).

Highland Fold – Alternative name for Scottish Longhair.

Himalayan series – Colorpoint cats e.g. Siamese, Mink e.g. Tonkinese, Sepia e.g. Burmese: Cats that possess alleles from the Himalayan series: A series of coat patterns formed by alleles that cause heat-sensitive tyrosinase. – See Thermal liable tyrosinase.

Himmy – A affectionate nickname for a Himalayan cat (a color point Persian) cat.

Hock – The ankles of a cat.

Homologous – Having the same evolutionary origin but serving different functions.

Homozygous – Having two like alleles of a particular gene; homozygous dominant when the allele is dominant and homozygous recessive when the allele is recessive.

Hormones – Complex molecules produced by the endocrine glands that regulate many bodily functions and processes.

Hot – Term used to describe incorrect reddish tinges on a cream coat.

Humoral– Circulating in the bloodstream.

HWE – Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) – In an infinitely large population, gene
and genotype frequencies remain stable as long as there is no selection, mutation, or migration.

Hybrid – The offspring of a cross of genetically different parents. The cross may be an intraspecific-hybrid (with in the same species or genera) or an interspecific-hybrid (different species or genera). A hybrid will be heterozygous for singular or several gene pairs.  A hybrid can also refer to a heterozygote.

Hygiene – The science or principles of health and the prevention of disease.

Hyper – Excessive.

Hyperoxia  – An increased concentration of oxygen in the tissues and organs.

Hyperemia – An excess of blood in a part.

Hypercalcinuria  – The presence of an abnormally high concentration of calcium in the urine.

Hyperkalemia – High levels of potassium in the blood.

Hyperplasia – An overgrowth or overdevelopment; Enlargement due to an increase in the number of cells.

Hyperpyrexia – A very high fever, at a level that is likely to cause damage to tissue.

Hyperthyroidism – An overactive thyroid.

Hypertrophic – An enlarged in size, rather than in the number of components.

Hypertrophy – An enlargement that is due to an increase in the size of cells.

Hypo – Below or under- deficient.

Hypocalcemia – Low levels of calcium in the blood.

Hypokalemia – Low levels of potassium in the blood.

Hyponatremia – Low levels of sodium in the blood.

Hypoperfusion – Deficient blood supply to tissues.

Hypopigmentation – Albino.

Hypoplasia – Deficient growth of a tissue or organ.

Hypothermia – A body temperature in cats (animals) that is below normal.

Hypothyroidism – An underactive thyroid.

Hypotonia – Abnormal decrease in muscle tone and strength that is associated with weakness and floppiness.

Hypoxemia –  Deficient oxygenation of the blood.

Hypoxia – Deficient oxygenation of body cells.

Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar.

Hypostasis –  A failure to show a trait due to the masking effect of one gene (the epistatic gene ) over another gene (the hypostatic gene). The phenotype will only show the epistatic gene.

Hypotrichosis – Sparse coat.

IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Idiopathic – Unknown cause.

IFA – Immunofluorescence assay. A fluorescent antibody test to detect the presence of antigen or antibody.

IgA – One of the most common of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. The chief antibody in the membranes of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.

IgD – One of the five most major classes of immunoglobulins. Present in the blood serum in small amounts.

IgE – A type of antibody, formed to protect the body from infection, which attaches to mast cells in the respiratory and intestinal tracts and may cause allergic rhinitis, asthma, or eczema.

IgG – One of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. The main antibody defense against bacteria.

IgM – One of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. Involved in fighting blood infections and in triggering the production of immunoglobulin G.

I-line –  Inbred line.

I.M. – Intramuscular, into a muscle.

Immunoglobulin – A protein that acts as an antibody. See above.

Immunization – Vaccination.

Immunocompromised – Having a compromised/weakened immune system.

Imprinting – A process where DNA obtains biochemical marks that instruct a cell how and when to express certain genes. Imprinting often results in gene expression from only one copy of a gene – either the maternal or paternal copy. See Epigenetic.

Inactivated vaccine – A vaccine in which the infectious agent has been treated so it is not able to infect and replicate in the host.

Inbreeding – The breeding/mating of related cats (organisms) within a closed group or breed. The continual breeding of closely related cats (organisms) to perpetuate a desired trait in the line, resulting in a probability that the alleles are identical by descent.   (e.g., reproduction between siblings, cousins, grandparents etc). Can also be called consanguinity

Inbreeding coefficient – A measurement of how close to cats (organisms) are genetically to each other. The coefficient of inbreeding is the probability that a cat (organisms) has received both alleles of a gene pair from a singular ancestor common to both parents. Making the offspring homozygous for the gene pair or many gene pairs.

Inbreeding depression – A decline in vigor brought about by inbreeding due to fixing of impairing genes.

Inbreeding load –  The extent that a breed or population is impaired by inbreeding.

Incarceration – A condition in which abdominal contents become trapped in a hernia defect – See hernia.

Incomplete penetrance –  The gene for a  trait or condition is present, but not noticeably expressed in all cats (individuals) in cats (individuals) with the gene.

Induced ovulation – A cat will not ovulate unless stimulated to do so by mating.

Indication – What a drug is used for.

Infarction – The death of tissue due to lack of blood flow

Inoculation – See vaccination.

Inspiration (respiration) –  Inhalation.

In situ – In place; In the original or natural location/position.

Intact – A male or a female that has not been neutered/spayed.

Interspecific – Occurring between different species or genera. Involving or relating to members of different species e.g.: an interspecific hybrid.

Intranasal – Administration of a drug into the nostrils by spray or drops.

Intraspecific – Occurring within a species or genera. Involving or relating to members of one species e.g.: intraspecific competition.

Intravenous – Injection into the vein; I.V.

Intron – The unneeded DNA that does not code for anything; Filler DNA, Junk DNA or nonsense DNA; Long regions of DNA with no apparent function that separate the exons. See Exons.

In vitro – In glass, meaning in the laboratory, or test tube, etc.

In vitro mutagenesis – Is the production of specific or random mutations in cloned DNA. Often, the DNA will then be reintroduced into a cell or an organism to assess the results of the mutagenesis.

In vivo – In a living organism or cell.

I.P. – Intraperitoneal, into the peritoneal cavity.

Iritis – Inflammation of the iris.

Isogeneic – Genetically identical.

I.V. – Intravenous, into a vein.

Jacobsen’s organ – Located in the roof of the mouth – send scents to the olfactory organ, stimulates the ‘fight or flight’ reaction.

Jaundice– A condition that causes yellowing of the skin, eyes, oral mucosa and darkening of the urine. The yellowing is produced by abnormally high levels of bile pigment bilirubin.  See Bilirubin The yellowing is an indication of varying blood disorders, liver or gall bladder disorders or blocked bile ducts etc.

JAV – Javanese.

JBT – Japanese Bobtail Cat.

Jowls – Well developed cheeks, usually seen on entire male cats. Also known as stud jowls or tomcat jowls.

Junior – A cat that is less than 2 years but older than 9 months.

Junk DNA – See Intron.

Karyotype – A collection of photographed, banded chromosomes arranged in order from largest to smallest. The chromosomal counterpart of an individual, including any abnormalities and the number of chromosomes.

Kera – Latin for eye.

Keratectomy – The surgical removal of part of the cornea.

Keratin – The name for a group of proteins made by the keratinocytes in the skin. It is the principal component of the epidermis, fur/hair and claws. Keratin serves as a protective barrier for the body and has a role in immunity

Keratitis – Inflammation of the cornea, caused by an infection or inflammatory process.

Keratoconjunctivitis – Inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva often seen in upper respiratory diseases in cats.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca – Dry eye syndrome. A lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eye.

Keratinocytes (Also called squamous cells) – The primary cells of the epidermis (skin) that produce the protein keratin. Keratinocytes from in the basal layer of the epidermis (skin) and receive melanin in the form of melanocytes migrating upwards to the surface in the form of Keratin.

Keratotomy – Incision of the cornea.

Kibble – Cat biscuits.

Kindle – A group of kittens.

Kink – Mis-shaped vertebrae in the tail.

Kitten – A cat less than 9 months of age.

Kitten cap – A term used for a patch of color seen in dominant white (W/-) kittens and occasionally young cats, which may give a hint of masked color or pattern of the cat. The kitten cape disappears as the cat becomes an adult.

Kneading – See Milk Kneading.

KOR – Korat.

Lactate – Production of milk.

Lactose – Sugar in milk.

Lavender – Another name for the coloration found in cats called Lilac. See Lilac.

Lens – The focusing part of the eye. It is curved on both sides and acts as a “camera lens” to focus light on the retina.

Lens dislocation – The full or partial displacement of the eye’s lens.

Lentigo simplex – Areas of pigmentation on the lips, nose, gingiva, and/or eyelids in ginger cats. Small black spots that appear often appear on red cat’s lips or nose that can be up to 9 mm in diameter. They cause the cats no harm; freckles on orange cats.

Leucocyte – See White Blood Cell.

LFT – Liver function test. The test usually includes the following: alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), albumin, total protein, and total and direct bilirubin.

Lilac – Term used to describe coat color in cats that is a pale pinkish grey, pinkish lavender or frost grey in tone. Sometimes called lavender, frost or platinum. Lilac is a dilute form of chocolate.

Linear pedigree – Breeders Pedigree; a pedigree that shows a linear (straight) line of ancestors; A traditional lineage pedigree that lists parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc.

Line – Pedigree of ancestors; the feline equivalent of a family tree.

Line chaser – A genealogist for pedigree cats; a person who searches for or traces pedigree details on cats from the past.

Line chasing – Searching for pedigree cat/s genealogy; The search for or tracing pedigree details of cats from the past.

Line Breed – Mating cats together that have similar ancestors. Such as, cats that have the same grandmother; A form of inbreeding.

Litter – A family of kittens born to a female at the same time.

Litter registration – The recording of the birth of a litter that includes the date of birth, number of kittens, sire, dam and breeder of the litter by the cat association/body.

Loading dose – Dose to fill up the volume of distribution, this brings the drug plasma concentration to the desired level, ensuring rapid onset of effect.

Locket – A white spot of color on a cat’s coat at the base of the throat, often a fault.

Locus – Location of a gene on the chromosome.

Lordosis – Curvature of spine downwards.

Lynx Point – Another name for the coat pattern in cats called a tabby point. See tabby.

Mackerel – A tabby pattern that displays vertical stripes. The fishbone pattern.

Macrophage – A type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills microorganisms, removes dead cells and stimulates the action of other immune system cells.

Macrosomia – Foetal overnutrition.

Mac tabby – Mackerel tabby.

Maculate – The tabby pattern in cats that is marked with spots that are uniformly distributed on the body. e.g. Egyptian Mau, Australian Mist etc.

Magpie cats – An archaic name for black and white cats.

Maintenance dose – Dose to maintain drug plasma concentration at the desired level.

Malignancy – The term malignancy refers to cancerous or diseased cells that have the capacity to spread, invade and destroy tissue.

Malocclusion – Improper alignment of the jaws and teeth; Faulty closing of the upper and lower teeth.

Maltese – When pigments dilute into a bluish color; or referring to the dilution allele.

MAN –  Manx.

Mandible –  The lower jaw.

Marbling – Term used to describe coat pattern i.e. as in the Bengal cat.

Marker – A gene with a known location on a chromosome and an identifiable phenotype, used as a point of reference when mapping a new mutation.

Mask – The dark coloring seen on the faces of some cat breeds such as Siamese and Birmans.

Masking – Covering or hiding another color/gene. A pure white cat can be masking another color genetically.

Mastectomy – The surgical removal of a queen’s mammary glands.

Maternal effect – The effect/s of the maternal parent’s genotype on the phenotype of her offspring.

Maternal effect lethal – A recessive mutation in which homozygous mutant dams (mothers) produce unviable offspring.

Matts – Knots and or tangles in the cat’s fur.

MAU – Egyptian Mau.

Maxilla – The upper jaw.

MCO – The Maine Coon Cat breed.

Mean – The mathematical average; the sum of the data divided by the sample size.

Meconium – A dark green feces that accumulate in the bowel of foetus and passes from the bowl shortly after birth.

Meezer – A Siamese cat.

Meiocyte – A cell in which meiosis occurs.

Melanin – Pigment that provides color to hair, skin and choroid of the eye. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes. There are two major forms of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin.

Melanocytes (melanoblasts) – Pigment cells that produce melanin for skin and fur/hair pigmentation. They originate in the neural crest during foetal development and migrate to the basal layer of the epidermis (in the skin) during foetal development and synthesize melanin pigment in the form of melanosomes. Melanin pigment is also passed on to basal keratinocytes.

Melanogenesis – The process whereby melanin is produced in the body.

Melanophage – A Macrophage that has ingested melanin pigment lost from the melanocytes or keratinocytes.

Melanosome/s – Structures found in melanocytes that contain pigment.

Mendel’s first law – The law of “Segregation of Characteristics”.  The alleles of a gene pair segregate from each other during meiosis; each gamete has an equal probability of obtaining either member of the gene pair.

Mendel’s second law – The law of “Independent Assortment”.  The alleles of different genes assort independently.

Mendelian ratio – A ratio of offspring phenotypes that reflect the operation of Mendel’s laws.

Messenger RNA (mRNA) – A type of RNA synthesized from DNA in the genetic material that attaches to ribosomes in the cytoplasm and specifies the primary structure of a protein.

Metabolite – A drug molecule that has undergone metabolism, can be less or more active than the parent drug.

Metastasis – The migration of cancerous cells to other parts of the body.

Methylation  – A biochemical process that involves the modification of a molecule by the addition of a methyl group to DNA.  Thought to be a mechanism in X-chromosome inactivation, imprinting, and gene silencing.  See

Metritis – A uterine inflammation.

Microevolution – A change in the gene pool of a population over a succession of generations.

Mi-Ke – The coat markings in a Japanese Bobtail cat that display three colors (black, red and white).

Milk kneading – The treading motion a kitten makes when nursing to stimulate milk production; The treading motion an adult makes when happy and reverting to kittenhood. Also called making puddings, making bread, kneading, trampling, treading or pitty patting.

Mink – A coat pattern in cats that is halfway between that of a color point and a sepia coat pattern. e.g. Tonkinese; A cat that possesses the codominant alleles from the color point allele and the sepia allele (cs/cb). A cat with these alleles results in a coat pattern formed by moderately thermo-liable tyrosinase, and thus only forming normal pigmentation on the tail, legs, face and ears, and a moderately lighter coat pigmentation on body. See Himalayan Series.

Miosis – Constriction of the pupil.

Mitochondrial DNA – DNA contained within the mitochondria.  Mitochondria are the only part of the body with their own separate unique DNA and is entirely inherited from the mother.

Microcornea – An abnormally small cornea.

Mitral valve – One of the 4 heart valve: A two-leaflet valve that permits blood to flow one way from the left atrium into the left ventricle.

Mitted – White feet markings on a cat. Seen in breeds such as Ragdolls, Birmans etc. Also called Socks, Gloves, Gauntlets, and Spurs.

Mittens – Same as gloves on the front feet of a Birman. A term used to describe the white paws or socks on a domestic cat/kitten.

Modified live vaccine – Attenuated vaccine in which the virus is weakened and no longer produces clinical disease.

Modified wedge – Used to describe the shape/length of the face from the ears to the chin.

Modifier gene – A gene that affects the phenotypic expression of another gene.

Moggie – Mixed breed cat.

Monocyte – A type of white blood cell.

Monohybrid – A cat (organism) that is heterozygous at one loci (one trait).

Monohybrid Cross  A cross between two cats (individuals) identically heterozygous at one  loci  E.g Dd/Dd

Monorchid –  An adult male cat which only has one descended testicle.

Monosomy – The absence of one chromosome. See Aneuploidy.

Morphology – The structure and form of an organism.

Mortality – Death.

Moribund – Approaching death or being in a state of dying.

Mosaic – Individual composed of tissues with different genetic make-up. Some tortoiseshell males are mosaics.

mRNA – See Messenger RNA.

Mucositis– Is the inflammation of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

Multifactorial – A trait/characteristic influenced in its expression by many factors, both environmental and genetic.

Multihybrid – A cat (organism) that is heterozygous at numerous loci.

Musculoskeletal – Pertaining the muscles and skeleton

Mutagen – An agent/substance that is capable of increasing the mutation rate.

Mutation – Any change in the DNA of a cell. Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment. Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited. Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases.

Mutation breed – A breed of cat that developed from a spontaneous mutation event. e.g. Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Sphynx, American Curl etc.

Mutation breeding – The use of mutagens to develop variants or new breeds.

Mutation event – The actual occurrence of a mutation in time and space.

Mutation frequency – The frequency of mutations in a population.

Mutational load – Genetic Load caused by mutation. See Genetic Load.

Muzzle – The nose and jaws of a cat.

Muzzle break – A change of direction between the muzzle and the cheekbones of a cat.

Mydriasis – Dilatation of the pupil.

Myeloma – A cancer of the bone marrow.

Myocardial – Referring to the heart’s muscle mass.

Myocardial infarction – Heart attack; Death of part of the heart muscle that is caused by an obstruction to its blood supply (coronary artery).

Myocarditis – Inflammation of heart muscle.

Myocardium – Heart muscle.

Myopathy – Diseases of voluntary muscles. e.g. Hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy, Devon Rex Hereditary Myopathy.

Nares – The nostrils; the external openings of the nasal cavity.

Natural breed – A breeds of cat that has developed without the assistance of humans or selective breeding. e.g. Siamese, Abyssinian, Turkish Van, Russian Blue, etc.

Nebulizer – A machine that turns liquid medication into a mist for inhaling.

Necropsy – Animal equivalent of an autopsy.

Needle biopsy – The removal of tissue or fluid with a needle for examination under a microscope. Also called fine-needle aspiration.

Nematode – Any of many intestinal roundworms.

Neo-Darwinism – A merger of population genetics with classical Darwinian evolution theories.

Neonatal – A newborn kitten.

Neonatal Isoerythrolysis (NI) – A blood type incompatibility between kittens and their mothers; Kittens that are blood type-A, born to mothers that are Type-B can sometimes become ill and possibly die because of an antibody reaction from milk received from the mother in the first 16-24 hours of life. Symptoms of NI can include; sudden death, failure to suckle, blood in the urine or on the feet, loss of tail tips with in the first week. Early blood transfusions into the neonates may save them. Supplement feeding kittens at risk for the first 16-24 hours of life and then returning them to the queen will ensure no NI.

Nesting – Behavior some female mammals exhibit immediately before they give birth. They bunker down in their “nest” (usually a quiet, enclosed spot) in preparation for the onset of labor.

Neuromuscular – Anything that relates to the nerves and muscles.

Neuter Desexing of male cat.

NFO – Norwegian Forest Cat.

Nictitating membrane – Transparent third eyelid – located at the inside corner of a cat’s eyes.

Nocturia – Excessive urination at night.

Nogmog – Nickname for Norwegian Forest Cat.

Non-agouti – A self-colored cat; a cat with no agouti banding; a cat-free of tabby markings; The non-agouti allele works by depositing eumelanin on the hair shafts, filing in the background color with the same color as the agouti banding (tabby pattern), making the tabby stripes disappear. Creating a solid or self-color cat.

Norm of reaction – The pattern of phenotypes produced by a particular genotype under different environmental conditions.

Nose leather – where the nostrils are located at the end of the cat’s nose.

NSAID – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Nucleic acid – A large molecule composed of nucleotide subunits. See DNA

NZCFA – New Zealand Cat Fancier’s Association.

Obligate carrier – A cat (organism) that must carry a recessive mutant gene based on analysis of the pedigree. This usually applies to disorders inherited in an autosomal recessive or X-linked recessive mode.

Odd Eyed –  A cat that has one blue eye and the other eye may be gold, green or copper. Some breeders breed specifically to product the odd eyed cat.

OCI – Ocicat.

Ocular – Referring to the eye.

Olfactory– Relating to scent.

Oncology – The study of the causes, properties, disease progression and treatment of tumors and cancers.

Onychectomy – Declawing, surgical removal of the cat’s claw and first joint, including bones, joints and ligaments.

Open show – A show in which spectators (both exhibitors and paying public) are able to view the judging of the cats.

Opioid –Narcotic drug, natural or synthetic

Oral drug administration – Administration through the mouth.

Orbit – The eye socket.

Organelle – A specialized part of a cell; analogous to an organ.

Organism – Any living creature.

ORI – Oriental Shorthair.

Ornamentals – Affectionate nickname for Orientals.

Outbreeding – Breeding in which inbreeding is deliberately avoided.

Outcross – Breeding of one cat to another unrelated one.

Out of Coat – Refers to the longhaired and Rex cat breeds during molting or following a hot summer when their coats are thin or sparse. It can also refer to a cat that has a coat in poor condition and not fit for showing.

Ovariohysterectomy – Removal of the uterus and ovaries in the female. Also known as spaying a female cat.

Overshot jaw – The upper jaw of a cat protrudes further than the lower jaw and thus the feet do not meet together – A serious fault in any breed of cat.

Over Typed – A pedigree cat that matches to the breed standard in the extreme and often to the detriment of particular features of the cat. e.g. The standard may say short nose, and the cat’s nose is very short but so short that it causes breathing difficulties.

P1 – Parental generation.

Pads – The thick skin on the bottom of a cat’s feet.

Papers – The pedigree cat’s official pedigree.

Papillae – Are the small and pointed hooks on a cat’s tongue that gives the tongue its rough surface.

Parasite – An organism that lives on or in a host animal, such as worms, ticks, fleas etc.

Parenteral drug administration – Administration other than through gastrointestinal tract e.g. intravenous, subcutaneous, intramuscular.

Parti-color – Coat markings on a cat that consist of two or more distinct patches of color.

Passive immunity –immunity resulting from the transfer of antibodies or immune cells from an immune to a non-immune individual, compare with active immunity.

Patched – Any solid color, tortoiseshell or tabby pattern plus white.

Paroxysmal coughing – A series of loud exhalations often followed by a deep inspiration.

Parturition – The act of giving birth to offspring.

Pathogen – Organism that is capable of causing disease.

PCR – Polymerase chain reaction.

Pedigree – A purebred cat and or the cat’s papers outlining its family history.

Pedomorphosis – The continuance of infantile, foetal or embryonic characteristics into adulthood.

Pelage– Fur.

Pencilling – Fine lines on a tabby cat’s cheeks. Also used to describe the black coloration on the lids of some breeds, such as Burmilla.

Penetrance – A cat (organism) that possesses a gene (usually dominant) for a trait or disorder but shows variable degrees of expression or symptoms for the trait/disorder. If all cats (organisms) with the gene show the trait or disorder then it is said to have complete penetrance. But if only some cats (organisms) with the gene show the trait or disorder then gene is said to have incomplete penetrance.

PER – Persian.

Percussion (medical examination) – Striking the fingers on a body surface to produce sound.

Periocular leukotrichia – A transient condition in color point cats, predominately female Siamese that is characterized by a patchy or complete lightening of color of hairs around the eyes. Giving facial markings that have a “goggle” like appearance. The condition relates to various stresses, pregnancy, illnesses, nutritional deficiency and/or hormonal fluctuations. The hair color generally returns to normal after 2 hair cycles.

Periodic paralysis – Bouts of limb and neck weakness and paralysis ranging from severe episodic bouts to milder episodes bouts. Includes the hypokalemic and hyperkalemic types.

Petechiae– Small red dots under the skin that are the result of very small bleeds.

Pet quality – A cat that is not deemed of a high enough standard to breed or show with.

Pewter – See Shaded Silver.

P Generation – Parental generation.

Pharmacokinetics – ‘what the body does to the drug’. The quantitative description of the process of drug absorption and disposition.

Pharmacodynamics– ‘what the drug does to the body’, the study of uptake, movement, binding and interactions of drugs at their sites of action.

Phenocopy – A phenotype that is not genetically controlled but looks like a genetically controlled phenotype. An environmentally induced phenotype that resembles the phenotype produced by a mutation.

Phenotypic variance – Variances of phenotypes due to both genotypic and environmental factors.

Pheomelanin – Is a form of melanin that produces the red shades in cats.

Pheontype – Outward appearance of a cat.

Phyletic extinction – See Pseudoextinction

Phyletic gradualism – The process of gradual evolutionary change over time.

Phylogenetic – The evolutionary relationships with and between groups of organisms.

Phylogenetic tree – A diagram that shows the evolutionary lineages of organisms.

Phylogeny/Phylogenesis/Phylogenetics – The evolutionary history and relationship of a group of organisms; the sequence of events that make up the evolutionary past. See phylogenetic tree.

Phylum – One of the major groupings of the Animal Kingdom in Linnean Classification, cats belong to the chordate phylum.

Pica – Unusual behavior when the cat chews and or eats on unusual things such as wool.

Pigment – Any substance whose presence in the tissues or cells of a cat (organism) colors them. Melanin is the pigment produced by skin cells (melanocytes) that colors the skin.

Pigment incontinence – Basal layer damage results in damage to melanocytes with loss of pigment into the dermis where it is taken up by macrophages. See Epidermal layers, melanocytes, and macrophages.

Piebald – A cat with patches of white fur.

Pinch – A break in the straight lines of a muzzle, a fault in some breeds.

Pinking Up – Nipples of mated pregnant female usually turn pink around 3 weeks after a successful mating.

Pinna – The ear flap.

Pixie Cats – Affectionate nickname for Devon Rex.

PKD – Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited disorder in which clusters of cysts develop in the kidneys. The cysts in the polycystic kidney disease are noncancerous sacs containing water-like fluid.

Plantar –  The bottom of the foot.

Plasma– The watery, liquid part of the blood in which the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and platelets are suspended.

Plasmid – An extrachromosomal genetic element that is not essential for growth and has no extracellular form.

Platelets– Cells found in the blood, that are needed to help the blood to clot in order to control bleeding.

Platinum – Another name for the coloration found in cats called Lilac. Sometimes used for lilac Burmese or Tonkinese.

Pneumonia – Inflammation of the lungs.

Pneumothorax – Collapse of the lung due to air in the pleural space.

Pointed – Siamese, Himalayans and Birmans are termed Pointed cats.

Points – Mask, ears, legs and tails are different/contrasting colors to body color. Also, points are allocated to a cat as required to meet the Standard for that breed.

Polyandrous– Female mates with more than one male during the mating season.

Polydactyl – Cat with more than the normal number of toes. Also known as Hemingway Cats.

Polyestrus – A female that comes into estrus more than once a year.

Polygamous – Having more than one mate during a breeding season.

Polygenic – Hereditary variations in a trait/s that are due to the influence of many genes at many loci.

Polygynous – Male mates with more than one female during the mating season.

Polypeptide – A protein; a chain of linked amino acids.

Polyploid – A cell with extra chromosome sets.

Polyuria – Production of large volumes of urine.

Population – An interbreeding community of cats (organisms), which share a common gene pool.

Population density – The number of cats (organisms) of a population per unit area of a particular territory.

Population genetics – The study of inherited variations in populations and their modifications and development in time and space.

Population size – The number of cats (organisms) in a population that is included in reproduction during a particular generation.

Population waves – Irregular or recurring changes of the number of cats (organisms) in a population that are included in reproduction during particular generations.

Post parturition – Occurs shortly after birth.

Pot belly – A distended belly of a cat or kitten. Often seen in kittens with heave worm infestations.

Potency – The relative pharmacological activity of a drug, the higher the potency, the less drug is required for the same effect, reflected by EC50 and ED50

Predatory – Habitually hunting and killing other animals for food.

Predisposition – To have a tendency or inclination towards something in advance.

Predisposition (genetic) – A cat (organism) that is intrinsically more prone to develop a particular disorder.

Premier – A title obtained by neutered cats in some associations, which is the equivalent of the title champion in entire cats.

Prepotent – A cat (organism) that has a strong genetic/hereditary influence on its offspring. So much so that the offspring consistently resemble the prepotent parent.

Pricked – Description of ears – meaning they sit upright, and do not fold over.

Prefix – A cattery name used at the beginning of the cat’s name of each cat bred and registered by the cattery.

Primase – An enzyme that creates an RNA primer for initiation of DNA replication.

Prize stewards – People at a cat show responsible for handing out prizes, ribbons and rosettes to winning cats.

Probability – The frequency of an event in a number of repetitions of an experiment.

Probability of detection – The likelihood of finding the presence of a recessive allele in a cat (organism) by progeny testing (test mating). The probability that at least one progeny, out of the number observed, will show the recessive genotype.

Pro-drug – A drug which is administered inactive, but is metabolized to its active form within the body.

Progeny – Offspring.

Progeny test – Performing a test mating/s of a cat (organism) to obtain progeny (offspring) for observation, to obtain information about that individual cats (organisms) genotype or genetic merit. E.g. Testing for the presence of recessive alleles, or testing the mode of inheritance of particular alleles.

Progesterone – A female sex hormone that originates first from the corpus luteum and then from the placenta.

Prolactin – A hormone that is released after the queen delivers her kittens that produces breast milk in the alveolar cells. Whenever a kitten suckles, more prolactin is released, thus producing more milk.

Prophylaxis – Treatment, usually immunological or chemotherapeutic, designed to protect an individual from a future attack by a pathogen.

Proto – Earliest; First.

Protoplasm – The living substance of a cell (including cytoplasm and nucleus). See Cytoplasm.

Provisional – Breeds that have not yet achieved the rights to compete at championship.

Pseudocyesis – False pregnancy.

Pseudogene – An inactive gene inherited from an ancestral active gene.

Pseudogenes – A gene which has acquired a nonsense mutation and lost its transcription ability.

Pseudopregnancy – False pregnancy.

Ptosis – Abnormal downward displacement of a body part. e.g., drooping of the upper eyelid.

Pulse – The pulse of a cat at rest is about 100 beats per minute.

Punnett square – A table used to chart and analyze the results of a cross between to parents; A visual representation of a particular cross used to predict the genotype of progeny; A grid used to display the possible progeny zygotes resulting from different gamete fusions in a specific parental cross. Named after Dr Punnett.

Purebred – Pedigreed cat.

Purpura– The bluish-purple color of skin after blood has “seeped” under it, as seen in bruising.

Pus – A protein-rich liquid inflammation product consisting of cells (white blood cells or leukocytes), a thin fluid, and cellular debris.

Pyogenic – Producing pus.

Pyometra – Infection of the uterus. Pyometra is a bacterial infection in your cat's uterus. It's a potentially fatal infection that requires urgent medical treatment. The uterus of cats who have pyometra is filled with pus. Pyometra can occur in any cat who hasn't been spayed, but it's more common in older cats.


Quarantine – to isolate from other animals. Animals imported from overseas are required by law to spend time in Quarantine.

Queen – Entire female cat.

Queening – Giving birth to kittens.

Quick – Used to describe the cuticle area that a cat’s claws are sheathed in.

RAG – Ragdoll cat.

Raggie – Affectionate nickname for Ragdoll cats.

Rales (respiration) – the sound of air moving through fluid in alveoli; a crackling sound.

Ram – Archaic term for a tomcat.

Random bred – Non-pedigreed; mixed breed cats; DSH, DLH; Moggies.

Random mutagenesis – Random appearance, occurrence or indication of a mutation.

Rang – A long body shape.

Receptor – Structural protein molecule that can bind a drug, hormone, etc…

Recessive gene – An allele whose expression is over-ridden by another at the same locus. The allele whose expression vanishes in the F1 but appears in the F2.

Recognition – Acceptance of the standard or cat breed by a cat body for show and registration.

Red – A sex-linked (X Chromosome) coat color in a cat; orange, ginger or marmalade or “Garfield” coat color.

Red blood cells (RBCs)– Blood that transports oxygen to all the tissues in the body. RBC’s contain hemoglobin and it is the hemoglobin which permits them to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide. Hemoglobin is also a pigment and it gives the cells their red color.

Reflex – An automatic, involuntary movement.

Registrar – A person responsible for recording the details of registered litters, kittens submitted by the breeder.

Registered cat – Cat is registered with an approved National or State recognized Cat club/body.

Registered name – The official name that a cat is registered as. The name will include the breeder’s cattery name and may include the owner’s cattery name and championship titles earned.

Registration – Responsible breeders apply for registration of litters bred and all cats kept by them. Also local government laws require cats/dogs to have annual registration.

Registration number – A unique number given to a cat by its registration body at the time of its registration to identify that cat. Each registration body uses its own numbering system.

Registration rules – The guidelines and rules set up by the registration body in regard to the registration of cats, cats names, litters, and catteries.

Registry – The governing cat body that registers cats, litters and catteries.

Renal – Relating to the kidneys

Reproductive cells – Sex chromosomes or Gametes.

Retina – The light processing membrane; converts light into electrical impulses and transmits them to the optic nerve.

Reginal detachment – The retina pulls away from deeper layers of the eye and thus cannot function. If this condition remains unprepared the retina will degenerate.

Retinitis – Inflammation of the retina.

Retraction (respiration) – An inward movement of the chest wall on inspiration.

Reversion – A second mutation event where the mutant gene returns to the wild-type gene. See Forward Mutation.

Rex – Cats that have varying genetic mutations that effects their coats, which turn a cat’s normally straight coat into curls, waves or ripples eg: Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, German Rex, LaPerm, Selkirk Rex, etc.  This gene is also found in other species of animal.

Rhinotracheitis – Commonly used to describe the cat flu

Ring – The area in which judging is performed.

Ringed – Tails of tabby cats are ringed in ground colors and contrasting coat color.

Rolling – The posturing of a queen in estrus.

Roman nose – A term used to describe a cat that has a nose with a bump or arch, as seen in Birmans.

Roman profile – A term used to describe a cat that has a profile that has a downward curve from the forehead to the tip of the nose. e.g. Cornish Rex.

Rooting – A reflex in newborn kittens to turn their head and search for a nipple and milk.

Rooting reflex – The hormonally induced desire in newborn kittens to head for their mother in search of milk and start suckling from their mother’s nipples. Birth trauma or being premature may sometimes inhibit or stunt this reflex and result in kittens that fail to root for a period of time. Supplement feeding for a short period of time is necessary if this reflex fails to start. See Suckle Reflex.

Rosettes – Non-domestic spotting. Seen in the Bengal cat.

Ruddy – Used to describe coat color – as in Abyssinians.

Ruff – The hairs around a longhaired cat’s neck.

Rufinism – Degree of yellow/brown tint caused by the orange/yellow pigment.

Rumpy – A Manx cat with no tail.

Rumpy riser – A Manx cat showing a trace of a tail.

Runner – A person who collects the judging slips during a cat show.

RUS – Russian Blue.

Rust or rustiness – Traces of a reddish-brown fur seen in the coat of a black cat. Also, rust is the terminology for the eye discharge commonly in a Persian, Himalayan, or Exotic Shorthair or your brachiocephalic (flat faced breeds).

Sanguineous – Bloody; relating to blood.

SBI – Birman cat.

S.C. or S.Q. – Subcutaneously, into the loose tissue immediately beneath the skin.

Scalloped – A term used to describe the white areas on the feet as on the Ragdoll cats.

Scapula – The shoulder blade.

Scarab – The “M” shaped markings seen on the forehead of tabby cats.

Schedule – The printed information that announces and outlines the classes and judges for a particular cat show.

Scottish lop – Archaic name for Scottish fold cat.

Scrotum – Sac containing the testes.

Scruff – The loose skin at the nape or back of a cat’s neck.

Selection – The process of choosing a cat (organism) for the next generation of breeding or showing.  Selection may be natural selection, ie, the survival of the fittest, or artificial selection (a set of human-imposed rules determining which cats (organisms) have the correct qualities to show and or reproduce).

Selection coefficient/s – The comparative excess or deficiency of fitness of one genotype in relation to another genotype.

Selection intensity – The proportion of a population of tested cats (organisms) that have been selected and maintained for breeding purposes.

Selective breeding – A method of improving/modifying a breed (species) by choosing cats (organisms) that have desirable traits to produce offspring with these traits.

Selfish DNA – A segment of the genome with no obvious functionality other than to ensure it replicates itself.

Semi-foreign – A term used to describe a cat’s body type that is tubular and long, but not quite as extreme as cats with an oriental or foreign body type cats. e.g. Devon Rex, Ocicat, Tonkinese etc.

Senior – A cat that is older than 5 years, but less than 7 years.

Sepia – A coat pattern in cats controlled by the sepia alleles (cb/cb). e.g. Burmese. A cat with these alleles has slightly thermo-liable tyrosinase and thus results in a coat pattern that has normal pigmentation on the tail, legs, face and ears, and slightly lighter coat pigmentation on the body. The sepia alleles (cb/cb) are the least thermo-liable tyrosinase of cats from the Himalayan series. See Himalayan Series.

Serum – See Blood Serum.

Set Type – A breeding term that describes the process of breeding several generations of cats with particular traits in the hope of producing offspring with these traits and they will pass them on to further offspring.

Sex-controlled trait – A traits that appear more often in one sex than in the other sex.

Sex-limited trait – A trait expressed in only one sex. It may be controlled by sex-linked or autosomal loci.

Sex-Linked – The inheritance pattern of loci located on the sex chromosomes, also refers to the loci themselves. E.g, Red coloration in cats is sex-linked.

Sex-linked gene – Refers to the ‘O’ gene (orange – commonly called red in domestic cats.)

Shaded – Referring to the coat pattern where the hair lacks the normal agouti banding pattern, and instead has very wide bands that make a large portion of the coat white with the base which shows the base coloration (black, blue, chocolate etc.) starting almost halfway down the hair shaft and extending to the tip; Genetically they are silver tabbies and their base color (black/chocolate/cinnamon and their dilute forms) with modified agouti banding. See Silver.

Shedding – Molting. Also shedding is used to describe an animal that has an infection which it shows no outward signs of disease, but the immune system isn’t able to fully rid the organism and the animal often sheds it in the feces etc.

Shell – Referring to the coat pattern where the hair lacks the normal agouti banding pattern, and instead has very wide bands that make the majority of the coat white except at the very tips which are red or its dilute cream or tortoiseshell, i.e., shell cameo = Red tipped, or a shell cream cameo = cream tipped; Genetically they are red, cream and tortie silver tabbies with modified agouti banding See Tipped and Cameo.

Show manager – The person responsible for managing and organizing a cat show.

SIA – Siamese.

SIB – Siberian.

Sibling – Brothers and sisters.

Silver – Refers to coat patterns on cats that belong to the silver series i.e., tipped/chinchilla/shell, shaded, silver tabby, and smoke; Coat patterns effected by the Inhibitor allele.

Silver tabby – The coat pattern of a cat where they wild type agouti banding is turned into a silverish white between the cat’s base color (black/chocolate/cinnamon/red and their dilute forms); Colored tabby markings on a silver-white ground color. Silver Tabbies come in all tabby varieties (ticked, Mackerel, Classic, and spotted) Silver Tabby cats agouti banding can be highly modified resulting in tipped/chinchilla/shell and shaded coat patterns.

Single-gene disorder – A hereditary disorder that is caused by a single gene mutation.

Sire – Male parent.

Slinkies – Nickname for Oriental and Siamese cats.

Slow-release – Drug formulation in which drug is released slowly, so it has to be taken less frequent.

Smoke – The coat color of a non-agouti cat which is white at the hair base and with colored hair (black, blue, chocolate etc.) on the majority of the hair shaft.

Sociobiology – The study of the evolution of social behavior in animals.

Socks – See Mitted.

SOK – Sokoke cat.

Solid or self – A cat with a single coat color; a non-agouti cat with hairs of one color.

Solution – A liquid in which all other particles are dissolved.

SOM – Somali.

SOP – Standard of Points.

Spanish Cat – An archaic name for a tortie and white.

Spay – Desexing of a female cat.

Speuter – A combination of the words “spay” and “neuter”; To alter, desex a cat.

SPH – Sphynx.

Spotted tabby – Coat pattern with dark spots against a lighter background.

Spottie – A nickname for a spotted tabby.

Spur – See Mitted.

Steward – The judges assistant at a cat show. They may be required to do paperwork, clean down the judging area and handle cats.

Spraying – The deliberate urination of a cat to mark his/her territory.

Steatorrhea –  Fat in stools.

Sternum – Breastbone.

Stock – Breeding cats.

Strabismus – A misalignment of the eyes: the eyes point in differing directions. Crossed eyes (esotropia) is one type of strabismus; “wall-eyes” or exotropia (one eye that is turned outwards) is another. Esotropia is sometimes seen in Siamese and related breeds.

Steady state – Plateau in drug concentration vs. time profile, when the rate of administration equals the rate of elimination.

Stridor – A high-pitched inspiratory sound.

Striped tabby – Alternative name for Mackerel tabby.

Stochastic – Concerning change or probability; A random variable.

Stools – Bowel excretions.

Stroma – The thickest part of the cornea. This middle tissue layer of the eye makes up about 90 percent of the cornea. The stroma is composed of densely packed layers.

Stropping – When a cat sharpens its claws.

Stud – Entire male cat.

Stud book – A book that records the details of registered cats. Cats name, Sire, Dam, color, date of birth of both studs and queens and often desexed cats.

Stud tail – Stud tail (tail gland hyperplasia) most commonly seen in entire male cats who are sexually active, however, it can also occur in desexed males and both entire and desexed females.  The supracaudal organ comprises a group of modified sebaceous glands which are located along the top of the tail. Hyperactivity of these glands causes stud tail.

Stumpy – A Manx cat with a residual tail.

Sub-mental organ – A small gland on the cat’s chin.

Suckle reflex – The hormonally induced desire in newborn kittens to suckle from their mother’s nipples. This includes the ability of the kitten’s mouth to hold the correct tension, together with the ability to move the tongue correctly. Some premature kittens have difficulty suckling for a period of time due to a poorly developed suckle reflex. A failure or earlier reflexes such as rooting reflex can also inhibit this reflex. Supplement feeding is necessary to get the kitten past this stage. See Rooting Reflex.

Suffix – See Affix.

Supercoil – A closed double-stranded DNA molecule that is twisted on itself.

Superfecundation – Offspring sired by different males in the same litter.

Supergene – Several loci that generally control related aspects of a cat (organism’s) phenotype, that are in close physical association.

Sup feeding – See Supplement Feeding.

Supplement feeding – Hand feeding a kitten or kittens a milk formula, via bottle, dropper, syringe, or tube to supplement mother’s milk for varying reasons i.e. lack of milk supply or orphaned kittens.

Survival of the fittest – The key to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection; The survival of only those organisms that are ‘fittest’ to obtain and use resources.

Suspension – A liquid with small solid particles dispersed through, has to be shaken before administration.

Symbiosis – The close association of two organisms where both receive an advantage from the association.

Synapsis – The gene by gene alignment of homologous chromosomes during meiosis.

Syncytium – A single cell with many nuclei.

Syngeneic – Genetically identical (isogeneic) members of the same species like monozygotic twins (identical twins).

T Cell – A small lymphocyte developed in the thymus. It orchestrates the immune system’s response to infected or malignant cells.

Tabby Pattern – Mackerel Tabby, Classic Tabby (also referred to as Blotched Tabby), Spotted Tabby, a pattern of contrasting color “superimposed” over a ground color.

Tachypnea – Rapid respirations.

Tapetum lucidum – Reflective layer which is beneath the retina. It is the tapetum lucidum that makes a cat’s eyes shine in the dark.

Taurine – An essential amino acid (known as 2-Aminoethanesulfonic Acid) essential to cats. Taurine deficiency can lead to cardiac, visual and reproductive problems including eye lesions (central retinal degeneration) and dilated cardiomyopathy. If the situation isn’t remedied, total blindness can occur. Taurine is found in animal tissue.

Taxon or taxa (plural) – A formally named taxonomic unit or group of genetically similar organisms classified together as a species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom. Mammalia is a taxon, so is Felis, and Chordata; Phylogenetically related groups of organisms. – See Taxonomic.

Taxonomic – The classification of organisms according to their evolutionary and genetic relationship.

Taxonomy – The theories, principles and methods for characterizing, classifying, and naming organism into their evolutionary groups; The classification of organisms into groups due to common ancestry.

Teddy bear cats – Affectionate nickname for Exotics.

Telegony – The myth that the sire from a previous mating can influence the offspring of a succeeding sire.

Temperature – The body temperature of a cat. The normal temperature of a cat is 38.6 C or 101.5 F

Teratogens – Any agent or substance that can increase the incidence of congenital malformations when the foetus is exposed to it during pregnancy.

Test Mating– see Progeny Test.

Testes – Testicles.

Tetratological lethal – A lethal gene that either causes death at birth or shortly afterwards.

Therapeutic index – The ratio of the maximally tolerated dose of a drug to the minimal effective dose.

Thermal liable tyrosinase or Heat sensitive tyrosinase. – Cats of the Himalayan series (color points, minks, sepias (semi-albinos) have heat-sensitive tyrosinase. Normal tyrosinase converts the amino acid tyrosine into melanin (pigment). In Himalayan series cats, this enzyme diminishes at normal body temperature, thus color is formed only on the colder extremities of the body (legs, tail ears, face). A sepia cat (cb/cb) has only slightly thermo-liable tyrosinase, a mink cat (cb/cs) has slightly more thermo-liable tyrosinase, and a color point cat (cs/cs) has even more thermo-liable tyrosinase. Then there are the albino cats, which may be lacking tyrosinase all together, as in the pink-eyed albino cat (ca/ca). See Tyrosine.

Theriogenology – Study of reproduction.

Thrombin– A blood coagulation enzyme, made from prothrombin, which circulates in the blood.  Thrombinenables conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin, thus forming a clot.

Thrombin time (TT) test– A test used to evaluate the final steps of the coagulation pathway. The TT is the time in seconds required for a fibrin clot to form in a sample after a known amount of thrombin has been added.

Thrombocytopenia – An abnormally small number or decrease of circulating platelets in the blood.

Thumb-mark – A distinctive mark on the back of a tabby cat’s ear that looks like a thumbprint.

Thymus – Organ located in the chest which regulates the maturation of T-cells.

Thyroxine – A hormone produced by the thyroid glands to regulate metabolism by controlling the rate of oxidation in cells.

TICA – The International Cat Association.

Ticked tabby – The tabby pattern in cat’s coats that shows the least amount of tabby markings. The individual hairs are heavily ticked and consisting of three or four separate bands of color on each hair shaft. The torso exhibits a fine pattern that gives a soft tweed effect or a wild rabbit look. Occasionally there is some barring on the inner front, back legs, tail and necklace tracings. It is sometimes called the Aby Tabby or the Agouti Tabby.

TIF – Tiffany.

Tipped – Referring to the coat pattern where the hair lacks the normal agouti banding pattern, and instead has very wide bands that make the majority of the coat white except at the very tips which show the base coloration (black, blue, chocolate etc.). Called Shell when red/cream coloration is involved; Genetically they are silver tabbies and their base color (black/chocolate/cinnamon and their dilute forms) with modified agouti banding.

Titre – The measure of antibodies in the bloodstream.

Tolerance – The ability to be less responsive to a drug after continued or repeated exposure.

Tom cat – An entire male cat.

Top coat – The upper layer of fur on the cat that is comprised of guard hairs.

Torbie – A coat pattern in a cat that is a combination of tortoiseshell and a tabby. Sometimes called a Patched Tabby.

Tortie – Tortoiseshell coat coloring.

Tortie and white – A coat pattern in a cat that consists of tortoiseshell and white. Sometimes called a calico.

Tortoiseshell – A coat pattern in a cat that consists of a mosaic blend of red or its dilute cream and another base color such as blue, chocolate, cinnamon and their dilute forms. i.e. a blue tortoiseshell, black tortoiseshell etc. Usually only found in females due to red/cream being sex-linked to the X chromosome.

Toxicology – The study of poisons, including their source, chemical composition, action, tests and antidotes.

Tracheostomy – An opening into the trachea to provide air access.

Tracheotomy – the procedure to construct a tracheostomy.

Trichiasis – A condition in which the eyelashes grow inwardly (towards the eye).

Tri-color – A cat with three distinct colors on its coat. See Tortie and white.

Trait – A character, usually inherited.

Trait hybridization –  The crossing of two organisms (usually intraspecific)  with differing phenotypes/traits creating a new or improved phenotype/trait. The act of hybridizing a key trait of a particular breed.

Transgenic – Organism/s that have had foreign DNA inserted into their genome.

Trihybrid – A cat (organism) that is heterozygous at three loci (3 traits).

Trihybrid Cross – A cross between two cats (individuals) identically heterozygous at three loci  E.g, AaBbDd/AaBbDd.

Trisomy – the presence of one extra chromosome.

TUA – Turkish Angora.

Tube feeding – Feeding kittens or cats via a thin tube inserted down the throat into the stomach and then syringing milk formula directly and slowly down the tube into the stomach of the kitten in measured doses. Around 1 ml per 30 grams of weight.

Tubular – A term used to describe a cat’s body shape hat is tube-like in shape; having the same circumference at any point along its length.

Tuck up or Tucked up – A term used to describe a curved spine creating a drawing in of the flank as seen in Cornish Rex cats and greyhounds dogs. It is the opposite of great depth of flank.

Tufts – Hair on the tips of the cat’s ears and or between the cat’s toes.

TUV – Turkish Van cat.

Tuxedo – A black and white cat.

Type – The conformation of a cat.

Tyr – Tyrosine.

Tyrosinase – Is a copper-containing enzyme of cats (and other organisms) that is a catalyst in the conversion of tyrosine to the pigment melanin. The enzyme essential in the synthesis of melanin and inactivity of this enzyme results in albinism. Tyrosinase is also thermal liable (temperature-sensitive). See Thermal liable tyrosinase.

Tyrosinase-negative albinism – An albino whose cells lack tyrosinase, usually producing a pale white animal with yellowish or cream tinting with pink eyes.

Tyrosinase-positive albinism – An albino not able to synthesize melanin, but able to synthesize tyrosinase, often resulting in a white animal with fawn or lavender tinting. This is a form of “partial albinism” and relatively common in the animal world.

Tyrosine – An aromatic amino acid that is obtained from the hydrolysis of proteins and is a precursor of epinephrine, thyroxine, melanin and other important compounds. It is needed to make melanin (the pigment in cat’s skin and hair). If a cat (organism) can’t make tyrosine then it can’t make melanin. i.e., Albino. Overly active tyrosine can produce areas of highly pigmented skin/hair or result in melanomas.

Typey – A pedigree cat that conforms exactly its breed standard.

Umbilical hernia – A Hernia that occurs in the cat’s umbilicus (belly button); When the abdominal wall is pushed out because of weakness or failure of muscular fusion after birth, a loop of intestine moves into the gap or weakened area at the belly button and causes the hernia. Surgical correction is sometimes required, but often the kitten grows the muscle layers increase and fuse, eliminating the hernia. There is a hereditary aspect to umbilical hernias in cats. See Incarceration.

Umbilicus – Belly Button.

Unable to handle – A cat at a cat show that was not able to be handled during the time of the show. usually because of aggression. In many cat bodies if a cat is given 3 UTH’s the cat is no longer able to be shown.

Unaltered – Entire cats; cats that have not been neutered or spayed.

Undershot jaw – The lower jaw of a cat protrudes further than the upper jaw and thus the teeth do not meet together. A serious fault in any breed of cat.

URI – Upper respiratory infection.

UTH – See Unable to handle.

UTI – Urinary Tract infection.

Uvea – The Middle layer of the eye, consisting of the iris, ciliary body and choroid.

Uveitis – Inflammation of the uvea. It is divided into anterior, intermediate and posterior according to which part of the eye is involved. In most cases, the cause is unknown, but infectious or immunological systemic disorders can cause uveitis.

Van/van pattern – Color markings on a cat that are restricted to the head and tails and leave the body almost white with no more than two small spots of body color.  Turkish Vans always show these markings and thus their name.

Variety – A subdivision of a breed, such as color, or coat length.

Vascular – Referring to the blood vessels.

Vasculitis – Inflammation of a blood vessel.

Vasectomy – Surgical procedure in which the vas deferens is tied. This makes the male cat sterile but doesn’t eliminate sexual behavior. Vasectomised cats are sometimes used in catteries to mate with a queen in heat when a pregnancy is not desired.

Vasodilator – An agent/substance that causes dilatation of the blood vessels.

Ventral –   The belly-side of a cat (animal).

Vestibular apparatus – An organ in a cat’s inner ear that allows it to maneuver so that if that cat falls it will probably land on its feet.

Vet – A veterinarian; A person trained and qualified in Veterinary medicine.

Veteran – A cat that is older than 7 years.

Vetting -A veterinary inspection of a cat.

Vetting in – A veterinary inspection of cat/s prior to being allowed into the show hall

Viability – The probability of a fertilized egg will survive and developing into an adult cat (organism).

Vibration (respiration) – Movement of a hand over the thorax to loosen respiratory secretions.

Vibrissae – Whiskers.

Viremia – Presence of virus in the bloodstream.

Virus – A length of nucleic acid that is surrounded by a protein coat.

Vomeronasal organ – See Jacobson’s organ.

WAHLUND effect – The frequency of homozygotes decreases in the descendants after matings among cats (organisms) of two previously isolated populations.

WBC – White blood cell count.

Weak chin – A receding chin.

Wean – Introducing a baby animal to solid foods, this usually also involves slowly decreasing the amount of milk they receive from their mother.

Wedge – A head type that is a triangular shape.

Wegie – Nickname for Norwegian Forest Cat.

Wheezing – A whistling expiratory sound on breathing or from the lungs.

Whippy – A term used for a cat’s tail that is long, slender and tapering.

Whisker break  – An indentation in the upper jaw

Whisker pad – Thickened, or fatty pads around the whisker area. White – A cat coat color that lacks pigmentation; A cat that has a white colored coat.

White blood cell – Blood cells that engulf and digest bacteria and fungi. An important part of the body’s immune system.

White ringtail – Archaic name for Turkish Van.

Whole – A male or female that has not been spayed or neutered.

Whole cat – See Entire cat.

Wide hybridization or wide cross – A cross/mating combinations between taxonomically remote species or genera.

Wild-type – The phenotype or genotype that is found in nature. The phenotype of the cat (organism) when first seen in nature.

Wrinklies – Affectionate nickname for a group of hairless cats.

Wry bite – A cat that has a crooked jaw formation.

Xanthic –  A cat (animal) that is unusually yellow.

X:A ratio – The ratio between the X chromosome and the number of sets of autosomes.

X chromosome – The female chromosome. This is present in both male and females. The female has two X chromosomes while the male has one X and one Y chromosome.

X chromosome inactivation – The early random inactivation of the genes on one of the X chromosomes in female mammals, that leads to mosaicism for functions/traits that are coded by heterozygous X-linked genes.

X color cats – A coat color expression or modification of genetically black-tabby Norwegian Forest Cats that is not understood or recognized at this time.

Xenoestrogens – Oestrogens which are from outside of the body.

XIC – See X-inactivation center.

X-inactivation center (XIC) – The locus on the X chromosome in cats (mammals) at which inactivation is started.

XLH – Longhaired cat of no particular breed.

X linkage – The inheritance pattern of genes found on the X chromosomes; Genes linked to the X chromosome.

X linked – See sex linkage.

X-over – An abbreviation for cross-over.

XSH – Shorthaired cat of no particular breed.

XYY syndrome – A condition in males that have an extra Y chromosome.

Y chromosome – The male chromosome. This is only present in males. To produce a male, you need an X and a Y chromosome.

Y-junction – The period of time during DNA replication where the double helix opens up so to serve as a template.

Y linkage – The inheritance pattern of genes found on the Y chromosome; Genes linked to the Y chromosome.

Y linked – The Inheritance pattern of loci located on the Y chromosome only; Loci linked to the Y chromosome.

Z DNA – A left-handed form of DNA found under physiological conditions are methylated. It may be important in regulating gene expression.

Ziphoid sternum – The small piece of cartilage which is attached to the lower end of the sternum.

Zoonoses – Diseases transmitted from animals to humans.

Zot – Affectionate nickname for Exotics.

Zygote – Fertilized ovum.

Zygotic selection – The factors that cause differential mortality of an organism in its life cycle (not included gametes)

Zygomatic arch – The cheekbones.


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