Q: A common medical abbreviation meaning “every” in Latin and indicating how often something should happen, as in “give 1 tablet q6h,” which indicates every 6 hours

Q fever: A zoonotic disease, which may result in abortion, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii that cats get from infected tick bites or contaminated farm animal carcasses

Quality of life: The ability to enjoy normal life activities, which is an important welfare consideration if medical care does not provide appreciable benefits

Quarantine: A period of time in which an animal is kept away from other animals and people to prevent the spread of contagious diseases to them

Queening: Birthing kittens, which may last up to 24-36 hours, with each birth taking 30-60 minutes of mild labor and 5-10 minutes of intense labor, plus rest periods between kittens

Quick: The triangular pink portion at the base of the nail that contains the blood vessels, nerves and other tissues; cutting the quick causes bleeding and pain


Recumbent (ri-kuhm-buhnt): To be lying down, not standing, which may be caused by trauma, metabolic imbalances, brain diseases or severe sickness

Refractory (ri-frak-tuh-ree): To not yield, or not yield readily, to medical or surgical treatment, which may occur with chronic gingivostomatitis, a debilitating feline dental disease

Regurgitate (ri-gur-ji-teyt): The ejection of the contents from the esophagus or stomach without active retching, as opposed to the ejection of the contents from the stomach and upper intestine with active retching, which is to vomit

Retrovirus (re-truh-vahy-ruhs): An RNA virus, such as Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, that produces an enzyme, reverse transcriptase, which permits it to insert copies of its own genetic material into that of the cells it has infected

Rhinitis (rahy-nahy-tis): Inflammation of the nose, which is a common complication of upper respiratory infections such as feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus

Ringworm: A fungal skin infection, most commonly caused by Microsporum canis in felines, that is highly contagious to other animals and people

Roundworms: Intestinal parasites that can be transferred via the placenta or queen’s milk or by ingesting infected feces and/or grooming fur contaminated with infected feces; roundworms may cause extreme illness and even death in kittens from anemia, dehydration or malnutrition