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Cat Glossary – C

Glossary of Cat Terms:


Calicivirus: A serious respiratory disease.

Calico: A coat pattern that is mottled in tones of black, orange, and white.

California Spangled Cat: A large, strong, spotted cat with a somewhat wild appearance as they were bred to look like a small leopard.

Calling: A term used to describe a female cat’s behavior (i.e. howling, yowling, screaming) during estrus (ovulation).

Call Name: The name that a cat is called, which is commonly a shortened form of a cat’s registered name.

Cameo-Chinchilla: A coat that is shaded or smoked with red or cream tipping.

Carbohydrate: Any of a group of organic compounds that includes sugars, starches, celluloses, and gums and serves as a major energy source in the diet of animals. These compounds are produced by photosynthetic plants and contain only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, usually in the ratio 1:2:1.

Cardiomyopathy: A disease or disorder of the heart muscle, especially of unknown or obscure cause.

Carpal Pads: The pads on the wrists of a cat’s front legs which provide traction.

Castrate: To remove the testicles of a male cat.

Cataract: Opacity of the lens or capsule of the eye, causing impairment of vision or blindness

Cat Collector: A person who acquires and hordes great numbers of cats. Often a derogatory term suggesting improper care.

Caterwaul: A shrill, discordant sound.

Cat Fancy: The collective group of individuals, clubs, and registering associations involved with breeding and showing cats.

Cat Flu: More common term for feline upper respiratory virus.

Cat Hoarder: See Cat Collector

Catmint: Any of various aromatic, ornamental, annual or perennial plants of the genus Nepeta, having opposite leaves and variously colored flowers with two-lipped corollas.

Catnip: A hairy aromatic perennial herb (Nepeta cataria) in the mint family, native to Eurasia and containing an aromatic oil to which cats are strongly attracted.

Cattery: An establishment where cats are kept and bred.

Certified Pedigree: Pedigree issued officially by a cat registering association.

Champaign: A term referring to the chocolate color in Burmese and the lilac color in Tonkinese.

Characteristic: A feature that helps to identify, tell apart, or describe recognizably; a distinguishing mark or trait.

Chartreux Cat: A breed of cat that is muscular with long limbs, a blue (grey) double-thick coat, and gold-colored eyes.

Chinchilla: A coat color in which most of the hair is white or pale and only the outermost tips are colored black or another color.

Chlamydia: A highly contagious bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract which causes flu-like symptoms including coughing, sneezing and runny eyes and nose. A vaccine is available for cats considered “at risk.”

Chocolate: A medium to pale brown color, though distinctly paler than seal in Siamese.

Chronic Disease: A disease lasting indefinitely.

Chronic Renal Failure: Kidney failure. The number one primary cause of death in older cats.

Class B Dealers: People who receive collected (usually illegally) dogs and cats and sell them for research purposes.

Clowder: A group of cats.

Coat: The fur of a cat.

Cobby: Compact, with a short body.

Colostrum: The milk secreted by the mother during the first few days following birth that provides the kittens with immunity to some diseases.

Congenital: Present at birth; may have genetic or environmental causes.

Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by redness and often accompanied by a discharge.

Convulsions: An intense, paroxysmal, involuntary muscular contraction.

Cornish Rex: A cat with no hair except down, or the undercoat.

Crate: Portable container used for shipping, transporting, or housing animals.

Crepuscular (or Nocturnal): Becoming active at twilight or before sunrise, as do bats and certain insects and birds.

Crossbred: A cat whose sire and dam are representatives of two different breeds.

Cryptorchid: The adult whose testicles are abnormally retained in the abdominal cavity. Bilateral cryptorchidism involves both sides; i.e., neither testicle has descended into the scrotum. Unilateral cryptorchidism (also called monorchid) involves one side only; i.e., one testicle is retained or hidden, and one is descended.

Cymric Cat: A longhaired breed of cat medium length double coat that is dense, full and silky in texture.