How Many Bones Does a Cat Have? You Need to Read This!

Who do you think to have more bones? You or your cat? This may sound like an odd question, but it is highly important to know the anatomy of your cat. Moreover, allow me to answer one common question - how many bones does a cat have?

After all, understanding both the structure and the function of your cat’s skeleton and bones would enable you to understand the diseases that your beloved feline friend may experience.


The Function of the Feline Skeleton

Skeleton of a cat

Skeleton of a cat - Visual Dictionary - Copyright © 2005-2016 - All rights reserved.

The main function of the feline skeleton is to provide our beloved cat the system of levels that are fundamentally used in their locomotion. In addition, the feline skeletal system supports the entire body, produce a healthy number of red blood cells through the process called hematopoiesis.

Other important functions of the feline bones include serving as an important storehouse for important minerals and elements such as phosphorus and calcium.

The Number of Bones

Unlike with other animals, the number of feline bones is not the same for all of them. Cats typically have 230-250 bones. This range gives an average of 244 bones. The number of bones is dependent on two important factors. One is the number of toes that a specific cat has and the other one is the length of the tail.

You may also see some cats that have extra toes. These felines are referred to as polydactyl. Moreover, if your cat has a long tail, then she naturally has more bones than the average cats. Examples of cats that belong to the long-tailed breed include the American Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Egyptian Mau and the Scottish Fold.

One fascinating fact about cat bones is that 10% of them are found in the tail. These tail bones are helpful in the maintenance of their balance especially when they go through narrow spaces. Furthermore, these bones in the tail also act as the rudder when a cat jumps or falls.

Placement of the Cat Bones

In the head of a cat, you could find a total of 29 bones. These bones include the thick skull bone, the mandible, and maxilla or the jaw bones, the eye orbit, nasal bones, and cheekbones. Down the head, you could find 7 bones in the neck.

Cats also have 13 backbones and about 23 bones in the tail. Cats have 13 pairs of strong rib bones. Other bones are the scapula or the shoulder bones, the clavicle, sternum, the bones in the legs, wrist bones, inner ears, penis, and throat.

General Characteristics of the Feline Skeleton

As compared to the human bones, the feline skeleton is much looser especially in the section along the vertebrae. This makes the spine of the cat more flexible. The flexible spine contributes to the cat’s extreme agility. This is demonstrated by the feline’s ability to twist the body when falling and eventually land on their feet when falling.

Feline Bone Disorders


As with humans and other animals, felines may also experience certain disorders of the bones. Examples are the congenital diseases such Osteodystrophy which is characterized by the deformities in the bones found in the tails, wrists, ankles, and bones.

Another example of congenital disorder of the bones is the Mucopolysaccharidosis VI which is defined as a genetic metabolic disorder on the connective tissues. This causes changes in the bones structure of cats.

Bacterial infections can also occur in cats and may cause the development of a condition called Osteomyelitis. This leads to the inflammation of a bone. Cats with bone implants such as pins and bone plates are prone to this condition.

Cats may also be at risk to nutritional disorders related to bones. For instance, rickets could occur when your feline friend becomes calcium deficient. Young kittens that are fed in the extremely small amount of meat diet are prone to this. Note that the bones weaken with this condition.

Another nutritional problem which may impact the feline bones is the excessive amount of Vitamin A in the cat’s diet. This could lead to deformities. The same result can be seen when cats have a low level of Vitamin D conversion.

A Quick Summary

To recap, keep in mind that the total number of cat bones depends on the breed, the length of tail, gender, and possible abnormalities a cat may have. Regardless of the number of bones, it should be remembered that cat bones need proper care and nutrition. In connection to this, make sure that you do the following:

  • Have your cat checked for possible Vitamin D deficiencies or any nutritional problems
  • Pay close attention to any deformities you see in your cat
  • Be educated on the nutritional needs of your cats

There you go, fellow cat enthusiasts. I hope that I was able to answer the question clearly. Leave your comments and questions below. I would be more than happy to exchange ideas with you. Thanks again and wait for the next cat-related question that I will be answering soon.

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Debby Jackson

Hi there, I am Debby. I am your modern-day cat lady who is just utterly crazy about cats. I am always thirsty for new knowledge on how to keep my feline friends happy and healthy all the time.

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