Anatomy classes dissect cats

Dissections have been underway for the anatomy class at the end of the school year. Anatomy teacher Maggie Molledo has had her students perform many throughout the course of their studies.

“What we’re doing right now is rabbits, but this year when I ordered the rabbits they were on backorder, so I got cats,” Molledo said.

The ordered specimens are large euthanized wild cats from Science Carolina Biological, which is a company made for science research and testing.

“It’s expensive, and we had our school PTA pay for half of our dissection specimens [because] we didn’t have enough money,” Molledo said.

With the help of the PTA, students can know what it’s like to study see firsthand how mammals’ anatomy function.

“They have a strong odor,” Molledo said. “But it’s kind of intimidating for some of the students, and I think for some of them it was a little scarier. An organ is one thing, but a whole cat … it’s kind of emotional.”

Students have the option to not participate in the dissections and to do the alternative assignment, which involves researching wild-cat issues. However, junior Zoe Boyer chose to perform the dissection.

“My class is behind, so we’ve only done the skinning part which I didn’t participate in because of the face,” Boyer said. “It was looking at me, and it freaked me out.”

After skinning the cat, students then label the muscles and focus in more on the organs.

“[The] grossest part is the face for sure,” Boyer said. “Its eyes are partially open, so I felt like it was looking at me and I had to move.”

The students will study various the systems of the cat, including the digestive, cardiovascular, reproductive and urinary as well as the bones.

“It’s definitely heavy, and it smells,” Boyer said. “Mainly, it’s the chemical that it was soaked in. There’s a bag that we put them in and we leave the windows and door open. When we first got them, it was in a vacuum sealed bag, so we had to open it and drain it of the juices. When we opened it, a girl in my group, her face was there because she was cutting it open and it all went into her face, and it was so bad that she and a couple of people had to leave the room.”

Previously, students have dissected a chicken wing, cow eye, sheep brain, and a sheep and cow heart and have sutured bananas.

By Laura Shelton