Cat Facts & Fun Cats

Cat Skeleton – How Many Bones Does A Cat Have?

Cat skeleton

Cat skeletonAnybody who admires a cat’s agility understands it’s right down to the cat skeleton. Their distinctive cat bone construction permits them to twist, flip, and leap, making them sleek and capable of carry out exceptional feats.

It’s time to look inside our feline associates and discover out: what number of cat bones are in a cat skeleton? There are greater than you assume, they usually permit cats to do some fascinating issues!

Whereas we’re counting, we may also discover some enjoyable information about your feline’s skeleton. We’ll take a look at the bones making up their cranium and present the way it truly incorporates many bones.

To point out you ways the cat’s skeleton provides it exceptional flexibility, we’ll research the backbone and tail of a cat, the a part of the cat skeleton that makes them supple and agile. The article will inform you about cat’s legs, and present you ways their skeleton makes them one in every of nature’s nice leapers.

We’ll additionally present you that answering what number of bones are in a cat’s skeleton is definitely harder than you assume.

So, are you prepared?

In case you have any particular questions, you’ll be able to all the time use this jump-list to get to the place you want:

Now, why don’t we make a begin. Let’s study all about your cat’s bones.

Cat skeleton

Cats – Specialised Skeletons

You won’t have given your cat’s inner anatomy a variety of thought earlier than, however cats have remarkably specialised skeletons. A cat’s skeleton could be very versatile and works in tandem with their muscle mass to offer them their exceptional agility

Simply assume. Each time you see your cat arch its again at an unwelcome sight, stretch out to scratch the furnishings, leap right into a tree, or land on its ft, the superb and distinctive variations of their bone construction are making all this attainable.

A primary information of your cat and bones will assist you to perceive them on deeper degree. It can assist you to perceive extra about your feline pal and know what she wants to stay completely satisfied and wholesome.

Figuring out extra about your cat’s skeleton may even are available helpful in the future should you take your cat to a vet with a attainable break.

Anyway, why don’t we attempt to reply the query of what number of bones are in a cat skeleton. As you will notice, that is harder to reply than you’d assume.

How Many Bones Are in a Cat Skeleton?

It appears to be such a easy query:

What number of bones does a cat have?

Certainly, you possibly can look in an encyclopedia and discover the reply in black and white.

Properly, guess what: In the event you thought this was an easy query with an easy reply, then attempt once more! It’s truly fairly troublesome to offer a easy reply, so we’ll take a look at the explanations for that later.

Nevertheless, there’s a brief reply: about 245, on common. Which is a good few greater than mere people with solely 209!

There’s additionally an extended reply for which we have to perceive extra concerning the cat skeleton and cat bone construction. Whereas we do this, we’ll discover a number of the specialised elements of the feline skeleton and present the way it helps cats develop into the superb moggies we love.

So, now we all know what number of bones are in a cat skeleton, let’s discover out what our cats are doing with all these additional bones. We’ll additionally discover why some cats have greater than 245 bones and others have much less.

In fact, it may be a bit simpler if we all know what bone goes the place, so let’s check out the skeleton construction of cats with a helpful diagram.

Cat Skeleton Diagram

Let’s begin with an image of a home cat skeleton to provide us a window underneath our cats’ fur.

Right here’s a primary cat skeleton diagram displaying the principal bones.

how many bones are in a cat

There doesn’t appear to be something shocking about it, does there? In case you have seen skeletons and bones of different mammals, the cat skeleton construction doesn’t appear to be a lot totally different.

Actually, in that diagram, with out the cat’s distinctive ears, you won’t immediately acknowledge a cat skeleton should you noticed one in a museum.

Nevertheless, as we’ll see in a short time, the cat’s skeleton has a lot of little variations that you simply won’t discover at first look. These give the cat its virtually superhero-like talents to leap, fall, and pounce.

On this article, a few of the names of cat bones may look acquainted as a result of we discover them in people too. There could also be different names you haven’t come throughout earlier than, so we will study them collectively.

Most bone names initially come from Latin, however don’t fear as a result of we may also use plain English descriptions as we go alongside!

A few of you’ll have observed that our diagram appears to be missing some bones. Why is that?

There Aren’t 245 Bones in That Diagram!

That could be very true!

We informed you what number of bones there are in a cat skeleton. Then, we gave you a cat skeleton diagram that means in any other case. It’s essential to assume we’re enjoying with you!

However, consider it or not, there are some actually good explanation why the diagram doesn’t have the magic variety of 245 bones.

Small Bones

First, some bones are extremely tiny and are far too small to incorporate. Even when they have been, you would wish to zoom in rather a lot simply to see them.

For instance, identical to us, cats’ ears every include three tiny bones referred to as ossicles, which transmit sounds from the air into the internal ear.

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These are barely millimeters huge, and but they’re intricately formed. For cats, which hunt by sound as a lot as sight, these are probably the most essential elements of their skeleton. But, they appear so small and insignificant.

Right here’s one fascinating reality for you – the dimensions of those bones in animals is said to general physique measurement. As they get smaller, they will transmit larger and better frequencies, which suggests our home cats at house can hear a lot greater pitches than, say, a tiger!

Fused Bones

The opposite cause why you gained’t see all of a cat’s bone on a diagram is that some bones are fused collectively.

One instance is the pelvis: though it appears like one bone, it’s truly shaped of six bones organized in three pairs.

Simply as a diversion, that is true in people, too. Young children have extra bones than adults, however some fuse collectively as they develop.

One other nice instance of fused bones happens in a cat cranium.

Cat Skulls

We consider skulls as a single bone, or maybe two if we rely the jawbone as a part of the cranium. It positive acts like a single bone, however this isn’t actually the case as a result of it’s fused.

So, what number of bones are in a cat cranium?

how many bones are in a cat skeleton

It might shock you, however a cat’s cranium truly consists of about 29 bones.

This is likely one of the explanation why there’s no straight ahead reply to “what number of bones does a cat have?”

A lot of the bones in a cat cranium are related by fibrous joins referred to as “sutures”, in order that general they create one construction.

Nevertheless, even vets and zoologists don’t all the time agree what number of areas of the cat cranium rely as separate bones, so the full quantity is a bit of open to interpretation!

Who would have thought that counting cat bones could possibly be so difficult!

And, the opposite finish of the cat is simply as complicated! Cat’s tails, which we frequently take without any consideration, are literally totally different and cats can have totally different numbers of bones.

Cat Tail Bones

Cat tails are splendidly developed and assist your cat stability, leap, and land on its ft when he falls. Nevertheless, cats’ tails are one more reason why not each puss has the identify variety of bones.

The cat tail skeleton is principally an extension of the cat’s backbone, and the cat tail bones include extra vertebrae, referred to as “caudal vertebrae”.

how many bones are in a cat skeletonSo what number of bones are in a cat tail on common?

Nicely, a typical home cat skeleton has 18 to 23 caudal vertebrae, so this once more signifies that our variety of 245 bones is in hassle!

Cats with extra caudal vertebrae have longer tails, and cats with fewer caudal vertebrae have shorter tails. Some Manx cats even have none!

Cats use their tail bones to assist maintain their stability on slender surfaces similar to the highest of a fence. Through the use of their tails to counterbalance the load of their hips, they handle to fall much less typically!

Now, we talked about that a cat’s tail is an extension of its backbone, so we’ll look there subsequent in our journey by way of cat anatomy.

Cat Spinal Anatomy

Subsequent let’s shimmy up the cat spine a bit of means and take a look at how their backbone is specialised for added feline greatness.

Students of cat spinal anatomy divide the vertebrae into areas: these within the neck are cervical vertebrae, and those over the ribs are thoracic vertebrae. The area over the stomach accommodates the lumbar vertebrae.

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The place the backbone meets the pelvis there are a cluster of sacral vertebrae. Lastly, as we’ve seen, the tail bones are generally known as caudal vertebrae.

In fact, that leads us to our questions. What number of bones are in a cat backbone?

Virtually all mammals, together with cats and people, have seven cervical vertebrae of their neck.

However, cats have 13 thoracic vertebrae towards our 12, and 7 lumbar vertebrae to trump our 5. You won’t assume that makes a lot of a distinction, however these additional few bones give cats a really versatile backbone that’s the supply of their agility.

Why Do Cats Have Longer Backbones Than Us?

We’ve all seen cats twist and switch in mid fall, earlier than touchdown gently on their ft. Do you know that cats use their additional lengthy spines to realize this, considered one of their most spectacular and best-known expertise.

how many bones are in a cat spine

Your cat’s capability to land on their ft is ruled by one thing referred to as the ‘righting reflex.’ This can be a exact sequence of mid-air twists and turns they carry out in mid-air to ensure they’re the proper approach up earlier than they attain the bottom.

With out their additional vertebrae, their backbone wouldn’t be versatile sufficient to make these twists as shortly as they want. With out such a versatile backbone, their fame for touchdown on their ft won’t exist.

In case you are (and it’s a nice topic), you possibly can learn all about how cats proper themselves in mid-air and the position of their spine in our article Do Cats All the time Land On Their Ft?

In fact, whereas the backbone lets cats twist in mid air, and absorbs a few of the shock once they land, their legs are essential. As we’ll see, their legs are additionally highly effective, giving the power to leap and catch prey.

A lot of this power is due to the cat leg bone construction. We’ll take a look at this, subsequent.

Cat Leg Bones – Hind Limbs

So, let’s transfer on to cat leg bones.

As everyone knows, cats have highly effective hind legs, serving to them climb and leap lengthy distances to catch prey.

To work with their highly effective hind leg muscular tissues, cat leg bones are robust and versatile. They help this wide selection of motion and, in comparison with our personal legs, their format might shock you.

For a begin, the bone we consider as our thigh bone (or femur) is true up of their haunches.

And, the bones on the prime of their leg on the prime of their leg are the tibia and fibula, bones that we consider as our shin bones.

So, what’s of their shins, I hear you ask?!

Cats even have a metatarsus, which is an extended foot bone identical to those we will really feel by means of the highest of our ft! This configuration is superbly tailored for propelling our cats excessive and much when they should leap.

Leaping is one factor, however what about touchdown? Cat forepaws are completely designed to soak up the shock once they land. In fact, additionally they give cats agility and velocity when searching and preventing.

Cat Leg Bones – Fore Limbs

Despite the fact that we consider cats as having 4 legs, once we speak about cat skeleton anatomy, we give the bones of their entrance legs the identical names because the bones in our arms.

Simply as one other fascinating little reality, cats are a lot much less more likely to break the bones of their forelimbs than of their hind legs.

Roughly three quarters of lengthy bone fractures seen by vets are within the femur or tibia.

In distinction, fractures of the lengthy bones within the fore legs solely account for about 16% of lengthy bone fractures.

The power of cat forelimbs is partly because of the robust bone construction. Nevertheless, a part of it’s as a result of cats have inbuilt shock absorbers.

That’s why, maybe probably the most fascinating factor about our cats’ entrance legs is how they connect on the shoulders…

Do Cats Have Collarbones?

We people have lengthy collar bones, referred to as clavicles, which join our sternum to our shoulder blade and create power and rigidity.

In distinction, cats’ shoulder blades are solely hooked up to the remainder of the physique by muscle fairly than bone.

This necessary adaptation provides them a a lot bigger vary of motion of their shoulder joint than people, to allow them to run with lengthy strides

Cats do have collarbones too, however a lot smaller ones. One other bonus with this cat skeleton construction is that small collarbones imply cats can squeeze by way of small areas.

After taking a look at legs, what’s subsequent in our fascinating journey across the cat skeleton? Sure, in fact, it’s time to take a look at cat paws. Cats’ paws permit our felines to maneuver silently, but make fearsome weapons once they unsheathe their claws.

Cat Paw Bones

What concerning the ends of their legs, the place our cats’ skeletons meet the bottom?

Some fascinating cat paw skeleton anatomy occurs proper on the ideas of their toes, within the ultimate phalanges (toe bones).

Gray Maine Coon photos

In contrast to our finger and toe nails which develop from nail beds in our pores and skin, cats’ claws develop instantly from these phalanges.

This makes them robust for catching prey and gripping the bottom. These claws permit cats to deal with vertical surfaces as they run and climb. A cat’s retractable claws are a part of its fearsome armory, all supported by a intelligent bone construction.


Maybe we should always end with what a few of you might assume is a silly query?

Why Do Cats Have Bones?

Okay, this seems like a foolish query, however we need to give a remaining shout out to all of the superb issues our cats’ bones do in addition to maintain them up, hold them balanced, and shield their inner organs.

First, the marrow inside cat bones makes pink blood cells and a few white blood cells. That is necessary for maintaining your cat wholesome, ensuring that oxygen goes the place it wants and defending kitty towards an infection.

And second, cats use their bones to retailer fats, and even some minerals reminiscent of calcium and phosphorous.

Put merely, a cat skeleton is a finely engineered, multi-tasking marvel! Who would have recognized all of those fascinating cat skeleton information simply from taking a look at a cat skeleton image? The cat’s skeleton construction is what makes them supreme hunters, giving all of them the instruments they should survive.

So, if you take a look at your plump moggy enjoying together with her toys, cease to consider the marvellous cat bone construction that lets her do that.

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Cat Skeleton Abstract

So, we’ve came upon that the straightforward reply to the query “what number of bones does a cat have?” is “about 245”. You now understand how fused cat bones within the cat cranium and totally different numbers of tail vertebrae have an effect on the rely.

However, we hope you’ll agree that making an attempt to take a look at why the reply is so difficult gave some fascinating insights into the inside workings of our feline buddies.

General, a cat’s skeleton is constructed for agility, searching, and stability. The backbone and tail particularly are tailored for searching on excessive, slender surfaces (like tree branches) and surviving a fall. Cat’s skeletons assist them to be such superb acrobats.

With out their amazingly specialised skeletons, cats can be unable to do lots of issues we think about so primarily cat-like. With out their distinctive bone construction, cats merely wouldn’t or make such distinctive pets.

Do You Have A Story About Your Cat And Bones?

As all the time, we love listening to from you, our readers. When you have any tales, please be happy to share them with us within the feedback under. Simply for instance.

Is your moggy a Manx cat with lacking vertebrae?

Have they ever been unfortunate sufficient to fracture a bone?

We up to date this text in June 2019, however we’ll attempt to embrace a few of your fascinating feedback within the subsequent replace.

Further References

Carried out, S. H., Goody, P. C., Evans, S. A., & Stickland N. C., 2009, Shade Atlas of Veterinary Anatomy Quantity three, The Canine and Cat E-Ebook, Elsevier Well being Sciences.

Hudson, L. & Hamilton, W., 2017, Atlas of Feline Anatomy for Veterinarians, CRC Press.

DeForest, M.E. and Basrur, P.Okay. Malformations and the Manx Syndrome in Cats. Canadian Veterinary Journal. 1979.

Puria, S., and Steele, C. 2010. Tympanic-membrane and malleus–incus-complex co-adaptations for high-frequency listening to in mammals. Listening to Analysis.

Pitakarnnop, T., Buddhachat, Okay., Euppayo, T., Kriangwanich, W. & Nganvongpanit, Okay. 2017. Feline (Felis catus) cranium and pelvic morphology and morphometry: gender-related distinction? Anat. Histol. Embryol.

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