Students of anatomy learn by studying a variety of specimens. Freshman start on the frog, advanced students might experience a rat, rabbit or a bullfrog.
Anatomy students may have access to cat specimens and in college may experience learning anatomy using human cadavers. All in all, the experiences can be rewarding.
Unfortunately, access to the specimens is limited to what is afforded during class and lab time. The following pages attempt to walk through the steps of the cat dissection to show images of what students have observed during the lab. There is no substitute for the real thing though, and these pages are simply meant to supplement the lab.
The first step for any dissection is to get an idea of what you will be doing and in what order. The cat dissection follows a specific pattern designed to reduce the chance that a structure will be damaged before you have had the chance to fully examine it. The following is an outline of the cat dissection.
1. Get the cat out of the bag, drain and rinse the cat. Tag the cat with your group’s name.
2. Skin the cat (this part can be skipped if the cats have already been skinned)
3. Examine and identify the muscle groups.
4. Examine the circulatory system, the heart and related vessels.
5. Examine the thoracic cavity, including parts of the digestive and respiratory system
6. Examine the reproductive organs of both the male and female cats. Groups may need to share or exchange cats.
Next Section: External Anatomy