What Are The Differences Between Cats And Human Anatomy?


As cat lovers, we often marvel at the grace and agility of our feline friends. I know watching Finnegan always amazes me. He seemingly, effortlessly, jumps so high out of the blue. Other times my cat can smush his body to fit into the narrowest spaces. Sometimes his body positions give Yoga instructors a run for their money, even when he sleeps! It got me thinking, am I just lazy and unflexible, or are cats exceedingly flexible? This post is all about the differences between cats and human anatomy.


Cats and humans are both highly skilled in their own ways, but when it comes to agility and posture, there are some notable differences. Cats are known for their incredible agility, which is largely due to their anatomy. 

In this article we unpack the differences between cats and human anatomy, specifically reviewing:

  • Skeletal differences between people and cats
  • Digestive system differences
  • Respiratory system differences
  • Fun cat anatomy gift ideas for feline lovers

And without further ado, let’s pounce in and see how your anatomy is totally difference than your cat’s anatomy.

What Are The Differences Between Cats And Human Anatomy?

While humans and cats do share many similarities in their anatomy, there are also some key differences that allow our feline friends to be such agile and graceful creatures. As cat lovers, it’s fascinating to learn about the unique features of their anatomy that make them such incredible companions.

Skeletal Anatomy

One of the reasons cats are so nimble is due to their unique skeletal anatomy. While there are many similarities between a human’s skeletal structure and a feline’s, there are also some important differences to note.

First and foremost, cats have more bones than humans. While the average human has 206 bones, a cat can have up to 245! This is due to the fact that cats have more vertebrae in their spinal column, allowing for greater flexibility and range of motion.

Another key difference is in the structure of their limbs. Cats have a highly flexible shoulder joint which allows them to easily climb and jump, while humans have a more stable joint for everyday tasks like walking and carrying objects. Additionally, a cat’s hind legs are longer than their front legs, giving them the ability to leap and pounce with incredible speed and accuracy.

Triple T STudios

One area where humans and cats do share similarities is in the structure of their skulls. Both species have a similar number of bones in their skull, and both have a hinge-like jaw joint that allows for chewing and biting. However, cats have a much more pronounced zygomatic arch (cheekbone) which gives them their characteristic wide-eyed, alert appearance.

This video walks through the anatomy of a cat skull nicely!

To sum up, cats are known for their flexibility and agility, thanks to their highly mobile spine and flexible shoulder blades. Humans, on the other hand, have a more rigid spine and less mobile shoulder blades, which allows for upright posture and walking on two legs.

Digestive System

Another difference is in the digestive system. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet primarily made up of animal protein. Their digestive tracts are shorter and more acidic than humans, allowing them to digest and absorb nutrients from meat more efficiently. Humans, on the other hand, have longer digestive tracts and can digest a wider variety of foods, including plant-based foods.

The short digestive tracts and acidity in a feline are a few of the primary reasons, cats should not be vegetarians!

RELEVANT: Is It Possible For A Cat To Be Vegetarian?

Respiratory: What Are The Differences Between Cats And Human Anatomy?

The respiratory systems of cats and humans also differ.

How does it differ from ours? And what can we do to maintain its health?

Respiratory Rate: Cats vs People

Cats have a higher respiratory rate and a larger lung capacity relative to their body size, allowing them to take in more oxygen with each breath. Humans have a more complex respiratory system, with the ability to control their breathing and speak.

Nasal Structure

Cats also have a unique nasal structure that allows them to detect even the faintest scents. They also have a larger lung capacity relative to their body size, which enables them to take in more oxygen with each breath. In contrast, humans have a more complex respiratory system, with a diaphragm that aids in breathing and a larger range of vocalization capabilities.

Respiratory Similarities: Cats vs People

Despite these differences, there are also similarities between our respiratory systems. Both humans and cats require regular exercise to maintain healthy lungs and airways. Similarly, exposure to secondhand smoke, pollutants, and allergens can cause respiratory issues in both species.

Cat Care Respiratory Tips

When it comes to cat care, there are several ways to promote a healthy respiratory system. Regular grooming can help remove dust and dander, which can irritate the airways. Providing fresh, clean air through open windows or air purifiers can also improve air quality. Additionally, avoiding smoking around your cat and keeping them away from harmful chemicals can prevent respiratory issues.

Overall, while cats and humans share many similarities in their mammalian anatomy, their differences are what make them unique and adapted to their respective environments and lifestyles.

Fun Cat Anatomy Gift Ideas

If you’re looking for gift ideas for the cat lover in your life, consider something a little different than the typical cat-themed gifts. Fun cat anatomy gifts can be a unique and educational option that’s sure to delight any feline enthusiast.

Coloring books featuring detailed illustrations of cat anatomy can be a fun way to relax and learn more about your furry friends. Books about cat anatomy can provide even more in-depth knowledge and make for great coffee table conversation starters.

Fun t-shirts with playful graphics of cat anatomy can be a great way to show off your love for felines. And finally, posters featuring anatomical diagrams of cats can be a great addition to any cat lover’s home decor.

More content on cat anatomy can be found on these blog posts:

The Anatomy of a Cat Tongue

The Anatomy of a Cat Claw

Everything You Want to Know About Cat Paws

Can Cats See in the Dark?

Anatomy of a Cat Tail

Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC. She has a tuxedo adult cat and has had him since he was a baby kitten. Before her cat Finnegan, Lisa had had two FIV-positive cats for over a decade. They inspired Lisa to invent a cat enclosure and a portable catio so they could safely sit outside and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. Lisa had a Poodle and a parakeet growing up. She currently loves to pet-sit for her neighbors’ dogs and cats.

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