Cat skull – Learn more with Healthier Pets Today! So, how many bones are in a cat’s skull? If we count the jawbone as part of the skull, we think of cat skulls as a single bone or two.
It sure acts like a single bone, but this isn’t really the case because it is fused.
Its specialized features include an elongated snout and the ability to rotate ears for precise prey location.
From the rounded cranium to the elongated snout and sharp teeth, every aspect of the feline skull is perfectly adapted to the needs of this agile and efficient predator.
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The Features of a Cat Skull
The most commonly known characteristic of the skull is that it is round. Another feature is that the bone and cartilage are much thinner than most animals.
This leads to a depressed surface area when compared to other animals.
Craniofacial features are the most commonly known features, however, other features that come from the head shape vary from cat to cat.
Craniofacial features include:
- Skull structure versus round (domed versus flat)
- Skull width-wide versus narrow
- Jaw structure-round vs. straight vs. partially closed jaw
1. Size of a Cat’s Skull
Another interesting fact about the cat’s skull is its size. There are differences in size among breeds; however, differences caused by weight are less than those caused by gender.
A more important factor for cat skulls is their height, determining how broad the head will be. These heights are based on the length of the mandible.
It is related to their habitat in that a more enormous cat will have a proportionately more giant skull.
This is also true for some larger cats, like lions and tigers, as they have to compete for prey; however, it isn’t true for all large cats.
These include lynx and bobcats because they have smaller territories and survive on more minor game.
2. Types of Bones in a Cat’s Head
The bones in the cat’s head are the skull, lower jaw, and upper jaw. The skull comprises the:
- Mandible or lower jaw
- Zygomatic arch
- Zygomatic bone
- Pharyngeal bone attached to the skull in front of the ear
The other bones are either the frontal bones (premaxillae, maxillae) or the parietal bones.
The cat’s skull’s sutures make it unique from other animals; however, significant differences in structure are seen between species.
In humans and dogs, their sutures look like a “Z” shape; this shape is called a sagittal suture, which divides their skulls into left and right sides.
3. Number of Bones in a Cat Skull
The skull of a cat is a fascinating and intricate structure consisting of approximately 29 individual bones.
Each of these bones serves a specific function and has a unique shape, allowing the skull to protect the cat’s brain and support its sensory organs.
A cat has over 250 bones in its body; however, the most common type of bone is the long, thin bone.
These bones are found in most animals with spinal columns, including mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Cats have unusually large eye sockets and a powerful and specialized jaw compared to other mammals.
Domestic cats have narrowly spaced canine teeth compared to other felines, which are adapted to their preferred prey of small rodents.
4. Cats have Strong Skulls
Some people believe that cats’ skulls are more robust than other animals.
These people think this is because cats have thirty-two teeth that can chew through prey, unlike most animals. After all, they are so sharp.
In cats, the teeth grinding results from the jaw muscles pulling on the bones in their jaws while chewing.
This action causes the jawbones to bend and slide into one another, crushing and cutting off pieces of food.
Most cats use their nose against prey as soon as they have caught it; this means that smaller cat species have to use more powerful senses.
Such as touch or smell, to find prey and then attack unsuspecting animals as soon as they detect a movement.
5. The Four Zones of Ossification
The ossicles or tiny bones in a cat’s head help hearing and light up when struck. Tendons attach these small bones to the membrane inside the ear.
The ossicles then vibrate and make a clicking noise when struck or shaken.
The four zones of ossification refer to four different periods where bones in an embryo begin to develop.
They break down into three major sections:
- Epiphysis-epiphyseal plate (cartilage is converted into bone)
- Appositional Growth bone tissue is deposited on existing bone tissue (periosteum). This new tissue eventually becomes cortical or compact bone after it is formed.
- Periostitis bone is deposited around the existing bony tissue.
Both the epiphysis and periostitis cases can cause an overgrowth of the long bones.
6. Cats Can Survive Head Trauma
There’s no denying that cats have originated from various animals, with their earliest ancestor being a small “striped-faced” cat-like creature that became the ancestor of all modern cats.
As a result, the cat skull is much more flexible than other animals.
The flexibility of the cat skull allows it to withstand the extreme forces generated by a strike or blow to its head. A cat can survive head trauma, though it will be affected after the injury.
The brain is a complex organ; in most cases, the body can heal itself in time. A CAT or MRI scan will be needed to determine if an injury has occurred.
If a projectile strikes, there is potentially some bone damage, but the body can recover with time.
7. Common Diseases of the Cat’s Skull
The most common disease of the cat skull is called osteomyelitis.
This condition causes softening and death of the bone in an infected area; it is caused by bacteria that are introduced when wounds become infected.
This condition also occurs more often in young cats than in older ones, as it may have something to do with a lack of immune system maturity.
8. Cat Skull vs. Dog Skull
Cats and dogs belong to the Carnivora family, a group of mammals known as predators and eat meat only. By sharing the same species, cats and dogs share almost the same attributes of the skeleton.
The diversity of shapes in cat skulls differs from dog skulls in size and shape. Some cats, like the magician, also have unique facial bones on their nose.
Another difference between a dog’s and a cat’s skull is the presence of nasal cavities. This cavity is an airway that connects to their lungs, which helps them breathe better.
Most Interesting Facts About a Cat Skull You Need to Know…
Without their amazingly specialized skeletons, cats could not do many of the things we consider so essentially cat-like. Cats wouldn’t make such distinctive pets without their unique bone structure.