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Cat Show Glossary

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Glossary of common words you might hear about Maine Coons, in Show Venues and various articles about purebred cats...

Quoted from:

Its Showtime!: ... and here's everything cat fanciers need to know about shows by P. Maggitti and J.A. Helgren, Barron's Educational Seriec, INC., 1998

AACE The American Association of Cat Enthusiasts.

ACA The American Cat Association.

ACFA The American Cat Fanciers Association.

Agouti Hairs that are "ticked" with alternating bands of light and dark color, ending with a dark tip.

All breed Refers to a judge who is qualified to judge all of the cat breeds.

Alter A cat that has been spayed or neutered.

AOC Any other color

APV Any other variety; applies to any registered cat or kitten whose ancestry entitles it to championship competition but that does not conform to the show standard.

Benching The area of the show hall where exhibitors display their cats.

Best in Show An award given to the cat judged to be the finest example for the entire cat show.

Best of Breed An award given to the cat judged to be the finest example of the breed in that show ring. A Best of Breed is chosen for each ring.

Bicolor A cat that is white and one other color.

Blaze A marking on the center of the forehead between the eyes; often runs down the nose as well.

Bloodline A group of cats related by ancestry or pedigree.

Break An indentation of the nose at about eye level or between the eyes.

Breeches Longer hair on the back of the upper hind legs.

Calico A cat with patches of black, red, and white

Cameo A cat that possesses a red coat with white roots. Also called shaded or smoke.

Carrier A cat carrying an unexpressed recessive gene that is able to pass that gene on to its offspring. Also can mean a container used to transport cats.

Cat Fancy The group of people, associations, clubs, and registries involved in the showing and breeding of cats.

Cattery A room or area in the breeder's house, or building on the breeder's property, where cats are housed and bred.

CCA Canadian Cat Association

CFA The Cat Fanciers' Federation

Champion A cat that has achieved championship status in an association.

Conformation The physical type of the cat, which includes coat length, color, bone structure, facial type, and many other factors.

Dam Mother of a kitten or litter.

Dilute A soft, pale version of a dominant color.

Dilute Calico A cat with Patches of blue, cream, and white.

Domestic A non-pedigreed cat.

Dominant Said of a genetic trait that masks the effects of recessive genes.

Double Coat A coat possessing a thick layer of awn and down hairs.

Down A secondary hair type that is soft and slightly wavy; much shorter than guard hairs.

Fault A flaw in the color, coat, or conformation of a cat, causing a loss of awarded points.

Feral Said to be a domesticated animal that has reverted to the wild or that has been born in the wild.

Final The awarding of the rosettes to the top cats in each category.

Foreign A body type of oriental appearance, as in the Siamese; sometimes called Oriental.

Furnishings Refers to the hair inside the ears.

GCCF Governing Council of the Cat Fancy; the main cat registry in Britain.

Genotype The genetic composition of a cat, whether or not expressed in the physical appearance.

Ghost Marking Faint tabby markings seen in some solid colored cats; particularly noticeable in young cats.

Grand Champion A cat that has qualified for this award within a particular association

Ground Color The lighter color in between the darker color in the tabby patterns.

Guard Hairs The longest of the three hair types; they form the coat's outer layer.

Household Pet (HHP) A random bred cat, or a purebred cat that is not registered or cannot compete with members of its breed. These cats compete in a special category called the Household Pets or HHP category.

Jowls Cheek folds that are prominent in unneutered male cats.

Judging Cage Individual cages in the show ring used to hold the cats awaiting judging.

Kink A bend or bump in the tail; usually grounds for disqualification in show cats.

Locket A solid white spot.

Master Clerk The person who compiles the information from the judging rings into one master catalog.

Mittens White areas restricted to the feet.

Muzzle The part of the head that includes the nose, whisker pads, chin, mouth, jaws, and cheeks.

Necklace Darker markings encircling the neck.

Nose Leather Area of colored skin on nose, not covered by fur.

Odd Eyes Refers to a cat whose eyes are of two different colors; for example, one blue and one copper eye.

Outcrossing The breeding of one registered breed to another, resulting in a registerable hybrid breed. Also refers to the breeds allowable in the background of a registered hybrid breed.

Papers Usually refers to a cat's pedigree or certificate of registration.

Particolor Having either two or more colors (depending upon the association), or having any color or pattern with white.

Paw Pads The furless padded areas under the feet.

Points The extremities of a cat's body, head, ears, tail, and feet. Also can mean the points awarded in the show ring.

Polydactyl A cat that has extra toes; considered a show fault in Maine Coons, although many of the foundation Maine Coons were polys.

Polygenes Groups of genes that are small in effect individually, but that act together to produce greater bodily characteristics.

Premier An altered, registered purebred cat.

Queen A breeding female cat.

Recessive A characteristic that is unable to express itself in the cat's physical appearance in the presence of the alternate dominant characteristic.

Recognition Official acceptance by one of the cat associations of a new breed or color.

Ring Clerk The person who keeps track of the entries being judged and records the judge's decisions.

Ring The area in which judging takes place.

Scoring The system of keeping track of the number of points and awards each cat has attained. Each association has a separate system.

Sire Father of a kitten or litter.

Smoke A coat color that appears to be a solid color but that possesses white roots.

Standards The standards of perfection that outline the ideal conformation for each breed.

Status The award level for which a particular cat has qualified, such as grand champion.

Stud A male cat used for breeding.

Stud book Records maintained by the cat registries that record cats' offspring.

TICA The International Cat Association.

Tortie or Tortoiseshell Combination of black and orange or their dilutes.

Type The cat's conformation.

UFO The United Feline Organization.

Undercoat The awn and down hairs.

Undercolor The color on the hair shaft closest to the skin.

Van Pattern Bicolor in which the cat is mostly white with colored patches on the head and tail.

Whisker Break An indentation where the muzzle attaches to the skull. Also called a whisker pinch or muzzle break.

Whole Said of a cat that has not been spayed or neutered.

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