As any cat lover knows, felines are renowned for their agile and graceful movements. One of the keys to their incredible athletic ability is their well-developed hip muscles. In this article, we will take a closer look at the anatomy of a cat's hip joint and the muscles that are responsible for those adorable, perky feline behinds.

The Hip Joint

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that connects the femur to the pelvis. It allows for a wide range of movement, including flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and rotation. The bones of the hip joint are held together by a strong fibrous joint capsule, which is lined with synovial membrane to produce synovial fluid for lubrication.

Major Hip Muscles

There are several major muscles that make up the hip joint and play crucial roles in the movement and stability of the hip, including:

Gluteus maximus - This is the largest of the three gluteal muscles and is responsible for hip extension. It is also the primary muscle responsible for the shape and size of a cat's behind.

Gluteus medius - This muscle is located on the outer surface of the pelvis and is responsible for hip abduction and stabilization during movement.

Gluteus minimus - This is the smallest of the three gluteal muscles and is located beneath the gluteus medius. It also contributes to hip abduction and stabilization, as well as hip internal rotation.

Psoas major - This muscle is located deep within the abdomen and runs from the lumbar spine to the femur. It is responsible for hip flexion and plays a key role in walking and running.

Quadriceps femoris - This is a group of four muscles that are located on the front of the thigh and are responsible for knee extension and hip flexion.

Other Hip Muscles

In addition to the major hip muscles, there are several smaller muscles that play important roles in hip movement, including:

Tensor fasciae latae - This muscle is located on the outer surface of the hip and is responsible for hip flexion and abduction.

Obturator externus - This is a small muscle located on the side of the hip that plays a role in hip external rotation.


Gemellus muscles - There are two gemellus muscles (superior and inferior) located deep within the hip that play a role in hip external rotation and stabilization.


As we can see, the hip joint is a complex structure that relies on multiple muscles to facilitate movement and ensure stability. The gluteal muscles, in particular, play a key role in the function and aesthetics of a cat's behind, making them both cute and functional. Understanding the anatomy of a cat's hip joint can help us appreciate how amazing these creatures truly are.