Cat Anatomy and Skeletal System

cat anatomy
cat skeletal system

The cat has a unique skeletal system that gives it the ability to jump, twist and turn. The cat’s bones are both lightweight and strong, which allows for flexibility in its body. It can curl up into a ball or stretch out on full length when necessary. Let’s look at the anatomical structure of the feline skeleton!

The cat’s anatomy is very interesting because they have some characteristics that are similar to humans while others differ greatly. Cats have about 230 bones in their bodies, divided into four different types of bones: long, short, flat and irregular. The primary difference between cats and humans is that cats have thirteen pairs of ribs instead of twelve in humans. The shape of each rib also differs quite drastically from those found on a human being.

Cat skelatal system

Cats are one of the most graceful creatures in the world. The cat anatomy allows them to do everything, from climbing trees and jumping effortlessly to sleeping on your favorite recliner. Their body is leaner and denser than other mammals, which gives it a powerful muscular system that absorbs all impacts when jumping or falling down.

When it comes to knowing their body and being able to use it efficiently, cats understand the concept of equilibrium and how much pressure they should put on a single limb or how long they can stretch before any damage is done. The cat anatomy allows these animals to survive in the wild as well as in our homes.

cat skull

Cats skull

The cat’s skull comprises several bones that together form the cranium (the upper part which contains the brain), with eye sockets on either side. Their jaw is very strong and powerful. Their skull consists of twenty-six teeth; their mouth consists of twelve incisors that are slender and strong, four canines and ten premolars, and four molars for chewing food finely before swallowing.

This image shows the cats hind legs. You can see the dewclaw which is higher than the rest and doesn't touch the ground.

Cat paws

Each of their paws is very unique. Cats can move each paw independently of the others, which provides greater flexibility when walking, running, and climbing. Their claws are protractible which means that they will always remain sharp as the hard ground doesn’t wear them down. Cats are capable of extending their claws for self-defense or for hunting down prey. 

Most cats have eighteen claws, five on each of their front paws and four on the back. The back leg also has a fifth claw called the dewclaw; this doesn’t touch the ground and isn’t weight-bearing. Some cats have more than this due to a gene mutation resulting in between six and eight claws per foot. This mutation is known as polydactyly

cats tail


The cat’s tail helps to maintain balance when running at high speeds, jumping, or even doing acrobatics. When they pounce on prey, the tail acts as a counterbalance by first whipping backward and then quickly returning to its original position. The cat’s tail extends from its backbone and has on average twenty-three bones known as the caudal vertebrae

Cat Anatomy

cat anatomy

The efficiency of a cat’s internal organs allows them to function properly while hunting or defending themselves against any potential dangers. They can digest their food rapidly, which helps prevent starvation while also ensuring they receive enough nutrients for energy and growth.


Cats’ internal organs are also very compact, which allows for greater agility and movement. The heart is very efficient and can pump five times more blood than that of a human. This allows for greater speed when running or climbing while ensuring the cat’s internal organs and brain receive enough blood to function at their highest rate.

Cats rely very heavily on their sense of smell. They use their nose to determine if another animal is friend or foe while also determining what type of prey they may be hunting that evening. The cat’s whiskers play a big part in hunting and balance. By flicking their whiskers ahead of them, the cat can determine if there are any obstacles in its path.



All the feline skeletal system components work together to provide great strength while also protecting vital organs such as the brain and heart from any potential damage.

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