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Do Cats Have Knees?

Have you ever wondered if your cat got knees because it is very difficult to differentiate them with the elbows? Yes, cats have knees, but the most challenging thing is differentiating them with the elbows. Most people always conclude that since cats are quadruped and have four legs, that they also got four knees. However, there is no truth in it because a cat has legs and arms, making it have two knees and two elbows. A cat’s knee is also referred to as a stifle joint since it consists of three bones. The bones are the patella, tibia, and femur, all protected by the kneecap or patella. Patella is a small bone found in front of the knee and whose function is to connect muscles at the front of the thigh to the tibia and protect the knee.

Do Cats Have Knees

How to identify the knees

Even though most people find it difficult to differentiate between the knees and elbows of your cat, it is not always hard if you are keen. The main characteristic of your cat’s knee is that they have kneecaps or patellae while the elbows lack. The other way of determining the location of the knees is using the position of the legs. In most cases, the knees are usually found in the hind legs, while the elbows are found in the front legs.

However, even if the above differentiating factors of a knee and elbow are clearly stated, a group of people claims that a cat only has knees without elbows. The argument above is simply based on the fact that when you see your cat walking, the front and hind limbs all face the same direction. But the fact remains that despite the direction, both the front and hind limb face as your cat is walking, the rear limbs have the knee and ankle while the forelegs have the elbow and wrist.

Other anatomical facts about cats

Why do cats appear to bend?

Cats are amazing creatures in that they have a flexible spine that enables them to bend and rotate more than other animals. Additionally, the cat’s shoulder blades are usually not attached to its clavicle, thus making it more flexible. The clavicle or collarbone of the cat is very tinny, which is found in the chest muscles, thus making its chest smaller and narrower compared to that of other animals. This increases the length of the cat’s strides hence enabling it to squeeze and penetrate through narrower spaces.

The cat’s spine is made up of thirty vertebrae without including the ones in its tail because they may vary with the length of the tail. Therefore due to the flexibility of their spine, the cat can twist and stretch their bodies into any shape. However, it is important to note that the number of vertebrae does not necessarily make the cat flexible. Still, it is the elasticity of the discs between them that is responsible for the flexibility. It is also due to the flexibility of their spine that makes cats move faster.

Why cats got whiskers on their front legs?

Cats have whiskers on their forelimbs behind the wrist, which are referred to as carpal whiskers. The main purpose of these whiskers is to help the cat when climbing and getting into contact with its prey. Simply, the whiskers detect any movement in the cats surrounding and relay the message to keep the cat alert and aware of its environment.

Some disorder that can affect the knee joint of your cat

After learning that cats have knees, it is also vital to understand some of the conditions that might affect their knees. Knee joint injuries are less common in cats but can occur due to trauma like a fall from a height of vehicular trauma. Most common knee joint injuries include arthritis, patellar luxation, joint dislocation, cruciate ligament rupture, and fracture of the patella.


In summary, it is important to understand that cats do have knees which are usually found in their hind legs, and on their forelegs, they got elbows. Generally, cats consist of two different types of joints: condylar joints and hinge joints. The hinge joints in cats are compared to the ankles and elbows in humans, while the knee joint is an example of the condylar joint. Therefore it is important to note that a cat has two elbows and two knees.

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Categories: Cat Curiosities Cats

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