Understanding Cat Anatomy
Cats mean so much to us. As our beloved pets, they provide us with a great deal of joy and fulfillment. And we do everything we can to make sure they’re living extraordinary lives.
It’s easy to forget that in addition to being our entertaining and loving pets, our cats are also incredible athletes with fascinating anatomies. By taking a closer look at our cats’ bodies, we can appreciate their extraordinary nature even more.
A GREAT VARIETY OF SIZES
The diversity of sizes represents the diversity of cats generally – breeds come from all over the world, and crossbreeding is common. Some cats, like the Devon Rex, Peterbald or American Curl, are small. While Ragdolls, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats are some of the noticeably larger and more common cat breeds.
A SENSITIVE, EXPRESSIVE TAIL
Did you know your cat’s tail is what helps him or her stay balanced? Considering how often many cats climb, run and jump, keeping balance is crucial. A cat’s tail, which is composed of many small vertebrae, is also vital for communication: cats often express important information and feelings through the positions of their tails.
Since tail injuries can be serious, it is important to teach children to be gentle with a cat’s tail.
IMPRESSIVE STRENGTH AND AMAZING VISION
Cats are born to be great hunters. So their muscles and strong hind legs allow them to stalk and pounce upon their prey with speed and accuracy. A cat's skull is also helpful in the hunt: cats have unusually large eye sockets that house a powerful set of eyes.
Your cat’s eyes have a thin layer of cells in the retinas that reflect light back into the eye. This, along with the ability to dilate pupils extremely wide, makes your cat incredibly well-equipped for staying active in low-light situations, such as hunting or playing around the home.
FLEXIBLE SKIN AND SPECIALIZED FUR
Have you ever noticed how loose your cat's skin is? This is actually an advantage to cats in the wild – loose skin means that cats are flexible to move around quickly during confrontations. Around the ears, cats have specialized fur that helps them hear well and stay alert.
This is just a primer for understanding the basics of your cat’s body. You can get more in depth about what makes your cat unique when you talk with your veterinarian. Or check out many of the resources for cat owners we have here on Purina.com.