Cat Anatomy

Feline cutaneous marginal pouch (Henry's Pocket) enhances high frequency sound detection
Feline cutaneous marginal pouch (Henry’s Pocket)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

A page on cat anatomy needs to be a growing page bearing in mind the size of the subject matter. This page is just that.

Simply click on the images below to go to details of the subject matter.


To linked pages

This page on cat anatomy is mainly about the domestic cat. But as the domestic cat is essentially the same as the wild cat, the descriptions cover both.

In fact a discussion about the anatomy of the domestic cat in terms of structure, movement and its wonderful senses has to be seen in the light of the wild cat. And the wild cat’s anatomy is built around its lifestyle evolving as they did into solitary, mainly ground dwelling, mammalian predators of great efficiency. Some wildcats are tree dwellers. These are specialist climbers with long tails and slender bodies.

In gradually building the page, I hope that visitors will, from time to time, share in the process by making the odd contribution using the form linked to below.

Click here to see visitors’ submissions

Cat Opening Door
Cat Opening Door

Cat breeding has produced over 100 cat breeds (about 40 of which are mainstream) but they are all one species of cat, the domesticated wild cat. The wildcat is very similar in appearance to a modern random bred cat.

The cat is a well designed predator. It has great senses, flexibility, balance and the tools to catch and retain prey. It is also well equipped to escape large predators. The dynamic and explosive jump to heights many times its own height is indicative of its refined athletic skills. In short the cat is built to survive and that includes their ability to procreate efficiently.

I created a light a breezy overview page some time ago, which may be of interest:Cat Anatomy (this page actually links back to some of the articles here). A cat’s sense of taste is surprisingly inferior to ours.


Please click on the pictures to go to the linked pages

cat skull

Cat Skeleton…is a wonderfully light and flexible structure that gives the cat its speed and agility.

cat teeth

Cat teeth…. Are we frightened of them? They are marvelously efficient [photo: by polandeze]. See cat gait.

cat paw

Cat Paws and Claws….A cat walks on its toes and has protractable claws [photo: by wwarby]. Cats leave paw prints

cat eyes

Cat Eyes….are special and designed for hunting and the domestic cat likes to hunt during the twilight hours. This page covers a lot ground [photo by Felinest].

cat whiskers

Cat Whiskers….do a lot more than we think. They can feel their way to the right place to snap the spine of the cat’s prey [photo: by Greencolander].

cat climbing

Cat Climbing…. This is one of the cat’s well known skills and it calls into play a lot of its anatomical attributes [photo by Shamanic Shift].

cat ear

Cat ears….Well, they are special again like so much of a cat’s anatomy [photo by sashapo].

tiger roar

Tiger roar….This is a special sound that travels miles and scares other animals including us [photo by Burning Image]


Cat Purr  –It means more than just contentment and a cat can drink and purr simultaneously [photo by Bizzy Girl]

cats tongue papillae

Cat’s Tongue….A fascinating piece of anatomy, that is very versatile and an essential piece of kit for grooming [photo by by Malingering]

cat hair coat

Cat Hair….built for survival. This page is (at 7th Feb 2010) a skeleton page and to be developed.

cat temperature being taken

Cat Temperature….What it should be and how to check it [photo by Nirazilla]

cats nose

The Cat’s Nose….Note: I leave apostrophe out deliberately. Don’t ask why. This is another one of the cat’s super senses [photo by polandeze – original photo]

cats tail

Cat’s tail – you don’t see much on the cat’s tail on the internet. This page helps to rectify that [photo by lowjumpingfrog (Flickr)].

genetics chromosomes

Cat Genetics – there is no such thing really as cat genetics but there are a bundle of genetic terms used in the cat fancy which are listed on this page [photo by A Journey Round My Skull].

cat sounds 1

Cat Sounds – this page covers a whole range of sounds, from domestic to wild cats and even a wessel like cat that is not a cat! – the harrowing sounding fisher cat [photo by Sappymoosetree (Flickr)

polydactyl cats paw

Polydactyl cats are fairly frequently encountered. The champion had 28 toes, 7 on each paw.

fattest cat in the world

Fattest Cats in the World are discussed on this page. I consider this topic both about health and anatomy but mainly the former, which is why the link is on the Cat Health Problems page too.

hind leg muscles of a cat

Cat Muscles – they are fast-twitch mainly and it shows in the cat’s impressive athletic abilities. The muscles are an important component of cat anatomy. Image from Biology Corner.

The above are just the beginning on the subject of cat anatomy. This page and the linked pages to come are work in progress.

Michael Avatar

[Photos are by Flickr photographers. Links go to their home pages. Cat hair image by Helmi Flick (cropped)]

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

Catdog – cat mating with dog  starstarstarstarstar
So, I’m being dead serious about this issue….It would seem that my little kitty, Jeneveave (Red Point Traditional Siamese ) is in a very serious relationship …

Interesting Cat Facts (Senses)  starstarstarstarstar
A concise page of interesting cat facts to do with its senses. Although we are often not that aware of it, the domestic cat has amazing senses, sometimes …

A Cat’s Sense of Touch  starstarstarstarstar
A definition of touch might be: To cause or permit a part of the body, especially the hand or fingers, to come in contact with (something) so as to feel….

Single cat coats are better than double coats  starstarstarstarstar
There are single and double coated cats. There are also treble coated cats. These cats must have genes from cats that lived in very cold places and anything …

Cat Digestive System  starstarstar
This is an overview of the cat digestive system. A clear understanding of the basics leads to a better understanding of the details in my personal experience….

Cat Shedding  Not rated yet
Cat shedding is apparently governed mostly by changes in the ambient (surrounding area) light. Some people think it is dictated by the seasons. There is …

Link to Flickr photo of cat jumping

4 thoughts on “Cat Anatomy”

  1. Hi Michael, is there a link you could provide for me to view the list of human drugs that can be used successfully for cats when they are sick? I’d be very grateful.
    I remember viewing this amazing list on here a good few years back.
    My cat has been in and out of the
    Vets for something undiagnosed so I am looking for a different approach as I am concerned she has had 3 separate occasions of a steroid injection and also antibiotic injection.
    She is licking both hind inner thighs constantly. Something has irritated her skin and I suspect it is nettles that seem to cover my vast garden.
    I like her to go out for a few hours 2 to 3 times daily as she enjoys this freedom.
    I am exasperated that each time I take her for this problem I get a different vet and they don’t have continuity so I have paid around £200 each time and the problem isn’t going. So I wondered if I could give her piriton safely to stop her from itching and then licking herself raw. Plus I wondered if we could use germolene sparingly on cats?
    If I could see the medications list again I may be able to sort her out without continuing with my vet’s disastrous attempts.
    Thank you for all you do on the website

    • Hi Suzi,

      Thanks for commenting. I am sorry to hear of your problem.

      I could not find that page you mentioned because there are around 20,000 pages on this website. However, if you click on this link, you can see some pages about human drugs being used on cats which may help you.

      However, I would like you to try a fresh approach. You want a fresh approach because your veterinarians are, it seems, struggling to diagnose the underlying cause of your cat licking both hind inner thighs constantly.

      They appear to have assumed that this is because the skin is itchy. They have prescribed antibiotics just in case there is a bacterial infection and they have also prescribed steroids in parallel as a last resort to try and resolve this itchiness.

      It might not be caused by itchiness. Dr. Bruce Fogle DVM, the famous veterinarian and author, says that 90% of the cats that he treats for hair loss are engaging in over-grooming because they are stressed.

      Now, that’s not a criticism of you whatsoever. I applaud you trying to fix this problem. But what you might look at, and I’m not saying that this is correct because I’m not a veterinarian, is some sort of reason why your female cat might be stressed. It might be any number of things.

      Be expansive in your thoughts. Be diagnostic and look at even the tiniest possibilities because different things stress different cats.

      I do have a page on an Infographic covering anxiety-reducing products for domestic cats (click this to see it). Stress is anxiety in the cat world. It may help.

      Please report back and tell me what happened. I don’t think that it is useful to prescribed both antibiotics and steroids in parallel. Steroids, themselves, can cause nasty side-effects and indeed may make matters worse.

      The veterinarians are scratching their heads but they may be looking at the wrong cause. I don’t know. All I can do is speculate and suggest.


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