cat anatomy, cat papillae, cat bones, cat body structure

Detailed Cat Anatomy

The habits of the animal allow the modification in the body which it needs.

The skeleton of the cat differs from other domestic animals in trivial details. The important parts of cat anatomy are discussed in details:


Figure 1, showing the proportionate relations of its skeleton. The thorax or chest has thirteen ribs, is very small in proportion to the body. This means a small lung space leaves behind an immense area for the digestive tract and the organs of propagation.

cat anatomy, cat tongue, cat ears, paws of cat, spine of cat
Figure 1

The head is round and the jaws are rather short. The eyes are large, and separated by a considerable interval. The ears become narrow as they ascend, and each stands with its deep concavity directed forward and outward.

The neck is a little shorter and less voluminous than the head. The front limbs are shorter than the hind limbs.

Each hind limb has a thigh, a leg, and a foot with four toes.

The proportions of the body are such that both the elbow and knee are placed close to the trunk. The shoulder-blade, the arm, and the forearm lie at very closed angles, as do also the thigh, leg, and foot. This conformation indicates at once a character of action of the cat with which we are all familiar.

The small lung area allows of quick, active movement, but not of prolonged work.

The large space for digestive tract shows that the animal is capable of taking advantage of all the luxuries of food.

The angular joints of the legs show power and possibility of quick movement, however, great speed or extension of stride. The enormous jumps which the cat takes are due to the great power and the closed angles of the joints of its legs.

The section of the vertebrae, the cat’s tail consists of between 20 and 23 bones.


Figures 2 show the skull of the cat and its dentition.

skull of cats, cat heads, dentition of cats
Fig 2

Cat’s teeth are set at more or less of a hook like angle, with the points turned toward the inside of the mouth that gives it a very powerful hold of anything which it grasps.

The cat has thirty teeth in all. In most mammals the side teeth are used for grinding food. It is also involved in the deglutition reflex and vocalisation. The cat has fewer side teeth (premolars and molars) than do most other mammals.

The salivary glands produce saliva which assists the digestion process by lubricating chewed food. You will be the first to know about our new products and offers.

The teeth of one side of the jaw—that there is first in front a row of incisors (three on either side—six in all), which are very small, and are practically rudimentary in this animal ; then two enormous canine teeth, which enable it to grasp its prey whether its a mouse, bird, or a simple piece of meat, hold it firmly.


The muzzle of the cat is soft, with long coarse hairs ordinarily called the “whiskers”, which are really organs of touch.

cat whiskers
Figure 3

These, like the hairs on the end of a horse’s muzzle, are deeply imbedded in the skin, touching at their roots sensory nerves, which indicate to the animal, when nosing over foreign objects or when feeling its way in the dark, that its head is coming in contact with foreign bodies; and they are really organs of self-protection.


when the nose is spoken of as being black or pink, it is meant to indicate that this coloration applies to the mucous membrane surrounding the nostrils, as is seen in the figure, represented by the two dark orifices of the nostrils, surrounded by the grayish hook-lines turning in opposite directions.


The cat’s tongue has sharp spines, or papillae, useful for retaining and ripping flesh. The papillae on their tongues pull water up from the surface.

papillae have other uses beyond eating—they’re also used extensively for grooming.

On the surface of a cat’s tongue, you will find tiny and backward-facing barbs. While most cat-owners don’t pay too much attention to their feline companions’ tongue, it is an essential part of a cat’s anatomy.

cat ears, can cats hear loudly, cats anatomy
Figure 5


Figure 5 talks about the ears of Cat. The inner ear is a complex structure that includes the cochlea (the organ of hearing) and the vestibular system (the organ of balance).

The semicircular canals, which are found within the inner ear, are filled with fluid and are important for maintaining balance.

These are highly developed in the cat, accounting for its agility and excellent sense of balance.


The pads of the feet of cats consist of bulbs of a fibro-elastic, fatty material, cohered by thick and dense epithelial membrane. It is a modification of the connective tissues and epithelial covering.

It is condensed in order to meet the extra friction which is needed for the feet which come in contact with the ground and must bear the animal’s weight. These pads in the forefeet are seven in number, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6

In the hind feet there are only five. Each pad consists of a mass of fibrous tissue and fat, and a large triobed one is placed beneath the ends of those bones on which the animal rests in walking, as represented in the figure given above.

Figure 7


Upper Figure : Claw at rest, Held back BY Elastic Ligament. Lower Figure : Claw Drawn DOWN BY Contraction of Tendon below, Elastic Ligament Stretched, and Claw Protruding.

It draws the claw forward and downward, thereby stretching the elastic ligament.

Taking your own cat at perfect rest and after patting it gently on the head and pass the hand down over the ends of the toes, when you will find that the claws can scarcely be felt; however, the instant the cat has been awakened and then the claws protrude as the paw and the foot are flexed.


The stomach is ample and the intestines which follow it are tin order to be contained in a limited space.

Figure 8

It is rare that cat have troubles coming from obstruction of the digestive tract unless the animal has accidentally swallowed some enormous foreign body or something poisonous.

Photo courtesy : | Paxabay | John Yesko | Image by TeGy from Pixabay | Image by sipa from Pixabay

Content Courtesy : Books By RUSH SHIPPEN HUIDEKOPER, M. D

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