Cat Lingo

Some of these terms relate to the SCOTTISH FOLD specifically. Others are "show" terminology, and others are general in nature and relate to all cats.


ACFA - American Cat Fanciers Association. Founded in 1955, this prestigious cat organization created the first competition class for altered cats.

Ailourophile - A cat lover. Famous ailourophiles include Albert Schweitzer who, although left-handed, would write with his right hand rather than distrub his cat who would sleep on his left arm, and the prophet Mohammed, who cut off his sleeve rather than wake a cat which was sleeping on it.

Ailourophobe - A cat hater. Famous ailourophobes include Adolf Hitler and Napoleon who was terrified of cats and could be reduced to a quivering jelly by the presence of a small kitten.

 Alter -  Any cat, male or female, which has been neutered (male) or spayed (female). Altered cats are accepted for competition in a class separate from unaltered cats called "Premiership."

Best of Breed - The cat which, in the judge's opinion, comes closest to meeting the breed standard of all the cats in a given breed competing in that judge's ring.

Blue - Blue is the correct term for the colour most of us would call grey. The colour is an optical illusion caused by dilution, which scatters and reflects black pigmentation so that we see it as blue.

Breeding quality - kittens which conform quite closely to the standard for that breed, and are considered of good enough quality to breed from. If it becomes a Champion or Grand Champion, its offspring will be worth correspondingly more.

Cameo - a colour where the undercoat is whilte and the hairtips are red, blue-cream or tortoiseshell.

Cattery - a place where cats are bred and/or boarded.

Cattery name - the registered name of a place where cats are bred; may be used as a prefix by the breeder of a cat or as a suffix by a subsequent owner. For example: Beepafold Elvis Stojko of Kinross, Beepafold was the cattery where "Elvis Stojko" was bred, and is now owned by Kinross Cattery.

CCA -  Canadian Cat Association/Association Feline Canadian. Canada's biggest registry for cats.

CFA - Cat Fancier's Association. Founded in 1906, the CFA recognizes 33 breeds for championship status and is the largest registry in the world of pedigreed cats.

CH - Champion/Championship. Competition class for unaltered pedigreed cats, also known as whole cats. At a CFA show, a cat becomes a champion by earning six winners ribbons in this class.

Cobby - a description of a body type. A cat so described is a chunky cat, with short legs and a body in proportion. The Scottish Fold should have a cobby body.

Dam - the female parent

Declawing - a surgical procedure to remove cats' claws. It is painful for the cat and it is possible for the claw to regrow, which necessitates a further operation. As with any operation, there is always a risk of infection or haemorrhage. Declawed cats are unable to grip,climb, or porperly defend themselves. Some become emotionally disturbed, distrustful of their owners or vets, and may start biting. Owners of cats can take steps to discourage this by using scratching furniture and posts, and supplying sufficient play items to keep the cat occupied.

Diabetes - Diabetes is a disease caused by the body's inability to produce enough insulin, a hormone that controls the sugar levels in the blood. It is estimated that one in 400 cats suffers from diabetes. Symptoms set in gradually and may include increased drinking and urination, and increased eating, accompanied by weight loss. Some cats consume so much water and urinate so frequently that they may fail to use their litter box in time and have accidents. Once a cat is diagnosed with diabetes, the vet must establish a therapy of insulin shots and balanced nutrition and exercise. Not all cats are insulin dependent, but only a vet can determine the course of treatment for a diabeticcat. Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes, but given the right treatment diabetic cats can live long and happy lives.

FE - Folded-ear Only folded-ear Scottish Folds are allowed for competition.

Flehmen response - is seen in a cat that is worried or nervous. It will gasp and inhale air through its open mouth. At the back of the mouth is the Jacobson's organ which enables a cat to taste and smell at the same time. The cat is using this organ to collate information about everything that is happening around it.

GPR - Grand Premier/ship. Competition class for cats that have qualified as premiers (have been altered). To become a grand premier, a cat must earn 75 points in CFA competition.

GRC or GC - Grand Champion/ Championship. Competition class for cats that have qualified as champions. To become a grand champion, a cat must earn 200 points in CFA competition.

Household Pets - This is the competition class for pedigreed cats that are not show quality or cats whose ancestry is unknown. There is no written standard for cats in this category, so they are judged on traits such as personality and good looks.

International Win - Awarded to cats that win the most points in shows in areas outside of North America, Canada, Hawaii, Bermuda and Japan.

Kittens - Pedigreed cats younger than 8 months (and older than 4 months) that are eligible for show.

Litter Registration - enrolling a litter of kittens with a cat association.

Mactabby - Shortened form for mackerel tabby. See Tabby below for further tabby patterns.

Mutation - a genetic mishap - usually caused by environmental conditions or a glitch in the replication process, which alters the normal inheritance of a characteristic. For example, some cats that are products of mutations include Scottish Folds (folded ears), Sphinx (hairlessness), Manx (taillessness), Rex (wavy coat), etc.

National Win - Awarded to cats that win the most points in shows in their country during the show season.

Papers - registration documents issued for a cat.

Pedigree - a document containing the known names, titles, colours, and registration numbers of the first three to five generations of a cat's predecessors.

Personality - "Affectionate" means a breed that is very demonstrative in its affection. "Reserved" means a less demonstrative breed (but just as loving). "Active" means an animal always on the go; the typical overgrown kitten. "Tranquil" means a sedate and dignified animal. "Quiet" means a non-talking breed. "Vocal" means the cat won't shut up.

Points - Awarded for defeating other cats in various competition groups. The Best Cat in Show earns one point for each cat it defeats.

PR - Premier/ship. Competition class for spayed or neutered pedigreed cats. To become a premier, a cat needs to take home six winners ribbons in this class.

Purebred - a cat whose ancestors are all of the same variety or allowable varieties; not a synonym for pedigreed.

SE -  Straight-ear - Scottish Folds that do not have folded ears are still purebred Scottish Folds, with all the features of a Fold, without the folded ears.

Sire - the male parent of a cat, the father

Standard - The written description that defines the ideal physical characteristics of each breed. A show-quality cat meets the standard for its breed. You can find the standard for a particular breed on the CFA website ( or TICA website (

Stud - a siring male cat

Tabby - Tabby patterns can be mackerel, classic, patched or spotted. Tabby colours come in blue tabby, brown tabby, cameo tabby, cream tabby, red tabby & silver tabby.

TICA -  The International Cat Association. Like the CFA, TICA is a feline registry that works to establish breeds and promote information and activities about breeding, exhibiting and caring for cats.

Weight - How can you tell if your cat is the right weight? Here are some guidelines to help you decide. If you can easily see your cat's ribs, he may be underweight. If you can barely see his ribs, but feel them when you run your hands over his sides, then your cat is probably the correct weight. If you can neither see nor feel your cat's ribs, then he is most likely overweight. If you suspect cat is under- or overweight, please check with your veterinarian to make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing the problem. Your vet can advise any dietary changes that need to be made.