Calicivirus (kuh-lee-see-vai-ruhs): Feline Calicivirus (FCV) is highly contagious and a major cause of Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs)

Catheterization (kath-uh-tuhr-uh-zay-shuhn: Insertion of a catheter (a flexible or rigid hollow tube employed to drain fluids) into the body, such as urinary bladder catheterization, in which a catheter is inserted into the urethra to permit urine to flow out of the urinary bladder

Cerebellar hypoplasia (seh-ruh-beh-lr hai-puh-play-zhee-uh): A neurologic condition, known as CH or wobbly kitten syndrome, affecting kittens and cats that is most often caused when a pregnant cat is exposed to feline parvovirus, the virus that causes feline panleukopenia, whether from a natural infection or from a vaccination

Cheyletiellosis (ki-la-te-el-lo-sys): A highly contagious skin disease of cats, also called walking dandruff, cause by Cheyletiella mites

Chimera (ky-meer-uh): A cat with two distinct sets of DNA, which occurs when one fetus reabsorbs its fraternal twin while in the womb, resulting in different colors on either side of the face

Chronic (kraa-nik): A condition that persists for weeks, months or a lifetime. An example of a chronic condition is kidney disease

Cleft palate (kleft pal-it): A congenital defect of the palate in which a longitudinal fissure exists in the roof of the mouth

Coccidia (kok-sid-ee-uh): Microscopic, single-celled protozoan parasites that infect the intestinal tract, causing smelly, watery or bloody diarrhea

Coloboma (kaa-luh-bow-muh): A congenital maldevelopment of the eye/s involves the upper eyelid margins of one of both eyes

Colopexy (kol-a-pek-see): A surgery to correct rectal prolapse that attaches the rectum to the inside of the abdominal wall

Colostrum (kuh-los-truhm): The watery fluid rich in antibodies and nutrients secreted by queens during the 24-36 hours after giving birth and before producing true milk

Congenital (kuhn-jen-it-tl): A condition present at birth, such as cryptorchidism and cerebellar hypoplasia, which may be inherited or caused during pregnancy

Congenital hypothyroidism (hahy-puh-thahy-roi-diz-uhm): A disorder of insufficient thyroid hormone in the body, which is important for the development of the nervous and skeletal systems, that may be underreported and not diagnosed since kittens appear normal but die at birth or die as juveniles before symptoms ever become evident

Conjunctiva (kon-juhngk-tahy-vuh): The tissue lining the inner surface of the eyelids and covering the white of the eyes (sclera), also called pink eye

Conjunctivitis (kuhn-juhngk-tuh-vahy-tis): Inflammation of the conjunctiva

Constipation (kon-stuhpey-shuhn): An abnormal accumulation of feces in the large intestine, which may result in hard, dried feces, straining to defecate and reduced frequency of defecation or absence of feces

Coprophagia (kow-pruh-fay-zhua):The eating of feces, which may be related to certain diseases or behavioral problems

Cornea (kawr-nee-uh): The transparent front part of the eye coverng the iris and pupil that admits light into the eye

Crepitus (kreh-puh-tuhs): A crackling chest sound heard in pneumonia and other lung diseases; the grating sound of two ends of a broken bone rubbing together

Crepuscular (kri-puhs-kyuh-ler): Appearing or active during dawn and dusk; cats are crepuscular animals

Cryptorchidism (kript-awr-ki-diz-uhm): A condition where one testicle or both (testes) don’t descend from the groin area, where they develop before birth, into the scrotum

Cutaneous (kyoo-tey-nee-uhs): Relating to or affecting the skin

Cyanosis (sai-yuh-now-suhs): The bluish tissue discoloration resulting from increased concentration of reduced hemoglobin, a protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen

Cystitis (si-stahy-tis): Inflammation of the urinary bladder


Defecation (def-i-key-shuhn): The act of voiding excrement from the bowels; bowel movement

Dehiscence (dih-his-uhns): Any opening in a wound after surgery, which may be prevented by burying dissolvable sutures

Dehydration (dee-hahy-drey-shuhn): The excessive loss of water and electrolytes (minerals such as potassium, sodium and chloride) that may occur in kittens with inadequate milk intake or excessive fluid losses due to prolonged diarrhea, vomiting or overheating (hyperthermia)

Dermatitis (dur-muh-tahy-tis): Inflammation of the skin, which may be caused by fleas, food allergies or environmental stimuli

Dermatophyte (der-mat-uh-fahyt): A type of skin fungus, such as Microsporum canis, which causes ringworm and especially affects kittens

Diarrhea (dahy-uh-ree-uh): Loose, watery stool that does not hold its form; fluid loss from diarrhea can lead to dehydration or electrolyte imbalance

Digitigrade (dij-i-ti-greyd): Describes animals that stands or walks on their toes, such as cats

Dilated (dai-lay-tuhd): A state of being widened or enlarged, as in dilated pupils caused by short-term fear or a progressive disease such as glaucoma

Dislocation (dis-loh-key-shuhn): The displacement of a body part from its proper position, which may be due to trauma to a bone or be present at birth (congenital diaphragmatic hernia)

Distemper (dis-tem-per): Feline distemper, also known as feline panleukopenia virus, is a deadly virus to which kittens are at highest risk

Distended (dih-sten-did): Swollen or expanded, as may occur when a kitten’s abdomen is enlarged due to spoiled milk replacement formula, intestinal parasites and panleukopenia

Distichia (di-stuh-kai-uh): The condition of having two sets of eyelashes, which often results in injury to the eye’s lining and may require treatment to correct

Dysbiosis (duhs-bai-ow-suhs): An imbalance that can occur in the intestinal bacteria and disrupt the GI tract’s normal functions, which can be life threatening in young kittens

Dyschezia (dis-kee-zee-uh): Difficult or painful defecation, usually associated with hardened feces, and may have many causes, including dehydration and parasites

Dysphagia (dis-fey-jee-uh):The condition in which eating and/or swallowing is difficult, as may occur with cleft palate

Dysphoria (dis-fawr-ee-uh): Extreme anxiety and agitation, which may occur in the 20-30 minutes postoperative period due to drug reactions or pain and be accompanied by thrashing, restlessness, and continuous activity

Dyspnea (disp-nee-uh): Breathing that is difficult or labored, which may be a symptom of Feline Infectious Peritonitis or lower respiratory tract infections

Dystocia (duhs-tow-shuh):  An abnormal or difficult birth, which may be due to maternal factors, such as uterine inertia, and/or fetal factors, such as an oversized kitten

Dysuria (dis-yoo-ree-uh): Urination that is painful or difficult and should be treated as a medical emergency in male cats whose narrow urethras can become blocked