Understanding your cat’s anatomy can help you give your pet better chance of a healthy and happy life. Here’s some interesting quick crash course of cat’s anatomy.


Below are common terms used by your veterinary team and it will help you quickly identify key discussion points that has something to do with your pet’s health.

Abdomen   Tummy
Dew claw   First digit
Patella        Knee cap
Stifle           Knee
Thorax       Chest
Digit           Finger or toe
Flank          Side of the body between chest and tail base
Muzzle       Nose and upper and lower lip
Pinna         Ear flap
Tarsus       Hock


Just as in humans, a cat’s brain can start to shrink with age. To help reduce old age signs such as disorientation, decreased interaction, inappropriate toileting, try adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet. Studies show that Vitamin C & E or the use of veterinary prescription diets can decrease the risk of cognitive decline.

Interesting faqs about cat’s senses:

Hearing  – Cats can hear frequencies from 30 to 60,000 Hertz (Hz), which means they can hear very high-pitched noises. People can hear a range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, and dogs 20 to 100,000 Hz. Cats can also hear sounds from distances four to five times farther than people can.

Sight  – Cats, with their elliptical pupils, are able to detect movement much better than humans can, making them ideal for hunting. Their field of vision is about 200 degrees. They have a shiny membrane, the tapetum lucidum, at the back of their eyes. This allows them to see in low light. In a dark room, this shiny membrane will reflect light from a flashlight. They also have a third eyelid that protects their eyes from injury when out in the dark or hunting.

Voice – Loud constant meows often indicate stress or boredom. If your cat meows in this manner early in the morning or after being away from you for hours, it usually means boredom. Try not to react to this bad behavior. Instead, when your cat is behaving in a quiet manner, reward it with positive attention and add more playtimes to the day.

Smell – Cats have a very good sense of smell. They have 70 million olfactory cells within their nose that allow them to identify odors in the air from great distances. Cats have scent glands on their forehead in front of the ear canals, along their lips and chin, and under their tail. They use these scent glands to mark objects and people. This is their means of claiming ownership. When your cat rubs its face on you, it is showing you affection as well as marking its scent.

Taste – A cat has 30 very sharp, permanent teeth. A cat’s tongue has a rough surface with small barbs to help it tear its food and groom its fur. When a cat licks you, its tongue can feel like sandpaper. Cats have only about 400 taste buds compared to dogs at 1,700 and people at 9,000. Because of this, cats rely on their sense of smell to determine the taste of food.


A cat has 30 adult teeth made up of the front incisors, sharp canine teeth, premolars and molars.


The cat skull is unusual among mammals in having very large eye sockets and a powerful and specialized jaw. Compared to other felines, domestic cats have narrowly spaced canine teeth, adapted to their preferred prey of small rodents. Cats are prone to arthritis too. A simple change in behavior such as no longer jumping onto the bench or climbing stairs can indicate a musculoskeletal problem.

Case, Linda P. (2003). The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. ISBN 0-8138-0331-4.
Smith, Patricia; Tchernov, Eitan (1992). Structure, Function and Evolution of teeth. Freund Publishing House Ltd. p. 217. ISBN 965-222-270-4.