Do Cats Have Kneecaps? (Solved)

Cats have powerful legs. Their hind legs are renowned for packing a tremendous amount of force allowing them to jump incredible heights and quickly dash across small spaces. This is a big part of their physical ability. However, it often makes you wonder about how their legs are formed. This includes asking, do cats have kneecaps?

Cats only have kneecaps (patellas) on their hind legs. It’s commonly assumed cats have functional kneecaps on all four limbs but this is untrue. The front legs do not have a kneecap.

This is why most cats will favor their hind legs when moving, jumping, or doing anything that makes them generate force through the body.

Key factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Use of Legs
  • Anatomical Development

When a cat is walking, it is noticeable how they will create most of their force through the hind legs. Their front legs are more of a guide as they walk and can be used to grab or paw at things in front of them.

This is a key detail to think about when asking “Do cats have kneecaps?” because it highlights the difference between the front and hind legs in a cat.

For those asking “Do cats have kneecaps?”, this article will offer insight into a cat’s legs along with why cats only have kneecaps on their hind legs.

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Reasons Cats Only Have Two Kneecaps

1. Evolution

It is as simple as this.

The most reliable answer is a straightforward one involving evolution. Cats have been around for generations and were commonly kept as pets in Ancient China.

Even before this period, cats were seen roaming the outdoors with grace. They were animals that were well-known to civilizations for their ability to hunt.

This is why the evolutionary process has made it possible for them to have stronger hind legs. They rely on these hind legs to survive and hunt.

For those asking “Do cats have kneecaps?” most of your experiences will be with domestic cats. This means you are going to wonder why this development has remained true with bred cats over hundreds of years.

It has to do with their genetic predisposition to use their hind legs. This hasn’t changed over the years whether it’s for running, staying active, and/or hunting.

The front limbs are just to touch items, guide their body, and/or move swiftly. All of the power is generated from the hind legs in a cat.

do cats have kneecaps

2. Strength and Use of Hind Legs

When asking “Do cats have kneecaps?” you have to start by looking at how a cat moves.

When a cat runs, most of its force is going to come from the hind legs. This is where they are going to be “pushing” off of as they are rushing towards something.

A good example of this would be a car that has rear wheel drive.

Yes, the car has two front wheels but the power is being generated by the back axle! This is the same for cats and how they are biologically built.

A cat’s hind legs are capable of generating twice as much force as their front legs due to the presence of more muscle and the patella.

This is how they create most of their strength and one of the reasons has to do with the two kneecaps on their hind legs.

By having the patella, it is easier for them to flex this leg and create enough force as they push off.

do cats have kneecaps

3. Anatomical Development

This is a key detail to think about as well.

Anatomical developments happen based on how cats are bred. This includes whether or not they are bred with specific species and/or for particular traits.

Over the years, cats have been bred with different traits in mind but mostly to domesticate them. However, these cats have all developed strong hind legs.

Cats are specifically geared towards using their hind legs to generate force while the front legs act as a simple guide.

These developments are natural across all cat breeds.

This is why it is common for cats to have two patellas.

Related Questions

1. Where Is A Cat’s Kneecap?

A cat has two kneecaps. These are located in its hind legs. This allows the cat to generate force, run, and/or maintain balance while moving.

2. Can A Cat Dislocate Its Knee?

Yes, it is possible for a cat to dislocate its knee. The medical phrase for this is “feline luxating patella,” which refers to the dislocation of the patella (kneecap). A cat suffering from this injury will often display immobility or a hobbled gait.

Final Thoughts

“Do cats have kneecaps?”

Cats indeed have kneecaps. They have two kneecaps in their hind legs. This allows them to flex the hind legs and generate a good amount of force while moving.

Here is more on cats – reasons cats have nipples, reasons cats love copying each other, advice on keeping neutered and unneutered cats together, and tips on introducing a new cat.