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Cat Glossary – P

Glossary of Cat Terms:


Panleukopaenia: A viral infection that attacks the bones and intestinal walls, also known as Feline Infectious Enteritis (FIE)

Papers: A cat’s pedigree and registration slip.

Papillae: Tiny, finger-like hooks found on a cat’s tongue and lining the gut.

Paralysis: Loss or impairment of the ability to move a body part, usually as a result of damage to its nerve supply.

Parasite: An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

Parti-Color: A coat of two or more distinct colors.

Pathogen: An agent that causes disease, especially a living microorganism such as a bacterium or fungus.

Pedigree: The written record of a cat’s genealogy, often of three generations or more.

Pedigreed Cat: A cat with a pedigree.

Persian Cat: One of the oldest breeds of show cat, characterized by an extremely long, thick coat, short legs, a wide head with ears set far apart, large eyes and a foreshortened muzzle.

Pet Quality: A cat who does not meet the breed standard closely enough to be considered valuable to a breeding program.

Pheromones: A chemical secreted by an animal that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species, often functioning as an attractant of the opposite sex.

Piebald: Covered with patches of two colors, typically black and white.

Pigment: A substance, such as chlorophyll or melanin, that produces a characteristic color in plant or animal tissue.

Pinking Up: In a pregnant female, the changing of the color of the nipples to pink, typically occurring in cat’s about three weeks after successful mating.

Pinna: The ear flap.

Pixie-Bob Cat: A hybrid offspring of a domestic cat and a bobcat, believed not to be the result of deliberate breeding but rather fathered by wild Bobcats.

Placenta: A membranous vascular organ that develops in female mammals during pregnancy, lining the uterine wall and partially enveloping the fetus, to which it is attached by the umbilical cord. Following birth, the placenta is expelled.

Platinum: A term referring to the lilac or lavender color in Burmese.

Pneumonia: An acute or chronic disease marked by inflammation of the lungs and caused by viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms and sometimes by physical and chemical irritants.

Pointed: A coat pattern characterized by a solid body color with darker coloring on the face, ears, legs and tail.

Points: The extremes of a cat’s body, including the mask, ears, legs and tail.

Polytocous: Producing many offspring in a single birth.

Praise: Positive reinforcement.

Pre-Disposition: A condition of special susceptibility, as to a disease.

Pregnant: Carrying developing offspring within the body.

Prepotent: A cat with a strong genetic influence resulting in offspring that consistently resemble the parent.

Pricked: Term describing ears which are held apart.

Primary Hairs: The outer coat of a cat, also known as guard hairs.

Progesterone: A steroid hormone, C21H30O2, secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary and by the placenta, that acts to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilized ovum, to maintain pregnancy, and to promote development of the mammary glands.

Protein: Any of a group of complex organic macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and usually sulfur and are composed of one or more chains of amino acids.

Puberty: The stage of adolescence in which an individual becomes physiologically capable of sexual reproduction, typically occurring between the ages of 6 and 12 months in cats.

Purebred: A cat whose sire and dam belong to the same breed and who are themselves of unmixed descent since recognition of the breed.

Pyometra: An accumulation of pus in the uterine cavity.