Dictionary of Cat Related Words

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    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 cat’s 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 known as 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, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She 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. Full author bio