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Strange cat skeleton...

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by akvz, May 2, 2015.

  1. akvz

    akvz New Member

    A friend gave me a dead (stray) cat that passed away due to a severe feline upper respiratory infection. There was no trauma indicating he died of anything else, and his lungs/chest cavity seemed to be on par for an upper respiratory infection, so I thought nothing of it. He was an old fellow, missing several teeth, his sternum is fused and wonky, several ribs have signs of healed fractures... nothing really out of the usual for an old tom cat when it came to most of him.

    However, there were a few things that struck me as a bit odd, namely his skull and these mysterious bones found with his back end:

    [​IMG]
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    They look like chevron bones... but do cats HAVE chevron bones? I'd expect this in an alligator, an otter, a beaver... but there's at least five of them so far and they're all consistent in shape! They're not the baculum or part of the hyoid process as I have processed the baculum and hyoid group separately. I've never processed a domestic housecat from raw to finish, so I've never come across this before... and if felines do have chevron bones, bobcats, which I am more familiar with, wouldn't have them, probably, so that could account for a lot of it.

    As for the skull...

    [​IMG]

    He's missing half of his nasal conchae! I did not do anything unusual; maceration with a fresh specimen, rinsed and degreased... and lightly whitened so far... no heavy flow of water was near his face at any point or anything. No bugs. Nothing! Could this possibly be a result of the upper respiratory infection that ended his life? Another bizarre aspect of this would be that either side of the skull, the lacrimal bone was dislodged during cleaning... while the rest of the skull is pretty firmly fused.

    [​IMG]

    I've got both of them and can replace them once he is done being whitened and degreased to my satisfaction, but it just seems bizarre to me, as I've never had this happen with any skull... but I mostly work with animals in good physical condition, not animals with medical deaths.
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I believe that bobcats and domestic cats can interbreed so if this was normal wouldn't bobcats have them as well?
     

  3. akvz

    akvz New Member

    I've actually never seen evidence of a true bobcat/housecat hybrid, only "pixie-bobs" (100% housecat) and some speculative cases with no solid evidence. I'm not sure if they can hybridise or not. They can hybridise with servals and some other small cats so I'm hesitant to say they can't, though.

    Chevron bones are mostly in place to support nerve and blood vessels through the tail. If they're only at the base on a housecat, which uses it's tail for more than a bobcat, I wouldn't expect to see them on a bobcat, as their tails aren't used in the same way. Same reason to expect chevrons in an otter but not a grison or something. I guess otters aren't as closely related in this example as bobcats and housecats, though.

    I'm just a bit confused because I've never seen these on a bobcat and I can't find any data about felids having chevrons. I'd chalk it up to ossified cartilage or tendon (a lot of his sternal cartilage started to ossify) but they're too consistent in shape.

    I found these with the back end but there's a good possibility it can be from the rest of the spine as well... But I don't know if that helps to narrow it down at all.
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Seems that domestic cats indeed do though admittedly I have missed these before. A dissection manual here mentions them. https://books.google.com/books?id=Zwpjqn8IyRwC&pg=PA144&lpg=PA144&dq=feline+hemal+bone&source=bl&ots=emcf4A3_CB&sig=aotY2gpH2ytLIunN_gCCjD9U-9o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QT9GVdubBtHxggS-8oGoAQ&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=feline%20hemal%20bone&f=false

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  5. akvz

    akvz New Member

    Ah, looking up hemal bones would have done me much more good on the mystery bone front, then... good to know! I didn't find more than five so I hope that's enough... interesting.

    Any idea on the nasal/lacrimal bone issue on the skull?
     
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I've never seen lacrimals fall out like that on an adult animal. But, if it was plagued by some sort of nasal infection that took out the conchae it might have also weakened the structure of the lacrimals too.