Skeleton of a cat: detailed anatomy


It is amazing to observe how a cat deftly climbs trees, crawls through narrow cracks, jumps so that any gymnast can only envy her. And in this cat talent "blame" the amazing structure of the skeleton of a cat. The skeleton has at once two distinctive features: design and strength. And thanks to his fortress and special structure, the cat turns out to do such incredible things! How does the cat's spine work? What features (differences and similarities) of the skeleton of different breeds of cats? And what is the structure of the skull of a cat?

Spinal flexibility

To understand where a cat has such amazing flexibility, you need to get acquainted with the structure of its skeleton.

General information. It turns out that in this small creature there are much more bones in the skeleton than in us humans. The total number of cat bones is 244. There is 33 vertebra. What is important to note is that not all cat bones in the spine are the same size. Another anatomical detail is the presence of rudimentary (“unfinished”) parts in the spine. In particular, these are the bones of the shoulder girdle.

From the photo of the cat's skeleton, you can see into which departments and parts it is divided.:

What role and of which bones does each department consist of?

The cervical skeleton of a cat consists of seven large vertebrae. It performs the function of maintaining the head. Of course, both muscles and tendons help to cope with this function. But what is surprising is that each part has moving joints, which allows the cat to freely move its head all 180 degrees. Such freedom is possible and the fact that the cat's clavicle is not formed: small and not attached to the skeleton.

Another nuance: the first (it is also called Atlas) vertebra is connected to the second (Axial) small process. This is the Achilles heel of every cat. Any injury to this finger process can be detrimental to the animal.

The conical shape of the chest consists of 13 vertebrae. Ribs are attached to them. An amazing feature of the cat's physiology is its “false” ribs. The third part of the ribs does not attach to the thoracic vertebra. This phenomenon is typical for all cats, and allows the skeleton to be so flexible.

The lumbar region consists of the largest vertebrae, there are 7 of them, and the closer they are to the tail part, the larger. The anatomy of a cat's skeleton is amazing because its bones are especially dense. But this does not prevent them from being plastic. Why? Cartilaginous intervertebral pads provide elasticity of the joints, and give the cat a huge advantage in motion.

On each vertebra there are processes. It is attached to the muscles. Muscles, ligaments and tendons perform an enormous role. They hold all the internal organs of the sternum. In addition, the front legs do not have a strong bone connection with the skeleton. They are connected by tendons and muscles. The limbs of the cat are also unique. The front legs, due to the peculiarities of the anatomical structure, can rotate at an unimaginable angle.

The sacral part of the cat's skeleton is amazing. The hind legs and the sacrum, unlike all other bones, are firmly fixed in a reliable and durable construction. Thanks to this, the hind legs are powerful, the only way they can withstand enormous loads.

The tail section of different breeds of cats may differ in the number of vertebrae. One can only name two extreme numbers: 19 (Maine Coons) and 28 (mostly in all other breeds). The tail for the cat is of great importance.:

  • Movement coordination
  • Sense of balance
  • "Communicative" functions.

It is thanks to this part of the skeleton. The cat falls on its paws, walks along the edge of thin planes, clever in jumping. But the fact that the tail always "tells" about the desires and mood of the cat, every pet owner knows this.

All bones of the cat's vertebra are small. If we compare in proportion, the bones are too small compared to the skeletons of other animals.

Cat skull

Another interesting point - the structure of the cat's skull. Its two parts, the facial section and the medulla, are almost the same size, and consist of approximately the same number of bones: 13 and 11, respectively.

If you describe in more detail how the skeleton of the skull looks like, you get this picture. The shape of the skull is oval. It has huge eye sockets and a powerful jaw. Teeth sharp, bite - pincer. These features characterize the cat as a predator, which is well oriented at night. It can cope with any prey, will easily overcome hard bones and hard muscles of prey. The lower jaw is suspended and consists of two parts: vertical and horizontal.

Features of the structure and size of the skeleton of a cat's skull depend on its breed. It is here that the most revealing characteristics of different breeds.

What else is interesting? Predator teeth. There are sharp as a dagger fangs. Their other name is for fishing. It is their cat that is clever in hunting, it grabs the prey. There are teeth with notches. This is the root. They predator cuts prey. The role of the front - for nibble.

The skeleton and teeth of a cat characterizes the cat as a first-class hunter, successful and strong. This should tell you what to feed your pet, and what must be included in her diet.

Features of the cat's skeleton

The general structure of the skeleton of a cat is similar to the skeleton of other mammals, with the exception of some differences in the shape and location of individual bones, which is associated with the horizontal position of the spine and the maximum adaptability to the predator's lifestyle. In addition to this, differences in the forms and structure of individual bones may be due to pedigree characteristics. For example, the Siamese bones are narrower and longer than the Persian cats. In the photo below you can understand how the skeleton of a cat looks like without taking into account selection features.

The skeleton of a cat consists of an average of 244-250 bones. Separate sources mention the number 230-236, since some intergrown bones are counted as one. How many bones a cat has is affected by the length of the animal's tail, since it contains almost a tenth of all the bones of the cat's body (there are about 26 vertebrae in the “normal” tail).

Due to the smaller number of teeth in comparison with other predators, the cat's skull is characterized by a rounded shape. Its size will depend on the belonging to a particular breed or other hereditary traits. Representatives of the Persian, exotic and Himalayan breeds belong to the brachycephalic - owners of a shortened skull, because of which they have an anomalous structure of the sky, larynx and trachea. This explains the common problems in these breeds with a violation of nasal breathing, snoring and poor tolerance to physical exertion and heat.

The skull consists of 29 bones, while the brain part is formed from 11, and the front - from 13 bones. The very bones of the skull are distinguished by larger sizes than the facial ones. Characteristic features also include large eye sockets, narrowly located canines, adapted for hunting small animals. The main attribute of a predator, which is a cat, is a powerful jaw, which is equipped with different types of teeth. They allow you to grab and hold resisting prey, bite and grind food and, if necessary, defend.


The cat's spine is incredibly flexible because it is formed from small, moving bones. It is represented by a variety of vertebrae, which are divided into several sections:

  • Cervical region - consists of 7 larger vertebrae, which are responsible for the support and mobility of the head. Two of them with their own names - epistrophy (axial) and atlas - tend to rotate 180 °. They are connected by a thin process, therefore they belong to the vulnerable places of the cat: with blows and falls there is a high risk of breaking the connection, respectively a fracture of the cervical vertebrae and death.
  • Thoracic region - consists of 13 vertebrae, to which 12 pairs of rib bones are attached on either side. Of these, the first 5 pairs are called true, since they are held together with the chest bone, and the remaining ones are false, since they have the form of arcs.
  • The lumbar region is formed from the 7 largest vertebrae, the size of which increases as you approach the tail. They have special projections on the sides, on which the muscles and internal organs of the abdominal cavity are fastened.
  • The sacral region, unlike the ultraflexible lumbar, is characterized by a rigid intervertebral junction of three accrete vertebrae. This need stems from the fact that the hind limbs, which account for the main load during the movement of the animal (especially jumping), are attached to this area.
  • The tail section - plays a key role in maintaining the balance of the body during jumps or falls from a height. Strong muscular ligaments provide these animals with an ideal “jumping ability”, and cartilaginous spacers between the vertebrae provide the possibility of various movements (bends and rotations). The number of caudal vertebrae varies depending on the characteristics of the breed, and in some breeds they may be completely absent.

Limb structure

In the skeleton of the limbs of a cat, there are two sections:

  • The belt of the forelimbs (shoulder), a feature of which is the elastic attachment of the limbs, which is necessary for cats for safe jumps and a comfortable landing. It is represented by the scapula, humerus, radius and ulna bones (form the forearm), brush. The latter consists of the wrist, wrist, and phalanges of the fingers, which are only 5 on the forelegs.

Another unique feature of feline anatomy is the absence of a full-fledged clavicle. It is represented by two non-functional stones, which are not attached to the shoulder joint, but are freely located inside the muscles. The shoulder blades are attached to the spine due to the muscles, ligaments and tendons, due to which the shoulders have virtually no movement restrictions.

Interesting! Because of the unique structure of the clavicle, the cat is able to crawl even into the narrowest ones, if the head of the animal crawls through there, since it is the latter that is the most voluminous but not deformed part of the body.

  • The belt of the hind limbs, which, unlike the shoulder girdle, is rigidly and motionless attached to the sacrum. It includes: pelvic and femoral bones, patella, large and small tibia, tarsus and metatarsal, to which the phalanges of the fingers are attached. The pelvic bones of the hind legs are more long and better developed than the front ones, and the metatarsal bones are more massive, which is due to the peculiarities of the movement of the animal (in particular, jumping). Due to the structure of the limbs, cats can quickly move in horizontal and vertical planes, so they are great woodworms. The hind legs rest on the phalanx of 4 fingers. Like other mammals, the elbows of the cats bend back, the knees forward. That part of the paw that can be mistaken for the knee bent back is actually the heel, and the true knee is located in the lower abdomen of the animal.

Features of the structure of cats

Cats became pets much later than dogs. Therefore, they retained the structure of the body, characteristic of all members of the feline family. The length of the torso of a domestic cat varies within 60 cm, and the length of the tail - 25-30 cm. The average weight of a cat is 2.5–6.5 kg, but impressive specimens of 7–9 kg come across. And cats of Siberian and Maine Coon breeds can weigh 11-13 kg. There were cases when cats reached 20 kg, but most often this was due to obesity.

On average, cats weigh up to 6.5 kg, but Maine Coons and Siberians can weigh up to 13 kg.

There are 4 parts of the cat's body:

  1. Head. It distinguishes the brain (skull) and facial (muzzle) parts. The forehead, nose, ears, teeth also belong to the front.
  2. Neck. Here distinguish the upper part and the lower region.
  3. Torso. Presented by the withers (it is formed by the five first thoracic vertebrae and the upper edges of the scapula, which are at the same level with them), back, loin, pectoral region (chest), croup, groin area, abdomen, mammary gland and prepuce, anal region, tail.
  4. Limbs. Thoracic (anterior): shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, metacarpus and pelvic (posterior): thigh, knee, shin, heel, metatarsus.

The skeleton of a cat and its joints

The skeleton plays the role of a skeleton of bones (there are about 240 in a cat) and has 2 sections: axial and peripheral.

The skeleton of a cat has about 240 bones.

The axial section includes:

    The spine, consisting of 30 vertebrae, which are conventionally divided into 5 sections. The vertebrae of the cervical region are large and allow the cat to turn the head almost 180 degrees without changing the position of the body. The tail also belongs to the spine, it allows you to keep good balance when jumping and falling.

The tail is part of the spine and helps to keep balance

Cats have shorter skulls than other mammals.

The peripheral division includes the fore and hind limbs.

We all know that cats walk like on their toes, without stepping on their heels. This is due to the fact that the knee is located higher than we usually think - near the abdomen.

On each of the front paws there are 5 fingers, on the hind paws - 4. Each finger ends with a sharp claw, in a quiet state hidden in the so-called sac.

The cat releases claws only when necessary.

Cat joints are divided into:

  • the seams that are formed between the fused bones of the skull and consist of solid fibers, lacking mobility,
  • cartilaginous, which consist of strong cartilage, in a cat these compounds are more flexible and mobile than in other animals,
  • synovial - are connections between two or several bones, providing them with greater mobility, the main types of such connections:
    • ball,
    • articulated.

Muscular system

Cats have an unusually developed muscular system. This is proved by their amazing long-distance jumps and fast running. Also, a set of muscles helps the cat to keep its aristocratic bearing.

Due to the developed muscular system, the cat is able to perform amazing movements.

In total, the cat has about 500 muscles. They can be divided into 3 categories:

  • heart muscle
  • smooth muscles that control the internal organs and work involuntarily
  • striated muscle, which the cat controls itself.

Special fibers are part of all muscles. The cat's muscles contain 3 types of cells:

  • greatly reduced, but work for a short time - thanks to them the cat is able to jump over long distances, the power of these cells is not able to act for a long time,
  • with a strong reduction they work for a long time - there are few such cells in the cat, which explains its inability to run for long distances,
  • they quietly contract and work for a long time - this kind of muscle cells is involved in the cat during a hunt, when it sits in ambush for a long time, and also quietly and gently sneaks.

During the hunt the cat involved muscle cells that can work for a long time

The structure of the shoulder girdle has a peculiarity: the muscles connect the front limbs and the trunk, while in humans, the clavicle connects them. In cats, it is in its infancy.

To take a step, the cat is repelled by its hind legs, and the front ones are engaged in the process of inhibition. Due to the elasticity of the spinal muscles, the cat easily twists into a ball and adopts other fancy poses.

Leather and wool

Skin and coat protect the cat's body from external influences: microbes, overheating and overcooling.

Cat's skin performs protects the body from the harmful effects of the environment

There are two main layers in the cat's skin:

  1. Epidermis - the top layer of skin.
  2. The dermis, inside of which there are blood capillaries, hair follicles, nerve endings that transmit signals, as well as the sebaceous glands that respond to nerve signals. Each hair follicle has its own sebaceous gland, which produces sebum, giving shine to the wool. Special sebaceous glands are located in the anus and between the fingers, they produce pheromones. The sebaceous glands, located on the face, serve the cat in order to mark the territory.

Feline hair has special cells called cuticular. They reflect light, giving the wool a healthy shine. Therefore, the dull hair of an animal always talks about problems in the body. The hair follicle has a straightening muscle, which is able to raise the hair of an animal, for example, in case of strong fear or hypothermia.

Cat hair is raised with a straightening muscle.

Cat hair performs a tactile function. The whiskers located in cats on the muzzle, throat and forepaws are called vibrissae. They are clearly visible on the body of the animal. There are also small hairs - trilothies, which are scattered on the surface of the animal's body.

Respiratory system

Breathing provides the body with oxygen, and also eliminates excess water.

The cat's respiratory system is similar to most mammals.

Respiratory organs include:

    Nose. Inhaled air enters the nasal cavity, which contains mucus, which retains small particles of dust, hairs and bacteria and does not allow them to enter the lungs.

Nose retains inhaled dust particles, hairs and bacteria

Сам процесс дыхания кошки можно описать следующим образом: под действием грудных мышц и диафрагмы лёгкие расширяются и тянут воздух через носовую полость в дыхательные пути до достижения альвеол, которые соприкасаются с кровеносными сосудами и насыщают их кислородом, в то же время выводя из них углекислый газ.

Система кровообращения

The cat’s circulatory system includes the heart and blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body:

  • arteries are vessels through which blood flows from the heart to the organs, they are saturated with oxygen,
  • veins - vessels through which blood flows from organs to the heart, are saturated with carbon dioxide,
  • The capillaries are small vessels that provide for the exchange of substances between tissues and blood.

The heart is a special muscle that regulates the movement of blood through the vessels. A cat's heart weighs 16–32 g, it is four-chamber and has 2 halves, each of which has an atrium and a ventricle. The left side is responsible for the arterial circulation, and the right side for the venous. The great circle of blood circulation originates in the left ventricle and passes into the right atrium. The lesser circle - from the right ventricle, which ends in the left atrium, then passes into the left ventricle, again starting a large circle.

Pulse - compression and weakening of blood vessels in time with the rhythm of heartbeat. On average, in cats, it reaches 130–140 beats per minute and may vary depending on the emotional and physical state of the cat.

The cat’s pulse can be felt on the artery located on the inner side of the thigh.

The cat has a peculiar composition of blood, and the blood of other mammals is not suitable for it. There are three types of blood: A, B, AB.

The liver and spleen produce blood cells. A large proportion of the blood is yellow plasma, 30–40% is erythrocytes, and the rest is white blood cells and platelets.

Digestive and Excretory Systems

The digestive system regulates the process of eating, nutrient absorption and the removal of undigested residues.

The organs of the digestive system are involved in the process of digesting food.

The digestion cycle is carried out per day. In this process are involved:

  • oral cavity,
  • pharynx,
  • esophagus,
  • stomach - Ph environment in the stomach is more acidic than that of a person, which allows digesting coarse food and fighting bacteria in the stern,
  • the small intestine, in cats it is short and does not allow good digestion of carbohydrates,
  • colon,
  • liver,
  • the kidneys.

The process of digestion begins in the mouth, as soon as it gets food. The salivary gland softens hard food, facilitating its passage into the stomach and esophagus.

The process of digesting food begins in the mouth.

Under the influence of saliva, the food in the mouth begins to split. The full process of food processing takes place in 4 stages:

  1. The bottom of the stomach shrinks, pushing the contents towards the gatekeeper.
  2. The contents of the stomach enters the duodenum in the following order: fluid, carbohydrates, proteins, fats.
  3. Food passes the small intestine, where the absorption of nutrients.
  4. Residues of food get into the large intestine, fecal masses are formed and removed.

The cat's stomach is constantly active. The cat usually eats often, but little by little (10–16 times).

Brain and endocrine system

Anatomically, the cat's brain is similar to the brain of any mammal.

According to its structure, the brain of a cat is similar to the brain of any mammal.

Different parts of the brain are responsible for a particular function in the body:

  • parietal lobe processes information received through the senses,
  • big brain is responsible for consciousness,
  • the corpus callosum connects the right and left hemispheres,
  • the frontal lobe is responsible for voluntary movements,
  • olfactory bulb is responsible for the perception of odors,
  • the hypothalamus secretes hormones and controls the autonomic nervous system,
  • the pituitary gland coordinates and controls the work of other glands,
  • the spinal cord transmits information from the brain to the body,
  • the pineal gland is responsible for sleep and wakefulness
  • the cerebellum controls movement, muscle work,
  • temporal lobe is responsible for behavior and memory
  • occipital lobe receives visual and tactile signals.

The endocrine system affects the basic functions that occur in the body with the help of hormones. Most hormones secrete the pituitary and hypothalamus. Also, some of them produce the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries in cats and testicles in cats.

The endocrine system affects the basic functions of the body

Front limbs belt

The belt of the forelimbs (or shoulder girdle) in cats has some peculiarities. Unlike our human clavicle, which connects the shoulder and sternum, rudimentary clavicle cats"swims", it is held in place only by the muscle. Therefore, the cat's front legs do not have a rigid connection with the main skeleton, they are connected by strong elastic tendons. Thanks to this anatomical feature, known as the floating shoulder, the paws act as shock absorbers when jumping from a height. In this case, of course, cats can not have a fracture of the clavicle, but, unfortunately, sprains occur. The floating shoulder allows the cat to move quickly and smoothly: the free movement of the shoulder noticeably lengthens the cat's pace, making it glide, as if slow.

The cat has 5 fingers on its fore limbs (in general, cats are finger-pointing, that is, they walk as if tiptoeing).

The claw grows from the last, distal phalanx of the finger and is connected to it with tendons. During a hunt or fight, the cat releases its claws, reducing the flexor muscles of the fingers, which pull the tendons on the underside of the paw. At rest and while walking, the claws of a cat are usually drawn into the pads and hidden under the ligaments of the upper side of the paws. The exception is the first finger: it is rudimentary, it grows apart from the rest of the fingers, and the claw on it does not retract into the pad.

Cat's claws - this is a modified skin: the translucent outer layer of the epidermis, consisting of dense keratin protein, protects the living tissue of the dermis. In the dermis there are blood vessels and nerve endings, so the damage to the claws is extremely painful for the cat.

Hind limbs

Unlike the forelimbs, the hindlimb girdle is quite the opposite. rigidly attached to the sacrum. The bones on the hind legs are longer and more developed than the corresponding ones on the front ones. This is due to a significantly greater load on the hind limbs. When walking or running slowly, the cat pushes mainly with its hind legs: its front paws, touching the ground, act more like brakes, holding a light push forward.

The kitten's long limb bones are hollow cartilage tubes. At an early age, they are saturated with calcium, hardened, and cartilage is replaced by bone. The bones grow in length, due to the constant growth of bone tissue in the region of their terminal thickenings - the epiphysis, which is supplied with blood through a multitude of very thin vessels.

On the hind legs of the cat 4 fingers. Like all mammals, cats elbows bend back and knees forward. The fact that at first glance the knee may seem to be bent back is actually a heel - cats have a long back foot. Sometimes, as a result of a genetic abnormality, a multi-feline cat (polydactyly) can be born, or vice versa, a cat with fewer fingers (oligodactyly).

Cat joints

Cat joints can be divided into three types: stitches, cartilaginous and synovial. All of them have their own degree of mobility, and each of them performs its functions.

Stitches formed between the fused bones of the skull and willows consist of solid fibers. They generally lack mobility. So, for example, the cat's lower jaw is actually two intergrown bones connected between the incisors. If the cat hits the ground with its chin when dropped from a height, the jaw may break. As a rule, in this case there is not a fracture, but only a rupture of the fibrous tissue, that is, the seam connecting the two jaw bones diverges.

Cartilage joints composed of durable cartilage. In a cat, these compounds are more flexible and mobile than in other animals. They give the cat a special body flexibility. An example of cartilage joints can serve as thick discs between the vertebrae. During skeletal growth in kittens, the epiphyses at the ends of the long bones also consist of cartilage, so they are less durable and more prone to injury than the epiphyses in adult cats.

During skeletal growth in kittens, the epiphyses at the ends of the long bones also consist of cartilage, so they are less durable and more prone to injury than the epiphyses in adult cats.

Synovial joints - these are connections between two or several bones, providing them with greater mobility. The main types of such joints are ball and joint joints. In these compounds, the contacting surfaces of the bones, covered with smooth articular cartilage, are surrounded by a special capsule, the cavity of which is filled with synovial fluid. For example, this structure has very flexible leg joints.

Features of the structure of the skeleton of cats

The spine is more flexible and mobile due to the fact that the cat has about 40 bones more than a person. The cervical region is so mobile that their head can turn almost 180 degrees. The bones of the front and hind legs differ in their density: the front are more mobile, and the rear are much more powerful, which is associated with adaptation to jumping.

Anatomically, the skeleton is very similar to the bone structure in dogs and other mammals that are adapted to horizontal movement, but cats have more anatomical segments, which gives them flexibility. A very narrow chest and tail allow cats to walk very smoothly and keep their balance at any height. The skeleton of a cat is divided into:

  • Axial skeleton:
    • head skeleton (skull),
    • bones of the body (spine, chest),
    • tail.
  • Peripheral skeleton:
    • skeleton of the fore (chest) limb,
    • skeleton of the hind (pelvic) limb.

In some cats, the number of vertebra is controlled, depending on the breed.

Skeleton head

It consists of a brain and facial part in a 1: 1 ratio. This means that in cats the brain is more developed, because in most animals the facial part of the skull predominates. In the brain part there are 11 bones, and in the front - 13, but maybe 1-2 more or less. The bones, with the exception of the lower jaw, are completely immobile.

The bones of the skull are quite solid, because they must protect the brain and sensory organs. The most powerful bones of the head are the jaw, especially the lower jaw. The orbits occupy a very large part of the head. This explains the ability of the feline to hunt other animals.

In a kitten, milk teeth appear in the second week after birth, and at the age of 4 to 6 weeks they change to permanent ones. An adult cat has 30 well-differentiated teeth: 12 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars and 4 molars. The first two types of teeth are needed to capture prey and cutting, and the rest to tear and chew meat. In domestic cats, the upper molars may be absent, because they do not need to go hunting. Special cat food is quite soft and pets do not need to chew food thoroughly.

The correct bite is a pincer-shaped bite, but it is also found to be undershot. Due to the same adaptation to home conditions, smack does not play a big role in the cat's life.

Torso skeleton

The body consists of a flexible vertebra, ribs and brisket. The spine has sections that differ in the structure of the vertebrae. The cervical region has 7 vertebrae, which consist of the arc, body and processes. Their function is to hold the head. The first vertebra is called the atlas and, unlike the others, it has no processes, but consists of two arcs. The second is an epistrophy or axial. It has a special process that connects it with the atlas. Thus, the cat can turn its head in any direction. Since this part is very mobile, flea collars can damage it, because, despite the flexibility and mobility of cats, some bones are quite fragile.

The thoracic region has 13 vertebrae, to which 12 pairs of ribs are attached. Towards the tail, their length increases. The lumbar region has 7 larger vertebrae, to which the muscles are attached, which provides the muscles of the hind limbs and pelvis. This department is all elastic, in fact thanks to him the cats are very flexible. Sacral department is the largest and immobile. It was formed as a result of the connection of three massive sacral vertebrae. During landing, the sacrum is the fulcrum that provides a normal jump.

Like humans, cats have 12 pairs of ribs. From above, the first 8 pairs will join the vertebrae, below the sternum. The rest are recorded only to the spinal column and freely “swim”. This explains the ability of cats to curl up.

The brisket consists of three separate bones that have grown together. Distinguish between the handle, the body and the xiphoid process. It is very massive, the whole serves to protect important internal organs (lungs, heart).

The tail is used to coordinate the movement of the pet. It also consists of vertebrae, the number of which ranges from 18 to 39. There are quite tailless cats. During the jump, the tail helps ease the flight and lands properly. He also determines the mood of the animal and provides a comfortable sleep for the animal.

Skeleton of the fore (chest) limb

It consists of a belt and a skeleton of a free limb. Belt includes clavicle and scapula. The peculiarity of the belt structure is the free location of the clavicle, which is fastened with only one end. This allows you to expand the amplitude of motion and depreciation during jumps. The scapula is a flat bone that consists of an inner and an outer surface. The muscles of the back and limbs are attached to it.

The free limb consists of the upper arm (humerus), the forearm (radius and ulna) and the wrist (the bones of the wrist, the wrist, and the phalanges). The last phalanxes of each finger are the basis for the claws. Claws are drawn into the pad and pulled back if necessary. There are no claws on the first fingers of the front limbs. On the hand there are 5 fingers that are supported during the animal.

The forepaw is able to bend at the elbow, and in the radiocarpal - to rotate. This can be observed while washing the cat.

Skeleton of the hind (pelvic) limbs

The hind legs differ in their structure from the front. The pelvic girdle consists of the ileum, the pubic, and the sciatic, which form the hip joint.

The skeleton of a free limb consists of three parts: the femur (femur), the shin (fibula and tibia), the foot (bones of the tarsus, the metatarsus and the phalanges). The cat's foot is modified, so it is also called the lower back. Thanks to this structure, the pet can stand on its hind legs.

The hind legs are bent forward in the knee joint, unlike the elbow joint, which bends in the opposite direction. All fingers on the lower limbs have claws, besides they are covered with a wide layer of skin, due to which the fingers are more pronounced. But there are only 4 on one paw.