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Do Cats Have Knees – Limbs, Legs & Other Fun Facts!

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Most people understand anatomy through what they know of their bodies, but the body of your cat is going to be a little different than yours. After all, your cat is an animal, so it only makes sense that your cat will have different body parts than you do. One of the ringing questions you may have is this: do cats have knees? 

Yes, cats have knees. Technically speaking, cats have two elbows and two knees, but they are not exactly the same as human knees. The knees are referred to as stifles and they have a large range of motion.

Cats have four legs and knees, but they’re a little different than the knees you have. Your cat uses its legs in different ways than humans. If you’re looking to learn more about your cat’s legs, knees, and other body parts, then keep reading to the end! 

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Do Cats Have 2 Arms and 2 Legs Or 4 Legs 

Cats walk on four legs, so it is more correct to say that cats have four legs, not two arms and two legs.

Cats are known as quadrupeds, which means that they walk around on all four limbs that are legs, not arms.

When a cat is standing on his back legs for any reason, you might think that your cat’s front legs function kind of like arms, but that is not correct to say. 

Your cat is using all four of his limbs to be walking, so, therefore, you should call them legs, not arms. 

If your cat used any of his legs to pick things up like humans, you would be able to call them arms, but since cats have no “hands” in the typical sense, you’re looking at four legs.

Do Cats Have Knees Or Elbows

Cats have both knees and elbows. 

So, we’ve already covered that cats have four legs and no arms. Well, do cats have knees or elbows? In this case, cats have both! 

The joint in the front legs of cats have joints that are more similar to elbows, so we’re not going to worry about those too much in this article. Just know that cats do indeed have different joints in their legs, but that’s a conversation for another article. 

We’re going to be focusing on the joint in your cat’s back legs instead. Those joints are your cat’s knees. 

What Are Cat Knees Called 

Most people call the joint on cat’s knees, but you might also hear people refer to cat knees as a stifle. 

No matter what you want to call them, cats do have knees on the back of their legs, but they’re a little higher on their legs than you might think.

Although cats have four legs, they do not have four knees, which can be challenging to understand. 

Technically, the joints on the front of cat legs function more like elbows, and the joints on your cat’s back legs are more similar to knees. 

Your cat’s knees are called “condylar” joints, which is another word that you might not have heard before. 

Condylar is a fancy name for a joint that has a large range of motion. Although we’re talking about cat knees, condylar joints are more similar to a human wrist.

I know, I know. We’re comparing a lot of body parts here, but these comparisons are the best way to understand cat anatomy! 

The range of motion a cat’s knees provide is important. It allows them to make quick changes in direction and lead to greater heights. The agility your cat has and their ability to arrange their body to get to certain locations is greatly impacted by their knees. Without them, your cat’s range of motion would be incredibly stiff, and there would be significant limits on their ability to move around and do basic daily functions.

Do Cats Have Backwards Knees 

While a cat does not have backward knees, they do have the ability to invert them. Thats quite the curveball there while we’re talking about cat knees: Cat knees can bend backward quite easily, and that flexibility is essential considering some of the things they do. Jumping at various angles, spinning in and out of trouble quickly; all that truly does require flexibility in the knee.

Look at your knees and bend your knees. Your knees bend forward, don’t they?

With that visual in mind, look at your cat when they bend their “knees,” the joint on the back of their legs. 

Their knees do not bend forward like yours, do they? No, they technically bend backward. 

Cat legs are meant to bend that way, even though it might seem strange when you’re thinking of your own anatomy. 

Since your cat’s legs bend that way, it makes your cat’s back legs stronger when they are jumping or doing other things. 

Do Cats Have Ankles 

Cats do have ankles.

Ankles are not as complicated on cats as other parts and joints on their legs.

Cats have four ankles that are just above all four of their paws. It is a joint that rotates and moves like the ankles on human feet. 

A cat’s paws’ ankles are more similar to human ankles on a cat’s front feet.

Unless a cat is standing straight up, you’ll see that their ankles on their kind legs are more extended than their front ankles. 

Despite looking a little different, ankles do the same thing on cats as human ankles.

Do Cats Have Hips

Cats have hips too.

When you’re thinking about hips on a cat, you are likely to picture your cat’s hind legs. 

Your cat’s hips are on your cat’s back legs. The hip on a cat is the fattest, meatiest part of our cat’s leg right below their stomach. 

Your cat’s hip joint is a ball and socket joint, similar to that of a human shoulder, that gives your cat a wide range of motion. 

Basically, your cat’s hip’s ball and socket joint connect your cat’s femur to the pelvis. 

Your cat’s hips are a powerful joint, but hip dysplasia is a common diagnosis that can affect even cats. A cat with hip dysplasia will walk with an odd gait or will look stiff.