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The Cat is Out of the Bag

Anatomy students start major dissection

First+period+anatomy+students+junior+Shelby+Canales+and+Senior+Victor+Vrazel+finish+skinning+their+cat%2C+Friday%2C+February+5th.+
First period anatomy students junior Shelby Canales and Senior Victor Vrazel finish skinning their cat, Friday, February 5th.

First period anatomy students junior Shelby Canales and Senior Victor Vrazel finish skinning their cat, Friday, February 5th.

Ashley Skinner

Ashley Skinner

First period anatomy students junior Shelby Canales and Senior Victor Vrazel finish skinning their cat, Friday, February 5th.

Ashley Skinner, Editor-in-Chief

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As a student walking through the hallways the next couple of months, be prepared for the scent of formaldehyde drifting through the air. The anatomy classes will dissect cats for the next four months.

The cats are preserved in a strong liquid called formaldehyde. This ensures that the cat will not rot for the rest of the dissection period. This process takes so long because the students will be looking at the external and internal parts of the body, and analyzing the anatomical structure of the cat.

“This is my favorite dissection of the year,” Anatomy teacher Deedee Stewart said. “It allows us to compare our bodies with a similar body, and we can figure out what we look like on the inside.”

The students dissect the cats specifically because of the similarities they have to humans. Most of the differences are in the way they walk, having a few extra muscles that humans do not have, and in their vertebral columns.  

“I’ve looked forward to this all year,” junior Gunnar Gard said. “This is a fun experience and it is exactly why I signed up for the class.”

The dissection process started promptly on Monday morning this week when the students finally got to take their cat out of the bag and start skinning it. This procedure will take about a week to accomplish due to the fragility of the underlying muscles and tissues, and because the cats are extra big this year.

“When I called the normal company to get the cats, they told me they were out of the normal size I order so they gave me the bigger cats for the same price as the small ones,” Stewart said. “They are more difficult to skin, but easier to identify parts because all of the organs are bigger.”

Earlier in the year, anatomy students took a field trip to the Witte Museum to study an exhibit call the Traveling Bodies. This exhibit was made completely out of real human beings who donated their bodies to science. This is how the students will be comparing the cat’s body to the human’s.

“At the Witte I was able to see all of the stuff in my body that I would never have gotten to see if I hadn’t gone to the exhibit,” senior Kenia Valdez said. “I am really excited for the rest of this dissection so I can see up close and hands on what my organs really look like and how they work.”

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “The Cat is Out of the Bag”

  1. Kaylie Farley on April 8th, 2016 3:21 pm

    That’s not formaldehyde, it’s a different type of preservative. I am not sure what it is, but it’s not formaldehyde.

    [Reply]

  2. Andrew Zimmel on May 5th, 2016 8:35 am

    Actually it is, but thanks for trying to help!

    [Reply]

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The Cat is Out of the Bag