Cat Reading Topics
  • Absorption – the process by which nutrients from digested food move from the gut into the body and how cells exchange nutrients and water with the blood stream
  • Absorption, Passive – osmosis, a selective diffusion process [see Osmosis]
  • Active Transport – requires energy and a specific carrier molecule
  • Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) – a chemical synthesized by the mitochondria in cells to produce energy
  • Amino Acids – the 'building blocks' of protein; protein is constructed of chains of amino acids which are folded into complex arrangements
  • Artery – a blood vessel which carries oxygenated blood away from the heart
  • Arteriole – the smallest division of the arteries
  • ATP - [see Adenosine Triphosphate]
  • Bacterial Translocation – gut bacteria or their by-products moving across the gut wall barrier into circulation
  • Barrier Function – active function of the gut wall which protects and limits access to the inner body
  • Bile – a digestive juice secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder; bile emulsifies fats [see Emulsify]
  • Brush Border – an apt term for an epithelial surface covered with microvilli [see Epithelium and Microvilli]
  • Carnivore, Carnivorous – species who eats mainly other animals
  • Cecum – a blind pouch at the beginning of the large intestine
  • Central Nervous System – the brain and spinal cord
  • Cholagogue – a drug or other substance which promotes the discharge of bile from the gall bladder, purging it downward
  • Chyle – milky mix of emulsified dietary fat and lymph [see Bile, Emulsify, and Lymph]
  • Chyme – thick semifluid mass of partly digested food made in the stomach
  • Circulatory System – a system for delivery and pick-up
  • CNS - see Central Nervous System
  • Colon – a term for the large bowel or large intestine
  • Detoxify - to remove or to make safe, said of chemicals and poisons
  • Diffusion, Facilitated – diffusion requiring a carrier but not usually an energy source
  • Diffusion, Passive – movement of molecules or ions from an area of high concentration to an area of lower concentration
  • Digestion – the processes, both mechanical and chemical, by which food is broken down into absorbable form [see Absorption]
  • Digestive System – the digestive tract plus the internal organs of pancreas, liver and gall bladder [see Digestive Tract]
  • Digestive Tract – a complex specialized tube running from mouth to anus; the outside-the-inner-body part of the Digestive System
  • Duct – a tubular channel used to deliver a secretion or substance
  • Duodenum – the first section of the small intestine where the chyme is neutralized by buffers from the pancreas and bile delivered from the gall bladder
  • Electrolytes – dissolved ions, usually of minerals, that conduct electrical impulses which facilitate movement in and out of cells
  • Emulsify – to create a suspension of two substances, like oil and water, that would normally not mix
  • Endocrine – glands in the body, such as the thyroid, pituatary, pancreas, which secrete hormones directly into the blood stream to give orders and directions elsewhere
  • Endocrinopathic – trouble in the endocrine gland system, too much hormone production, too little hormone production [see Hormone]
  • Endocytosis – absorption by engulfing [see Pinocytosis and Phagocytosis]
  • ENS – [see Enteric Nervous System]
  • Enteric Nervous System – a subdivision of the Peripheral Nervous System that directly controls the gastrointestinal system
  • Enzymes - biomolecules constructed of amino acids that speed up biochemical reactions without themselves changing in the process
  • Epithelium – tissue which covers a surface or lines an organ and is composed of cells which secrete or transport or regulate; the skin (epidermis) is one form of epithelium
  • Feces – see Poop
  • Fermentable Fiber – fiber which the gut bacteria can utilize
  • Fiber – undigestible/nonabsorbable leftovers from plant digestion consisting of mainly complex sugar molecules
  • Fiber, Dietary – fiber naturally present in food ingredients
  • Fiber, Functional – fiber added to food items
  • Fiber, Soluble – fiber which can dissolve in water
  • Fiber, Insoluble – fiber which does not dissolve in water
  • Gall Bladder - storage organ for bile synthesized in the liver
  • Gastric Acid – a very acidic solution composed mainly of hydrochloric acid secreted into the stomach by special glands
  • Gland – A cell or group of cells or organ that produces a secretion for use elsewhere
  • Goblet Cells – specialized cells whose sole function is to secrete mucin which dissolves in water to form mucous (see Mucous)
  • Gut Bacteria – microscopic organisms living in the bowel in numbers which outnumber the cells of the body
  • Hematochezia – visible bright red blood on the stool [see Melena]
  • Hepatic – of the liver, involving the liver
  • Hormone – a chemical which controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organsKitten
  • Ileocecal Valve – the valve between the small intestine and the large intestine (see Sphincter)
  • Ileum – last section of the small intestine where absorption of Vitamin B12 and resorption of bile salts occurs and whose wall contains an abundance of Peyer's Patches
  • ICC – [see Interstitial Cells of Cajal]
  • Infection – inflammation in response to foreign invasion by bacteria or other invasive organisms (see Inflammation and Pus)
  • Inflammation – the body's innate and initial response to injury or other troubles characterized by pain, heat, redness, swelling and possible impairment of function (see Pus and Infection)
  • Interstitial Cells of Cajal – cells in the wall of the gut that act as pacemakers for movement contractions, that set the pace of action
  • Interstitial Fluid – the body's fluid outside the blood vessels
  • Involuntary – not under one's own control
  • Jujenum – longest and middle section of the small intestine where most absorption of nutrients occurs
  • Lacteal – the chyle collecting vessel in the middle of each villus [see Chyle and Villi/Villus}
  • Laxative – a food or drug that facilitates pooping
  • Leukocytes – white blood cells
  • Lumen – the interior space of a tubular organ such as an intestine or blood vessel
  • Lymph – interstitial fluid once that fluid has moved into the lymph system [see Interstitial Fluid]
  • Melena – occult or hidden blood mixed into the stool from a bleed higher in the digestive tract, often resulting in a dark tarry stool [see Hematochezia]
  • Mesentery – tissue constructed of folds of the peritoneum which supports the small intestine like a flexible scaffolding and carries the blood supply to the small intestine for absorption and transport of nutrients
  • Mesocolon – the mesentery of the large intestine [see Mesentery]
  • Metabolism, Metabolic – body processes at the cellular level
  • Microvilli – smaller villi covering the villi
  • Mitochondria – the power generators of a cell, power used to fuel cell division, absorption, etc. [see Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP]
  • Molecule – the smallest particle of a substance that retains the chemical and physical properties of the substance and is composed of two or more atoms. A molecule of water is an example; two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen forms a molecule of water.
  • Monocyte – a phagocytic white blood cells [see Phagocyte]
  • Mucin – a substance composed of glycosylated proteins emitted by the goblet cells which forms mucous in contact with water [see Goblet Cells and Mucous]Kitten
  • Mucous or Mucus – buffered slippery secretion of mucous membrane, a gel which lubricates and protects the membranes themselves and plays a role in immune function at the local level
  • Mucous (or Mucus) Membrane – mucous-secreting tissue lining all body passages that lead to the outer world
  • Muscle – specialized tissue with the ability to contract and to conduct electrical impulses
  • Neutrophil – a phagocytic white blood cell [see Phagocyte]
  • Omnivore, Omnivorous – species who eat both animal and plant foods
  • Organ – a fully differentiated structural and functional unit in an animal that is specialized for some particular function
  • Osmosis – diffusion of water across a selectively permeable membrane
  • Pepsin – a protyletic (protein digesting) enzyme produced by special cells in the stomach to initiate protein digestion
  • Peripheral Nervous System - the nerves belonging to other than the Central Nervous System and the Enteric Nervous System
  • Peristalsis – the rhythmic rippling motion of muscles in the digestive tract to move its contents along [see Segmentation]
  • Peritoneum – the membrane lining the body cavity
  • Peyer's Patches – patches of lymphoid tissue or lymphoid nodules especially prevalent on the wall of the ileum which contain large amounts of lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system
  • pH – a measure of how acid or alkaline a solution is
  • Phagocyte – white blood cells whose assignment is to move out of the blood into tissue or lymph to destroy bacteria or consume debris
  • Phagocytosis – absorption by 'eating' large molecules [see Endocytosis]
  • Pinocytosis – absorption by 'sipping' small water soluble molecules [see Endocytosis]
  • Plicae Circulares – folds of the inner lining of the small intestine
  • PNS - see Peripheral Nervous System
  • Poop – familiar term for waste material discharged from the bowel
  • Probiotics – supplement of beneficial live microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts
  • Pus – the hallmark of inflammation, a mix of white blood cells, fluid from damaged cells, and cellular debris (see Infection and Inflammation)
  • Pyloric Sphincter – the valve between the stomach and the small intestine (see Sphincter)
  • Rectum – the poop storage area of the large bowel
  • Resorb or Resorption – to absorb again [see Absorption], essentially a reversal of direction
  • Rugae – series of ridges produced by folding of the wall of an organ. Think origami. The stomach wall is folded into rugae, it is not smooth like a bowling ball.
  • Saliva – a mix of mucous, water, enzymes and electrolytes which serves to lubricate food's passage down the esophagus as well as cleansing and protecting the mouth
  • Segmentation – mixing contractions of the digestive tract; works in concert with peristalsis
  • Septicemia – toxic systemic bacterial infection
  • Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) – fermentation by-products of gut bacteria
  • Smooth Muscle – type of muscle in the gut wall as opposed to striated muscle; involuntary muscle
  • Sphincter/Valve – a ring of muscle that contracts to close an opening and relaxes to open
  • Striated Muscle – skeletal muscle (voluntary) and heart muscle (involuntary)
  • Stool – see Poop
  • Synthesize – to make something new out of different parts, whether a chemical or a rag rug or a casserole from leftovers
  • Translocation – change of location; gut bacterial breach of the barrier of the gut wall into the blood stream
  • Valve – see Sphincter
  • Vein – a blood vessel that carries deoxygenated blood back to the heart for reoxygenation
  • Venule – the smallest division of the veins
  • Villi (plural) and Villus (singular) – literally "shaggy hair", fingerlike projections on the wall of the small intestine, each covered in turn with microvilli
  • Voluntary – under one's own control
  • Water – the original, and still the most widely used, solvent; indispensable in poop to prevent constipation






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