Anatomy students dissect cats to gain experience

Karley Owens, Reporter

One of the most well-known labs of Greater Latrobe sciences is the cat dissections that take place in Anatomy and Physiology. Some students find it odd and inhumane to have to cut open a cat, but others find it a once-in-a lifetime opportunity that will prepare them for what is to come in their future medical studies. Marque Piper is a student who sees the advantage. “Dissecting the cats is a great opportunity to get a hands-on experience,” said Piper.
Piper who is planning on attending Saint Francis University in hopes of being a Physician’s Assistant finds the cat dissection a great starting point.
Anatomy and Physiology students are studying and examining these cats to see how the muscular anatomy is similar to humans, and it also helps with “dissection skills,” said Mrs LeVan.
This dissection also coincides with the students unit on the muscle system. It helps to recognize muscles on the back, legs, and arms of the cat that are similar to humans. These students are also getting hands-on experience with medical instruments like probes and scissors to cut open the cat.
Piper already had some experience with dissection and muscles prior to the cats, because she was involved with the Allied Health program where they viewed surgeries and discussed the process of dissection.
This prior exposure helped future medical students like Piper excel during dissection. “I wasn’t grossed out at all by the cats. If anything, my thoughts were ‘this is so weird, these dead cats just came out of a refrigerator,” said Piper.
“Dissection will grow on you after awhile. It should not turn students away from science or the medical field, but it should serve as a learning experience,” said LeVan.
A cat, or other animals, is a stepping stone to larger procedures like humans.
“I feel that seeing the insides of a cat will make it much easier to see a human’s. It takes baby steps,” said Piper.
Having to cut open a cat is definitely a new experience, but having an open mind to it and tackling the procedure in small steps will ensure an educational and unforgettable dissection.