Dictionary of Cat Related Words

Last Updated on March 19, 2021 by Julia Wilson


AbyAbyssinian cat.
Agouti – The natural colouring between a tabby’s stripes.
Ailurophile – A person who loves cats.
Ailurophobe – Somebody who hates or fears cats.
Alley cat – Domestic or mixed-breed cat who lives on the streets.
Allogrooming – When a cat grooms another cat.
Alter – A desexed male or female cat.
Anestrus – The period between estrus in the female.
Ankara cat – Alternate name for Angora cat.
Anurous – Tailless cat.
Any other variety (AOV) – A registered cat that does not conform to the breed’s standard i.e. the colour of the cat is not accepted in the breed standard.
Applehead Siamese – Old-style or traditional Siamese.
Archangel cat – Old name for Russian blue cat.
Asian – A cat of Burmese type, but without Burmese markings, colouration or coat length. e.g. Burmilla, Mandalay, etc.
Atabi – The precursor for the coat pattern tabby, which originated from a type of striped taffeta (known as tabbi) that was manufactured in the Attabiah district of Baghdad.
Autogrooming – When a cat grooms itself.
Awn hair – The awn hairs form the middle coat which protects the down hairs and also insulates the cat.


Backyard breeder – A cat breeder who is not registered with a cat council and who don’t follow a breed standard.
Baculum – The bone in a cat’s penis.
Balinese – Long-haired Siamese cat.
B.A.R.F. – An acronym for biologically appropriate raw foods or bones and raw food.
Barf – Vomit.
Bastet – Sacred cat goddess of ancient Egypt.
Benching – The area where the cat’s cage is placed when it’s not being judged at a show.
Bennie – Affectionate nickname for Bengal cats.
Bicolour – A cat with two colours, a tuxedo cat is a black and white bicolour.
Blaze – White colouring on the face usually in the shape of an inverted V.
Blep – When a cat accidentally leaves its tongue out.
Bloodline – Pedigree of a cat, the feline equivalent of a family tree.
Blotched tabby – A type of tabby pattern consisting of wide dark bands arranged in whorls and spirals on the sides of the body.
Blue – Colour used to describe a cat’s coat. Blue is dilute of black and appears as a grey/slate colour. This varies from cat to cat and breed to breed.
Boar – An old term for an entire male.
Boarding cattery – A establishment where cats are cared for when their owners are away.
Brachycephalic – Short-nosed cats such as Persians and Exotics.
Break – The indentation of a cat’s nose.
Bred – Mated.
Britches – Longer hair on the back of the upper hind legs.
Breed standard – A set of guidelines covering specific externally observable qualities such as appearance, movement, and temperament for a particular breed of cat.
Bunny cat – An early name for the Abyssinian cat.
Bunting – Headbutting people or objects (walls, chairs etc).


Calico – Tortoiseshell and white cat.
Calling – The sound a female cat in heat makes.
Carthusian cat – Early name for the Chartreux cat.
Caterwaul – The noise made by courting cats.
Cattoo – Tattoo of your cats. Hayley.
Catupuncture – The beclawed kneading of your bare skin by a cat intent on increasing both its wellbeing and yours. Gemma.
Chattering – A behaviour some cats exhibit when they see a bird or other animal through a window. The teeth move up and down quickly and the cat makes a muffled meow-like sound.
Champagne – Buff cream coat, dilute version of the sable coat colour in Burmese cats.
Chinchilla – A longhaired Persian cat with silver or gold-tipped fur.
Cinnamon – Coat colouration which is reddish-brown.
Copper cat – Old term for Burmese cat.
Clowder – A group of cats.
Colourpoint – A cat with pointed colouration on the nose, ears and extremities (such as the Siamese).
Cobby – A stocky body type, such as that of the British Shorthair.
Crepuscular – An animal who is active at dusk and dawn (cats are crepuscular).
Cymric – Long haired Manx cat.


Dam– A mother cat.
Declawing – Surgical amputation of the cat’s claws up to the first joint of the toes.
Digitigrade – The way a cat walks, on its toes.
Dilute – A lighter coat colour variation of a cat’s primary colour controlled by the Dilution alleles. i.e., Black becomes blue, chocolate becomes lilac, Cinnamon becomes fawn, and Red becomes cream.
Direct register – The way a cat walks with the hindfoot landing in the same spot as the front foot which reduces tracks and noise.
Doe cat – Early name for a female cat.
Domestic – Cat of mixed ancestry (ie; a moggy).
Drain cat – Name given to the Singapura cat.


Ear furnishings – Hair tufts that grow around and in the ears.
Ear tufts – Longer hair that grows on the top of some cats, including the Maine Coon.


FeLV – Feline leukemia virus.
Feral cat – A domestic cat that was born in and has always lived in the wild.
FIV – Feline immunodeficiency virus.
Flehmen – A behaviour in which the cat curls back its upper lip exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed and then often holds this position for several seconds.


Gib – Old word for an entire male cat.
Grimalkin – The name of a female cat, especially an older one.


Haws – The cat’s third eyelid.
Hemingway cat – A polydactyl cat (a cat with extra toes).
Henry’s pockets – The flap on the outside of a cat’s ear (the medical term is cutaneous marginal pouch).
Heterochromia – Different coloured eyes (blue and yellow) or two colours in one eye.
Hybrid – A cross between two breeds, for example, Burmese and Abyssinian.


Jellicart cat – A tuxedo cat.


Kibble – Dry cat food.
Kindle – Kittens born to the same mother.
Kneading – A behaviour in some cats who use their front paws to push in and out in an alternate fashion on a blanket, human or their mother’s belly when they are nursing.
Kucinta – A Singapura cat.


Locket – A white spot of colour on a cats coat at the base of the throat, often a fault.
Longie – The tail on a Manx cat which is longer than the previous three types, rumpy, rumpy riser and stumpie, but shorter than the average tail on a cat.
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.
MeezerSiamese cat.

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


Neuter – Castration (removal of the testicles) of a male cat or a castrated male cat.


Pedigree – A purebred cat or a document of a purebred cat’s lineage.
Pet quality – A purebred cat who varies from the breed standard, which is usually a minor flaw such as a kinked tail or slightly different eye-colour.
Polydactyl cat – Cat with more than the usual number of toes.
Primordial pouch – The loose pocket of skin on the belly, just in front of the hind legs.
Purebred – A cat whose ancestry contains only individuals of the same breed (Siamese, Abyssinian, Burmese etc).


Quadruped – An animal with four feet.
Queen – Female cat.


Ram cat – An old term for an entire male
Rex cats – Several breeds of cat with soft, curly fur which includes the Devon Rex and the Cornish Rex.
Rumpy – Manx cat with no tail.
Rumpy riser – Manx cat where a small number of tail vertebrae are present.


Seal point – Coat colour consisting of a pale body with dark brown face, ears, tail and legs.
Scruff – The loose skin on the back of a cat’s neck.
Scruff – A way to immobilise a cat by grasping the skin on the back of a cat’s neck (not-recommended).
Self-coloured – Cats who are entirely one colour.
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.
Shaded – Coat pattern which is made up of pale hairs with a dark tip.
Shell – Coat pattern which is made up of pale hairs with dark lips.
Show-quality – A pedigree cat who is an outstanding example of the breed and meets the breed standard closely.
Sire – A father cat.
Smoke – Coat colour which is pale underneath and darker at the tips.
Solid – Cats who are entirely one colour.
Somali – Longhaired Abyssinian cat.
Sorrel – Coat colour which is made of a brownish-orange to light-brown which is seen in the Abyssinian cat.
Spay – Removal of a female cat’s uterus and ovaries or a spayed female cat.
Stropping – When a cat sharpens its claws.
Stud – Entire male cat.
Stumpy – Manx cat where the tail is longer than a rumpie or rumpie riser but deformed.


Tabby – A coat pattern that consists of classic tabby, mackerel tabby, spotted tabby and ticked tabby.
Ticked – A coat pattern which consists of banding of light and dark colours.
Toe beans – The soft pads on a cat’s feet.
Tom – Entire male cat.
Tuxedo – A coat pattern which consists of black and white.


Weegie – Norwegian forest cat.


Vibrissae – Whiskers.

Please post below or email me if you have any cat-related words to add.

Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time. Full author bio Contact Julia