Organs are a collection of tissues and are vital to life. Your four-legged feline pal has nearly the same organ systems as you, though his organs just are much smaller. His brain works much like yours, sending continuous messages all over his body to make his organs work together.
Respiratory and Cardiovascular Organs
Scruffy’s two little lungs work hard to pull oxygen into his body and send the oxygen to his blood. When he’s exhaling, his lungs are pushing out carbon dioxide, which is a normal waste product of the respiratory process. After that, your kitty’s heart pumps the oxygen-rich blood throughout his body, delivering the oxygen to every single cell, tissue and organ. These organs work nearly identically in your body.
Scruffy’s digestive tract is very similar to yours. Much like you, digestion begins in his mouth when he chews. He has a tongue that helps him push food down into his esophagus. After his kibble travels down his esophageal tract, it lands in his stomach. Food breaks down further in his stomach with the help of bile that is made in his liver. From there, food gets sent down to his small intestine. The pancreas sends out enzymes that aid in digestion, allowing all nutrients to absorb through intestinal walls. Any leftover waste gets pushed into his large intestine and then down into the colon so he can expel it the next time he goes potty. All of these organs work very similarly to the digestive organs in your body.
Cats have many of the same organs that humans have to get rid of liquid waste. Scruffy’s has two kidneys like you, which act like a filtration system. The kidneys pull in liquids and filter out anything that his body doesn't need, turning the liquid into urine. At that point, urine goes out through the ureters and empties into his bladder. Once his bladder fills up, he’ll get the urge and make a run for the litter box. This is the same process that happens to you with the same organs, except of course, you don’t use the litter box.
Felines have to procreate just like humans. Female cats have fallopian tubes, ovaries, a uterus and a vagina, exactly like women. Male kitties have a prostate gland, testicles and a penis, the same anatomy as men. While the sex organs work in a similar manner between felines and humans, gestation periods are quite different. Queens, which are fertile female furballs, are pregnant only for about two months. This is much shorter than the 9-month gestation period for human babies.
One organ that humans have that cats are lacking, is the appendix. The appendix holds good bacteria in the human body, but sometimes becomes inflamed, requiring an emergency surgery for removal. While cats and humans have eyes, cats have three eyelids. Humans only have one. These extra eyelids in kitties, which they can see through partially, protect their eyes during fights or while running through bushes. Cats also have a vomeronasal organ, also known as the Jacobson's organ. The vomeronasal organ is in the back of Scruffy's mouth and helps him pick up scents. You may notice him sitting there with his mouth slightly open and his lips curled back. He isn't angry, he's pulling a new scent into his mouth for his vomeronasal organ to evaluate. Often, intact male felines rely on this organ to pick up pheromones from female cats in heat, letting them know it's time to breed.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.