Drawing of cat's muscles.

Cat’s Muscle and Movement

There are about 500 muscles attached to a cat’s flexible skeleton. They allow the cat to use various gaits (patterns of locomotion) and to make an amazing range of graceful movements, suitable for an athletic hunter of small rodents and birds. The cat’s muscles are adapted not only for the short bursts of speed necessary …

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Wild cat stalking its prey.

Cat Senses

Like humans, cats rely on the five senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to tell them about the surrounding world. These senses gather information and send it, via nerves, to the brain for interpretation. Cat senses evolved over millions of years to suit their pre-domesticated way of life: that of a nocturnal hunter …

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Grey cat playing a pink heart toy.

Cat’s Heart and Lungs

The heart and lungs make sure that oxygen is delivered—via airways and blood—to every cell in the body. Oxygen, which makes up about 21 percent of the air, reacts with nutrient molecules, such as the sugar glucose, in body cells to release energy. This energy is then used to power biochemical activities in cells. As …

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Furry cat sitting in the snow watching the sky.

Cat’s Skin and Coat

The skin is an organ, like the heart or liver. In fact, it is the largest organ of a cat’s body, enveloping and protecting the animal from environmental threats and diseases. The soft fur coat, which grows from the skin, is composed of different types of hair and also plays a protective role. The ancestors …

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Group of five kittens sitting together.

Choosing the Right Cat

The needs of cats vary depending on the breed. For example, slender breeds, such as the Siamese, are usually very active and love being part of a family; stockier breeds, such as the British Shorthair, tend to be more laid-back and prefer a quieter life. One way to find a pedigree is to contact a …

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