I learnt that cats are digitigrades, which means that we walk on our toes, whereas Mummy walks using her toes and the sole of her foot, which makes her a plantigrade. Today's anatomy post is about the structure of paws and hands and feet. Enjoy!
Digitigrade vs. Plantigrade
The cat is a digitigrade, which means that the cat stands and walks on its toes, with the bones that make up the paw raised off the ground. The human is a plantigrade, which means that the human stands and walks with its toes and bones of the feet flat on the ground.
The arms/legs of a human includes the bones of the upper arm/leg (humerus/femur) and lower arm/leg (radius and ulna/tibia and fibula). The forelegs and hind legs of a cat also includes the metacarpals/metatarsals, the bones that in a human compose the palm of the hand and the arch of the foot. The bone structures are the same but differences vary in the length of the bones and the way they are used.
More than half of the number of bones in a human are located in the hands and feet, with 27 in each hand and 26 in each foot. The structure of the bones of the foot provide the human body with a firm base that supports the body when standing and walking. The structure of the bones of the hand provide the human with the ability to manipulate objects.
The cat has five digits on each front paw and four digits on each back paw. The cat’s paws are used as a climbing aid and a shock-absorber, as well as a lethal weapon. Each front paw contains seven pads: five digital pads, one large plantar pad that supports the cat’s leg and protects it from weight-bearing leg bones, and a small wrist-pad called a pisiform. Each back paw contains four digital pads and one plantar pad. The hind feet are stronger than the front legs due to the greater strains and stresses they endure.
Mummy and Me have found lots of interesting information about paws, which is too much to put into one post, so our next Feline Furses Human Anatomy and Physiology post will being talking more about our incredible paws!
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Purrs and Headbutts
Nishiko and Mummy (aka Kitty) xxx