Monday 25 December 2023

The skin of a cat is not tightly attached to the muscle below

This is about how small cats - the wild cats and the domestic cat - are able to better protect themselves in the event of a fight with another cat over territory thanks to their anatomy.

Small wild cats and the domestic cat are able to protect themselves thanks to their anatomy. Image: MikeB

Small cats try and avoid physical fights to avoid harm which, in turn, ensures that they remain as fit as possible to be the excellent predator that they are. Injuries can blunt their predation and even lead to starvation. 

They avoid other cats by marking territory with scratch marks, urine and faeces. Also they can sometimes scream loudly at their neighbours to tell them not to encroach on their home range.

In short a range of methods are employed to achieve a result without actually fighting.

When there is physical confrontation between small cats over their home range, they will try to avoid fighting by sumo-style standoff signalling using sounds and body language postures. If effective the weaker cat slinks off very slowly. Job done.

The last resort is an actual fight and under these extreme circumstances the small cat has an anatomy which helps to protect them.

Here are some aspects of the small cat anatomy adaptations to inter-species fighting.
  1. The skin of the small cat is not tightly attached to the muscle below.
  2. The cat's body is very loosely enclosed within their skin.
  3. The muscles move and slip within the skin.
  4. Small cats seem to be able to rotate their body with their skin allowing the cat to often squirm free.
  5. The cat's fur protects them.
  6. The cat's fur seems to slide when grasped.
  7. A combatant's teeth and claws might penetrate fur and skin but they a less likely to penetrate muscle.
These aspects of the small cat anatomy helps to thwart the grip of a combatant. The odds are that a couple of small cats fighting over territory will come out of a fight without serious injury. You see ears mangled sometimes for example but that won't hinder survival.

They often return to their home ranges and continue to patrol it diligently as before.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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