How Many Legs Does a Cat Have? (It’s Four, but There’s More..)

How Many Legs Does a Cat Have

It will come as no surprise that a cat’s anatomy is very different from ours.

It may seem obvious by looking at a cat and seeing it walk that they have four legs, but there is a little more to it than that.

Here is a closer look at how many legs cats have, whether or not they have arms, and just how they tiptoe around:

How Many Legs Does a Cat Have?

Asking how many legs a cat has isn’t as crazy of a question as it may sound.

When you see a cat walking on all fours, it’s natural to assume they have four legs.

However, when you see a cat picking something up with one of its front paws it looks like they’re using an arm, right.

So, do cats really have four legs?

Or, do they have two arms and two legs?

The answer is actually pretty straightforward – cats have four legs.

But their anatomy is very different from ours – and it’s actually quite surprising how their legs are structured.

Related How many ankles do cats have?

Do Cats Have Arms or 4 Legs?

I said that cats have four legs, and this is true as cats are officially classified as quadrupeds, which means they walk on all four limbs.

Looking at their anatomy, however, it’s not quite as simple. On a cat’s rear legs, they have knees and ankles, just as we do in our legs.

On a cat’s front legs, however, they have elbows and wrists. Just as we do on our arms!

I’ve heard people referring to cats as having two arms and two legs for this reason. But if you talk to a vet or research the topic, cats are classified as having four legs.

Do Cats Walk On Their Tiptoes?

Cats are what are called digitigrades. This means they walk on their toes (dogs do too!). This is what makes cats so agile, as they’re effectively tippy-toeing around.

Cats are able to walk very precisely and have exceptional balance. I’m sure you’ve seen a cat jumping over a fence, walking across something resembling a balancing beam, and so on.

This is all made possible by walking on their tiptoes. It also enables them to create more upward energy when they need to perform explosive jumps.

How Many Toes Does a Cat Have?

Another interesting thing about cats is how many toes they have – the answer to this question is not what you might think!

Cats – at least most cats – have 18 toes in total.

They have 5 toes on each of their front paws, and 4 toes on each of their hind paws. Do keep in mind, however, that it’s not uncommon for a kitty to have an abnormal number of toes.

Cats Do Not Have Opposable Thumbs

Opposable thumbs are characteristics of primates that allow us to grasp and handle objects.

Cats do not have opposable thumbs. This is why they are not able to grip and hold things, and is another reason why they have feet legs, and not hands legs.

I’m sure you’ve seen a cat grooming itself or pawing at food to try and scoop bits up to eat. It’s quite amusing to watch and demonstrates they clearly struggle to pick stuff up.

In Summary

Hopefully, you are now fully clued up on how many legs cats have as well as some of the other interesting and unique things about a cat’s anatomy.

Cats do have four legs, but the bones in their front and hind legs are very different and some of the structures do resemble two arms and two legs.

But it’s important to understand that cats move around on four legs and walk on their tiptoes.

They do not have arms, hands, or opposable thumbs. They’re not able to grab things as we do or use their front limbs as arms.


Image credits – Photo by Berkeli Alashov on Unsplash

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