Just Facts In Cat Anatomy



Just Facts In Cat Anatomy
Cat anatomy is quite similar to that of other animals. For instance, they have a cardiovascular system that contains a heart and blood vessels. Cats also have a respiratory system consisting of trachea and lungs. They have muscles and bones, with skin and hair covering all. However, they do not sweat through their skin like humans do, but only sweat on their noses and the pads of their paws. To cool off, cats, like dogs, have to pant.

How many muscles does a cat have? There are 32 of them just to control the ear! In all, a cat has 517 muscles. A cat's heart beats 120 times a minute when resting and 240 beats a minute when active. In general, smaller animals have a quicker heart rate than larger ones.

What about a cat's purr? How do they do that? Cat anatomy includes a blood vein called the vena cava. This vein narrows where it pass into the liver and diaphragm. When the cat is relaxed, the blood in this vein forms ripples, which make the vibrations we feel when a cat is purring.

On each front paw, cats have five claws, and on each rear paw, they have four. It is not unusual for a cat to have an extra toe, however. This oddity of cat anatomy is known as polydactylism.

How many teeth does a cat have? It has thirty, and each one is designed for doing a special job. The teeth of a cat can cut through a rodent's spine. It's molars cut the food into bite size pieces. Cat anatomy is such that cats cannot move their jaws from side to side, so they tend to swallow small chunks whole. A baby kitten grows baby teeth, that fall out at around 6 months. They usually have their permanent teeth around 9 months of age.

Forty percent of American cats are such fat cats that their cat anatomy qualifies as obese. However, the fattest cat in the world may just be Abby, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She is reported to weigh in at 76 pounds (35 kg).

How fast can a house cat run? Your cat does seem fast when you need to catch it for some reason! The average cat can run 30 miles an hour (48 km/hour)! Cat anatomy is designed for speed and accuracy is also part of the picture, since a cat is able to jump exactly where they want to. They can do this because of the way their face is shaped. They are one of the few animals that has a flat face. This allows their two eyes to work together for a more accurate 3-D view.

Cat anatomy is truly a wonder!


  • Both humans and cats have identical regions in the brain responsible for emotion.

  • A cat's brain is more similar to a man's brain than that of a dog.

  • A cat has more bones than a human; humans have 206, but the cat has 230 (some cites list 245 bones, and state that bones may fuse together as the cat ages).

  • Cats have 30 vertebrae--5 more than humans have.

  • Cats do not have a collarbone, so they can fit through any opening the size of their head.

  • The cat has 500 skeletal muscles (humans have 650).

  • Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear (compared to human's 6 muscles each). A cat can rotate its ears independently 180 degrees, and can turn in the direction of sound 10 times faster than those of the best watchdog.

  • Cats' hearing is much more sensitive than humans and dogs.

  • Cats' hearing stops at 65 kHz (kilohertz); humans' hearing stops at 20 kHz.

  • In relation to their body size, cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.

  • Most cats do not have eyelashes.

  • A cat sees about 6 times better than a human at night, and needs 1/6 the amount of light that a human does - it has a layer of extra reflecting cells which absorb light.

  • Recent studies have shown that cats can see blue and green. There is disagreement as to whether they can see red.

  • A cat's field of vision is about 185 degrees.

  • Blue-eyed, white cats are often deaf.

  • It may take as long as 2 weeks for a kitten to be able to hear well. Their eyes usually open between 7 and 10 days, but sometimes it happens in as little as 2 days.

  • A cat has approximately 60 to 80 million olfactory cells (a human has between 5 and 20 million).

  • Cats have a special scent organ located in the roof of their mouth, called the Jacobson's organ. It analyzes smells - and is the reason why you will sometimes see your cat "sneer" when they encounter a strong odour.

  • A cat has a total of 24 whiskers, 4 rows of whiskers on each side. The upper two rows can move independently of the bottom two rows. A cat uses its whiskers for measuring distances.

  • Cats have 30 teeth (12 incisors, 10 premolars, 4 canines, and 4 molars), while dogs have 42. Kittens have baby teeth, which are replaced by permanent teeth around the age of 7 months.

  • When a cat drinks, its tongue - which has tiny barbs on it - scoops the liquid up backwards.

  • Cats purr at the same frequency as an idling diesel engine, about 26 cycles per second.

  • Domestic cats purr both when inhaling and when exhaling.

  • The cat's front paw has 5 toes, but the back paws have 4. Some cats are born with as many as 7 front toes and extra back toes (polydactyl).

  • Cats step with both left legs, then both right legs when they walk or run.

  • Cats walk on their toes.

  • A domestic cat can sprint at about 31 miles per hour.

  • The heaviest cat on record weighed 46 lbs.

  • A kitten will typically weigh about 3 ounces at birth. The typical male housecat will weigh between 7 and 9 pounds, slightly less for female housecats.

  • Cats take between 20-40 breaths per minute.

  • Normal body temperature for a cat is 102 degrees F.

  • A cat's normal pulse is 140-240 beats per minute, with an average of 195.

  • Cat's urine glows under a black light.

  • Cats lose almost as much fluid in the saliva while grooming themselves as they do through urination.

  • Almost 10% of a cat's bones are in its tail, and the tail is used to maintain balance.

  • The domestic cat is the only species able to hold its tail vertically while walking. You can also learn about your cat's present state of mind by observing the posture of his tail.

  • If a cat is frightened, the hair stands up fairly evenly all over the body; when the cat threatens or is ready to attack, the hair stands up only in a narrow band along the spine and tail.

  • Maicis, the primitive ancestor of cats, was a small, tree-living creature of the late Eocene period, some 45 to 50 million years ago.

  • Phoenician cargo ships are thought to have brought the first domesticated cats to Europe in about 900 BC.

  • The first true cats came into existence about 12 million years ago.

  • The ancient Egyptians were the first to tame the cat (in about 3000 BC), and used them to control pests.

  • Ancient Egyptian family members shaved their eyebrows in mourning when the family cat died.

  • In Siam, the cat was so revered that one rode in a chariot at the head of a parade celebrating the new king.

  • Cats have been domesticated for half as long as dogs have been.

  • The Pilgrims were the first to introduce cats to North America.

  • The first breeding pair of Siamese cats arrived in England in 1884.

  • The first formal cat show was held in England in 1871; in America, in 1895.

  • The Maine Coon cat is America's only natural breed of domestic feline. It is 4 to 5 times larger than the Singapura, the smallest breed of cat.

  • There are approximately 100 breeds of cat.

  • The life expectancy of cats has nearly doubled since 1930 - from 8 to 16 years.

  • Cats respond most readily to names that end in an "ee" sound.

  • The female cat reaches sexual maturity within 6 to 10 months; most veterinarians suggest spaying the female at 5 months, before her first heat period. The male cat usually reaches sexual maturity between 9 and 12 months.

  • Female cats are "polyestrous," which means they may have many heat periods over the course of a year. A heat period lasts about 4 to 7 days if the female is bred; if she is not, the heat period lasts longer and recurs at regular intervals.

  • A female cat will be pregnant for approximately 9 weeks - between 62 and 65 days from conception to delivery.

  • Female felines are "super fecund," which means that each of the kittens in her litter can have a different father.

  • Many cats love having their forehead gently stroked.

  • If a cat is frightened, put your hand over its eyes and forehead, or let him bury his head in your armpit to help calm him.

  • A cat will tremble or shiver when it is in extreme pain.

  • Cats should not be fed tuna exclusively, as it lacks taurine, an essential nutrient required for good feline health.

  • Purring does not always indicate that a cat is happy and healthy - some cats will purr loudly when they are terrified or in pain.

  • Not every cat gets "high" from catnip. If the cat doesn't have a specific gene, it won't react (about 20% do not have the gene). Catnip is non-addictive.

  • Cats must have fat in their diet because they can't produce it on their own.

  • While many cats enjoy milk, it will give some cats diarrhoea.

  • A cat will spend nearly 30% of her life grooming herself.

  • When a domestic cat goes after mice, about 1 pounce in 3 results in a catch.

  • Mature cats with no health problems are in deep sleep 15 percent of their lives. They are in light sleep 50 percent of the time. That leaves just 35 percent awake time, or roughly 6-8 hours a day. Cats come back to full alertness faster than any other creature.

  • A cat can jump 5 times as high as it is tall.

  • Spaying a female before her first or second heat will greatly reduce the threat of mammary cancer and uterine disease. A cat does not need to have at least 1 litter to be healthy, nor will they "miss" motherhood. A tabby named "Dusty" gave birth to 420 documented kittens in her lifetime, while "Kitty" gave birth to 2 kittens at the age of 30, having given birth to a documented 218 kittens in her lifetime.

  • Neutering a male cat will, in almost all cases, stop him from spraying (territorial marking), fighting with other males (at least over females), as well as lengthen his life and improve its quality.

  • Declawing a cat is the same as cutting a human's fingers off at the knuckle. There are several alternatives to a complete declawing, including trimming or a less radical (though more involved) surgery to remove the claws. Instead, train your cat to use a scratching post.

  • The average lifespan of an outdoor-only (feral and non-feral) is about 3 years; an indoor-only cat can live 16 years and longer. A female tabby named "Ma" lived for 34 years, making her the oldest reliably documented housecat.

  • Cats with long, lean bodies are more likely to be outgoing, and more protective and vocal than those with a stocky build.

  • A steady diet of dog food may cause blindness in your cat - it lacks taurine.

  • An estimated 50% of today's cat owners never take their cats to a veterinarian for health care. Too, because cats tend to keep their problems to themselves, many owners think their cat is perfectly healthy when actually they may be suffering from a life-threatening disease. Therefore, cats, on an average, are much sicker than dogs by the time they are brought to your veterinarian for treatment.

  • Never give your cat aspirin unless specifically prescribed by your veterinarian; it can be fatal. Never ever give Tylenol to a cat. And be sure to keep anti-freeze away from all animals - it's sweet and enticing, but deadly poison.

  • Most cats adore sardines (yuck).