The Anatomy of Cat Muscles

Cat muscles are one of the essential parts of feline anatomy. Muscles—skeletal, cardiac and smooth—are tissues that contract to allow for movement and force. Muscles can make a cat travel from one place to another or make organs function properly.

Skeletal Muscles, Cardiac Muscles and Smooth Muscles

Skeletal muscles are the voluntary muscles that allow a cat to move. Tendons hold these muscles to a cat’s bone. Skeletal muscles are striated and are found joined together in a parallel fashion.

Cardiac muscles are involuntary and are only found in a cat’s heart. These muscles are also striated, but are not grouped in a parallel form. These muscles connect in a fashion that looks like they are branching out from one another.

Smooth muscles are also involuntary and are found within the organs and structures of a cat’s body. Smooth muscles can be found in many parts of a cat’s body, including the blood vessels, the bladder and stomach.

Gross Anatomy and Microanatomy of Cat Muscles

The locations of gross muscles in a cat’s body are determined by where the muscles are placed and how they move. These muscles can be thought of as simple machines as “lever mechanics” play a big role in how the muscles work, their speed and their force.

Pennate muscles are the gross muscle fibers that are placed at an angle. They make up a smaller change in length, but allow for more force.

The microanatomy of a muscle refers to its cells. The cells have myofibrils, which have sacromeres, which contain myosin and actin. Endomysium is found around each muscle fiber, which is bound by perimysium into small groups called fascicles. The muscles that are grouped together are surrounded by epimysium. Each muscle contains “spindles” that provide information to a cat’s central nervous system.

Some muscles are part of a group called discrete muscles. These muscles are connected by tendons according to how a cat’s skeleton needs to work and function.

The Role of Muscles in a Cat’s Body

Muscles use up a lot of a cat’s energy and use adenosine triphosphate molecules to give them power. Muscles contain glycogen, which is converted into glucose when the muscles contract. The fats contained in a cat’s muscles are used for energy when it is in the aerobic form.

A senior cat or a cat, sick with muscle disease, will begin to have weakness as his activity lessens. It is not uncommon for an old cat to develop abnormal spasticity or paralysis especially if he develops a neurological disorder.

A geriatric cat or one that is sick may develop atrophy due to inactivity or insufficient food consumption. Diseases of the heart, liver and cancer can also cause muscle deterioration. As a cat ages, he loses the ability to maintain muscles and their mass. It is not exactly known why this happens, but it is thought that the body loses its ability to regenerate muscle fibers as a cat ages.

A cat has several muscles in all the areas of his body. Each muscle has a specific function, which is dependent upon the surrounding muscles and their functions. A cat’s muscles can be kept healthy with the proper nutrients, water and exercise.