With scalpels in hand and diagrams spread out on the table, seniors in Ms. Jennifer Conder’s Anatomy and Physiology class are working in groups to dissect cats for the purpose of studying anatomical structure.

“We are dissecting cats to take a hands-on approach to the body systems of cats, which are similar to the human body,” Conder said. “This project is a great way to learn the structures of the body because when someone actually works with the cats, they learn structures better and can use it in college anatomy classes.”

Seniors will spend the entirety of third quarter dissecting the cats to get an up close look at the structures, muscle groups and nerves in the felines.

“It provides us with a more tangible, hands-on experience in learning about muscle groups and other structures,” senior Bryce Ramos said. “I hope that becoming familiar with the anatomy of a cat will help me more easily learn about the human body when the time comes.”

As they work, seniors are required to take pictures of the different areas they are cutting into, such as muscles within the hamstring region and label the structures.

“The first time I did this, it wasn’t as organized,” Conder said. “I didn’t have it structured well but it’s a lot better now; we move through the systems more efficiently and now I know what we can cover each day.”

At the end of the quarter, students will be tested on all of the structures they have labeled using their own cat as a reference.

“This show us that there’s more to dissections in reality than just looking in a textbook,” senior Amal Youssouf said. “It’s helping me get over my fear of cutting into something since we’ve done worms and frogs over the years, but never something as big as cats”

Have you ever dissected something?