There are three muscle types and three types of muscle cell within muscle tissue3.
- Cardiac muscle – found in the heart.
- Smooth muscle – this controls the internal organs and as the name indicates is smooth in appearance. It is outside of the cat’s direct control.
- Striped muscle - this is the muscle that controls limbs etc. and facial expressions. It is controlled at will.
Types of muscle cell:
- Fast-twitch fatiguing cells – these work and tire quickly.
- Fast-twitch fatigue resistant cells – these work quickly and tire more slowly than the former.
- Slow-twitch – work and tire slowly.
|Some descriptions of what the cat muscles due starting top left going clockwise, in the drawing above:
Code to above numbered cat muscles, tendons and some veins including some of those as indicated:
Cat’s muscles are as expected mainly made up of fast-twitch fatiguing cells – hence the cat’s speed (30 mph max for domestic cat and 64 mph for cheetah) and ability to jump up to six times its length. When sprinting a cat generates a lot of heat and pants within a short time. The slow-twitch muscles are used for slow stalking, almost slow motion walking when approaching prey.
Cats have flexible muscles and they are mainly attached to either side of the joints of bones to articulate them, which is achieved by the muscle contracting. Muscles often act against each other, e.g. one extending a limb and the other contracting it3. Muscles can only contract.
Margay cats – spectacular tree climbers
Cat muscles – References:
The large image is free to use under an Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic creative commons license. Please credit Michael Broad of Pictures of cats org.
1. http://www.biologycorner.com/anatomy/muscles/cat_muscles_lab_guide.html – permission if granted if these images are used as teaching aids.
3. The Encyclopedia Of The Cat by Dr. Bruce Fogle
4. Link to original Flickr photo of cat jumping.