Differences Between a Cat, Dog, & Human Skeleton

By Robyn Broyles
A human skeleton

Cats, dogs and humans have most of the same bones, but they are significantly different from each other. Cats and dogs, in the order Carnivora, are more like each other than either is like humans.

Skull

Human skull

Cats and dogs have long muzzles (longer in dogs than in cats) with grasping and tearing teeth; humans have a flat-faced skull and less specialized teeth. The braincase dominates the human skull but is relatively smaller in cats and dogs.

Torso

Dog skeleton

Cats' and dogs' shoulder bones are designed to support the weight of the upper body. Cats' and dogs' flexible spines act like a suspension bridge, while the human spine acts like a support column.

Limbs

Skeleton arms

Unlike cats and dogs, humans can reach over their heads because of our shoulder structure. Human legs are longer than the arms, while in cats and dogs, they are approximately equal.

Hands and feet

Cat skeleton

Cats and dogs walk on their toes while humans use the entire foot. Human hands are unique, as are cats' retractable claws.

Hips and tail

Human pelvis

Because humans are bipedal, the pelvis is rotated relative to cats' and dogs'. The coccyx is all that remains of the human tail.

About the Author

Robyn Broyles is a freelance writer focusing on medical, science, health, and philosophy topics. She is also a copy editor and writes tips and advice for other writers. She holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology, summa cum laude, and lives in Houston, Texas.