cat trees and towers

Glossary of Cat Terms

A Glossary of Cat Terms

Cat terms you need to know!


ACFA: American Cat Fanciers Association
Originating in 1955, ACFA has grown to be one of the world’s largest cat organizations. ACFA is known as the Fairest, Friendliest and most Fun feline association! Our goal is to promote the welfare, education, knowledge and interest in all domesticated, purebred and non-purebred cats, to breeders, owners, exhibitors of cats and the general public.

Ailurophile: A Cat Loving Person as to

Ailurophobe: A person that hates cats.

Alopecia: Bald area that normally has hair.

Anestrus: Female cat is not in heat.

Antibiotic: A substance that is derived from a living organism and is used to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

AOC (Any Other Color): Not normally accepted color or pattern in a certain breed of cat.

AOV (Any Other Variety): Cat Association term to classify cats that are offsprings of registered parents but are not eligible entering championship cat show classes because they do not have the official requirements for coat color, coat length or other physical characteristics.

Awn hairs: The part of the cat’s undercoat that is longer than the downy undercoat but shorter than the primary guard coat.


Back crossing: Inbreeding where a cat is mated with a parent.

Barring: Markings of a Tabby cat .

Base coat: The primary coat

Bi-color: Cat color basically white with large patches another solid color.

Blaze: Stripe or splash of white on the cat’s forehead or nose.

Bloodline: The pedigree for a cat of a specific cattery

Booster vaccination: A follow-up Injection that is periodically after the primary injection to continue immunity to a disease.

Breed: Cats sharing common ancestors and similar physical characteristics.

Brindling: Different colored hairs in a coat.

Britches: Longer hair on the upper rear area of the legs

Brush tail: Long bushy hair


Calico: Cat color characteristic for female cats with patches of white, red and black

Carrier: A cat carrying a genetic defect or disease.

Castration: Removal of testicles in a male cat. (Neutering)

Cat Association: An organization for the promotion of cats, cat breeds, cat shows and cat health.

Cat fancy: People who fancy cats and are involved in breeding, showing of cats and cat clubs.

Catnip:(nepeta cataria) A plant of the mint family and acts as a hallucinogen to cats.

Cattery: A place where cats are bred or boarded.

CCA: Canadian Cat Association/Association Feline Canadienne, includes registry of purebred cats, listing cat shows, show schedules, and Canadian breeders

CFA: Cat Fanciers Association, the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats!

CFF: Cat Fanciers’ Federation.

Coarse:  A cat not refined or harmonious in conformation. Considered a negative term.

Cobby: Short body, broad, heavy boned and low on the legs. (Persian or Manx)

Colorpoint: Cat¹s face, ears, tail and legs pattern

Condition: Well being of a cat, including muscle toning, grooming and good health.

Conformation: Structure of a cat’s body, legs and tail.

Cross: Mating or breeding one cat with another.


Dame: Female parent

Dander:  Scales of dead skin can cause an allergic reaction in humans.

Declawed: Surgically removing claws. Not allowed to enter competition

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

Domestic: A nonpedigreed cat.

Down hairs: The shortest hair on the cat, soft and downy


Ear furnishings: Tufts of hair that grows in and around the ears. .

Ear mites: Tiny insects that feed on the lining of the ear canal.

Euthanasia: Humanely ending a cat¹s life.


Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): Virus that attacks the cat’s immune system.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): A coronavirus infection of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity. This disease leads to death.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): A virus that causes one of the most lethal infectious  diseases found in cats. It is directly and indirectly the cause of many feline illnesses  ncluding cancer of the lymphocytes.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): Urinary tract disease causing urethral  blockage and kidney stone formation.

Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS): A disease of the urinary tract often responsible for blockage of the urethra in male cats. Life threatening.


Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums.

Guard hairs: The longest, outer hairs of the cat’s coat.


Heat: This is the period when a female cat is interested in mating and can become  pregnant.

HHP:  Household Pet

Household pet: Domestic or purebred cat that is not registered and is a pet. Household pets can compete in special categories in cat shows.

Hybrid: Result of the mating cats of different breeds, or more than two breeds.

Hybrid vigor: Increased vitality resulting from breeding cats of two different breeds  together.



Immunization: Helping with artificial resistance to infection.

Inbreeding: Mating of related cats.


Kitten: A young cat between four and eight months.


Line Breeding: Mating related cats that have a common ancestor appearing at least  one time in the first three generations of both parent¹s pedigrees.

Litter: Kittens born by the same mother at the same time.

Litter: Absorbent material used in a cat’s box.


Natural breed: Breed without the interference of selective breeding.

Neuter: Castrated male cat by removing the testicles so it can’t reproduce


Outcross: Breeding of two cats together that don’t have an ancestors in common for a minimum of three generations.


Pedigree: Document outlining names, titles, colors and registration numbers of cat¹s  ancestors. At least three to five generations

Premier: A registered neutered or spayed pedigreed cat.

Purebred: A cat whose ancestors are of the same breed or allowable outcrosses.


Queen: Female cat used for breeding purposes.

Quick: Vein that runs through a cat¹s claw


Rangy: Long body.

Rex: Type of coat with no guard hairs but a soft and curly undercoat. .

Ringworm: Contagious skin disease caused by a fungus.

Ruff: Collar-like fringe of hair around the neck.


Selective breeding: Intentional mating of two cats in order to achieve a trait or to  eliminate a trait.

Self: Cat that is of one solid color from the base to the tip of the hair shaft.

Set type: Breeding term to describe the process of breeding successive generations of cats with certain characteristics in hopes of producing cats that will possess the trait and also be able to pass it along to their offspring.

Single coat: One coat, usually the top coat or guard hairs, without the downy undercoat.

Sire: Male parent of a kitten.

Spay: Female cat which has been sterilized through a surgical procedure

Stud: Male cat.


Ticking: Darker tips of hair on the ends of the coat hairs.

TICA: The International Cat Association.

Tom Cat: Unaltered male cat. .

Tortie: Also called tortoiseshell. Usually a female. The coat colors are cream, red and blank intermingled together.

Tufted: Hair on the tips of the ears and or between the cat’s toes.


Undercoat: Soft and downy hairs next to the skin.


Variety: A cat that has registered parents but is not eligible for championship status because it does not conform to the breed standard.


Weaning: Kittens learn to eat food, not depending on the milk of their mother