Now You're Talkin Cat

Learn cat terminology that any cat fancier should know.

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Shaded: Having color only at the tips of the hair with a pure white undercoat. The three primary groupings, based on the extent of the tipping, are chinchilla, shaded and smoke.  

Shed: To lose hair. Hair grows in cycles, from the root within the skin, outward in a continuous pattern of rapid growth, slower growth and a resting period. When new hair begins to grow, it pushes out the old hair, causing shedding. 

Sire: The father of a cat. A litter of stray kittens can have more than one sire. 

Solid: A feline coat that is made up entirely of one color, with no tabby markings, no white lockets, and no readily apparent changes between the tip of the hair and where it exits the skin. 


Tabby: A coat pattern that combines two patterns--one superimposed on the other. The ground color (the lighter areas of the coat) is a universal camouflage pattern found in a number of mammals. The second pattern of the tabby is created by the replacement of the agouti-banded hairs with solid-colored hairs, creating swirls, stripes and spots. The first indication of a tabby is the M on the cats forehead. 

Tortoiseshell: Generally, a black female cat with random patches of red color. If you look carefully at the red areas, you'll often see red tabby patterning. Also known as tortie. 

Trill: Kittens and cats expression of happiness. Cats use this type of vocalization as a greeting. 

Tufts: Long patches of fur that grow from certain breeds paws and ears. For example, the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat have moderately pointed and lynx-like ear tufts, plus paw tufts. 


Vaccinations: A series of shots for kittens and annual vaccines for cats, still one of the best ways to ensure good health. These preventive health measures continue to evolve with research. 

Vocalizing: The way cats communicate with people and other animals. Includes a variety of mews, meows, trills and chattering. Some breeds are born with the gift of gab, while others chitchat for the sake of attention. Some vocalize only on rare occasions. A cat meows, trills and purrs to reduce the distance between itself and its target--you. They are solicitations for more contact and closer interaction. 

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