do cats have knees

Do Cats Have Knees?

Yes, cats have knees on their back legs.

It’s sometimes thought that cats must have four knees because they have four legs but this isn’t the case.

Cat’s actually only have knees on their hind legs meaning they have two knees and two elbows. 

Although it may not be immediately obvious, there is a difference between a cat’s front and hind legs.

Underneath all of that fluff, the front legs are connected to the scapula (shoulder) and include a humerus, ulna, and radius while the back legs are connected to the hip and include a femur, tibia, fibula and patella (kneecap). 

The hind legs are used for strength and power which is why they require a large range of movement and have knees and kneecaps.

For example, when a cat jumps you will see they use their hind legs to provide the power needed. 

Do cats have knees or elbows?

Cats have both, they have knees on their hind legs and elbows on their front legs.

Although cats have four legs, the joints on the front legs are more like elbows while the joints on the back are more like knees. 

A cat’s elbows are similar in function to human elbows but they are located on the cat’s front leg just below the body rather than in the middle of the leg.

cat laying on its back

A cat’s knees are more complicated and allow for a broader range of movement.

Cat’s knees are located on the front of their back legs but are positioned close to their body.

A cat’s ankle joint is around the middle and due to the location it is often confused for the knee. 

Do cats have arms?

No, cats don’t have arms.

As cats have elbow joints this can cause people to think they have arms and legs.

However, the elbow joints do not mean a cat’s front legs are considered arms.

All four limbs of a cat are considered legs.

This is because cats are quadrupeds meaning they walk on all four legs.

What are cats’ knees called?

Cat’s knees are also called stifle joints.

The stifle joint consists of three bones (the femur, patella, and tibia).

Cat’s knees may also be called condylar joints which means they are joints that have a large range of motion. 

cat standing on hind legs

How many knees do cats have?

Cats have two knee joints and two elbow joints.

A cat’s knees are located on their hind legs and are protected by kneecaps while the elbow joints are located on their front legs.

It can be hard to see your cats knees because they are positioned close to the body.

Do cats have backwards knees?

No, although cat’s knees do have a large range of movement which allows cats to jump and move around quickly.

If you think that a cat has backwards knees, you may actually be observing the movement of the ankle rather than the knee.

The knee is located higher up on the hind leg. 

Cats are also digitigrade, meaning they walk on their digits rather than on the sole of the foot like a plantigrade, such as a human, does.

This means the ankle is positioned much higher than the ankle of a human and this is what sometimes causes confusion as people may mistake the ankles for knees. 

How are cats’ knees different from human knees?

Although there are some similarities between cat knees and human knees, the key differences are found in the position and angle of the knee on the leg. 

The number of joints is the same but the length and shape of parts of the legs differ.

how are cats knees different to human knees

When we compare cats and humans; cat’s knees are located higher on the leg, their legs have longer tarsal bones and the ankle is located much higher on cat’s legs.

As well as this, the angle between the knee and the hip is different in cats and humans (and can even vary depending on the breed of cat). 

The knee ultimately works in the same way but being a digitigrade allows cats to move more quickly and quietly compared to humans.