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Do Cats Have Knees?
Cat HealthCat Fun Facts

Do Cats Have Knees?

According to an AVMA research, 25.4% of homes have a cat as a pet, making cats the second most popular pets after dogs. Because of their four-legged posture, the physique of cat knees may not be easy to understand, leading to the frequently asked question on cat websites: "Do cats have knees?" This article will clear any doubt.

Do Cats Have Knees and Elbows?

When you look at the legs of a cat, it may be too easy to say that cats do not have knees or elbows because they are not as visible as the ankle and the wrist. Also, there is a popular misconception that because a cat walks on four legs, they have four knees, but is this true? — Not at all.

A cat has four legs separated as the forelimbs (front legs) and the hindlimbs (the back legs). These limbs have different joints holding them together and performing activities separate from each other. For the front legs, the hinge joint connects the elbow and the wrist and allows movement in one direction, while the condylar joint connects the knee and the ankle in the hindlimbs. Unlike the hinge joint, the condylar joint is flexible and allows two types of movements — flexion/extension and abduction/adduction — that help the cat jump high. These joints that are equivalent to knees are actually known as stifle joints or simply stifles.

Just like the human knee, the cat's knee has a protective covering called the patella. So, do cats have kneecaps? Yes, they do, but instead of referring to them as kneecaps, call them differently — patellas. So, cat knees are called stifles and cat kneecaps are called patellas.

a white cat standing on its hind legs
a white cat standing on its hind legs

How Do Cat Knees Differ From Human Knees?

Humans only have two legs, whereas cats have four. While their knees appear similar to that of humans, there is a clear distinction in their positioning. For the cat, the hip and knee are close to each other, and the angle between them differs in different cat breeds. Cat breeds like the Maine Coon have a sharper angle between their hip and knees and are more inclined to joint disorders, including arthritis. 

Cat Knee Health Tips

It is essential to keep your cat's joints healthy, especially as they age; it’s not uncommon for senior cats to naturally develop arthritis or other joint-related diseases. The ways you can keep your pet's joints healthy include:

Keep your cat engaged

According to an article written by Zoetis, cats are naturally curious animals. While cats can be active on their own, it’s important to give them options that include engaging with your pet to get them moving. Keeping them busy with puzzle feeders and using wand toys to mimic prey is another way to keep them active. Your pet may also enjoy mounting shelves and climbing cat trees. These games will keep your pet agile and feed their curiosity, which is a win-win as you accomplish your goal of keeping them physically active.

Control your cat's weight

If you want your pet to have healthy knees, their weight must be your priority. Your veterinarian will discuss your cat’s weight and body condition at their regular wellness exams. If their body condition score is above the ideal range for their age, breed, and health conditions, they may discuss changes to their diet and physical activity to keep your cat healthy.  .

Modify your living space as required

Cats love climbing and usually do not know when to pause or call it quits. However, as a feline parent, this is your responsibility, especially for the older cats. You can add pet stairs to aid them in climbing some areas of your home, like the bed or chairs. When they stress their joints so much, they may be at risk of having arthritis, or it may worsen joint problems in older cats, and you do not want your pet's joints to fail them. So, make any changes to your home that may benefit your kitty companion. 


Cats have limb joints akin to the human shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee, although their anatomical structure and mobility are unique. Understanding the distinctions in feline limb joints can provide valuable insights into cat anatomy and movement. With this knowledge, you will be an excellent guardian to your pet and will take care of them the best way possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cats have knees or elbows?

Yes, cats have knees and elbows. The cat's knee is called “the stifle.”

Do dogs and cats have 4 knees? 

No, they do not have 4 knees. A cat has two elbows at the forelimb and two knees at the hindlimb. 

Where is the knee of a cat? 

You can find the cat's knee at the hindlimb—the back legs— just above the ankle and below the hip.

Can cats bend their knees? 

Without a doubt, a cat's knee can bend, but not in the same direction as its elbow.

How many bones does a cat have?

The simple fact that your cat can fit comfortably into a jar is due to the 230 bones that form a cat's extraordinarily flexible skeleton.