Feline Terminology

This chapter is dedicated to the terms used by veterinarians and breeders to describe the cats, to distinguish between types, races and varieties and to establish the standards of a race.

In first place, lets see some definitions.

The term type is applied to the features of the head and body that distinguishes a race, as is the size and form..

Sometimes it is used in a more ample sense when referring to the similarity of a cat without pedigree with respect to one of race. For example, you could say that a cat is “a good specimen of European type”. This doesn’t imply that he really is a European cat with pedigree, but that he presents those characteristics that are typical of that race.

The word race describes a group of cats with common physical characteristics and several generations of registered ancestors.

It is not a more or less precise term, due that what is considered, as a race in one country or in decade may not be recognized in other time and place.

Although all cats from one race have common features, they can vary in other aspects, as in color.

It is good to point out again that, although everybody identifies a Siamese or an Abyssinian, the people who are ignorant to the feline breeding world can find arbitrary the distinctions between a Siamese and a Balinese.

A variety is a subdivision of a race, normally distinguished by the color although also by other features.

(For example, inside the Manx race, you can distinguish 4 varieties in function of the magnitude of the vestiges of the tail it presents: rumpy, rumpy riser, stumpy and longie, although at the exhibitions they only accept cats without tails).

A race can include an only variety; for example, the blue Russian cat, that the international feline federation only recognizes in the color of blue, while the feline associations in New Zealand accept the varieties of white and black Russians.

In Great Britain and in the United States 60 varieties of Persian have been registered, although not all are recognized in both countries and, in some case, what is a differentiated race in one country is a variety in the other or vice-versa.

The chromosomes of the fetus, contributed by each parents in equal quantities, contain all the genetic information that will determine the sex and the physical characteristics of the whelps, and also will define the systems that will permit the functioning of their organs, senses, instinct, etc.

The whelps that are finally born are product of the combination of all these genes.

Sometimes the genes function in a more independent way and in other, in groups, being denominated as poligenes, but they always combine in a way that they produce viable descendants that will insure the survival of cats as specie and of that particular lineage.

You must remember that this is the only genetic imperative; genetically it doesn’t matter that the cat has long or short hair; to be black or to have a tabby or tortoise pattern; to be pretty or ugly and aggressive, a champion or an alley cat, a stud or an appraised company animal; that he feeds on expensive dishes or that he has to look for its food wherever.

When born, the genetics and have course nature have already done their work.

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