What is Cat Hair Medulla?

What is the Function of the Hair Medulla? What is Cat Hair Medulla? Does Human Hair have a Medulla? What are the Types of Medulla?

Hair is a unique mammalian feature and no other non-mammal has true hair. True hair grows out of follicles which are pits in the skin. The base of the hair is called the root and then the shaft is the part of the hair that emerges to the exterior. The medulla is the innermost layer of the hair shaft and is nearly invisible. It consists of a thin, soft core of transparent cells and air spaces. This layer serves as the marrow or pith of the hair. Let’s learn everything related to the hair medulla in this article, like, the function of the hair medulla, cat hair medulla, etc.

1. What is the Function of the Hair Medulla?

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Hair is a filamentous biomaterial. At least, at some point during their life, the mammals have true hair. It mainly consists of proteins, particularly keratin. It grows out of follicles and has a base called the root. Its shaft emerges to the exterior. The hair medulla is a disordered, loosely packed area near the center of the hair. It is also surrounded by a cortex. It contains part of the fiber mass mostly structural lipids and keratin proteins.

The layer of the medulla is pretty fragile and difficult to see. In fact, there hasn’t been any significant research about the function of the hair medulla. Usually, it is believed that the hair medulla adds body and volume to a person’s hair. But are there any facts to prove it? No. (See What is a Hair Cowlick?)

2. What are the Types of Medulla Patterns?

The medulla is a disordered, loosely packed area near the center of the hair and is also surrounded by a cortex. It has part of the fiber mass mostly structural lipids and keratin proteins. The layer of the medulla is pretty fragile and difficult to see. This layer can be present or absent in your hair. These are the types of medulla patterns you can come across:

  • Intermittent or Interrupted
  • Fragmented
  • Continuous
  • Stacked
  • Absent or Not Present

3. What are the Three Basic Medullary Types?

The hair medulla is present in the center of the hair and thus is the hair core. It is also surrounded by the cortex and is a disordered, loosely packed region. It is mainly made up of fiber mass mostly structural lipids and keratin proteins. It can or cannot be present in one’s hair. But if it is, then these are the three basic medullary types you can come across:

  • Fragmentary or Trace
  • Continuous
  • Broken or Discontinuous

4. What Animal has a Continuous Medulla?

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After learning the three basic medullary types, let’s further see what animal has a continuous medulla. Normally, animals have a structured and continuous medulla. In a study conducted on different animal species, it was found that animals like goats, cats, dogs, buffalo, cows, camel, horses, donkeys, etc. all had continuous medullas. However, it was found that sheep had a fragmented medulla. (See 6 Nasal Hair Facts)

5. Can Animal Hair not have a Medulla?

No, all animal hairs have a medulla. The medulla in animals is relatively large in comparison to the human hair medulla. Unlike, animal hairs, human hairs don’t always have a medulla and even if a medulla is present, it is usually thin and invisible. 

6. Does Cat Hair have a Medulla?

Hair has three layers- the cortex, the medulla, and the cuticle. The cat hair also has a medulla. This medulla is relatively wide at the mid-shaft. It however beings in a classic way, from near the root. In the fleece, the medulla is uniserial but in the guard cells, it becomes more complex. After learning this, let’s learn about the cat hair medulla. (See Why do Cats not like Water near Their Food?)

7. What is Cat Hair Medulla?

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Cat hair also has three layers namely the cortex, medulla, and cuticle. The cat hair medulla is the innermost layer of the hair shaft. It consists of a thin, soft core of transparent cells and air spaces. Compared to the normal hair medulla, the cat hair medulla is relatively wide at the mid-shaft. However, its beginning is quite classic, from near the root. In the fleece, the medulla is uniserial but in the guard cells, it becomes more complex. 

8. Does Human Hair have a Medulla?

Since you know about the cat hair medulla, let’s learn whether does human hair have a medulla or not. The medulla may be present in human hair. It is a disordered, loosely packed area present in the center of the hair. If the medulla is present in human hair, it generally has an unstructured appearance. In human hair, the medulla can appear as fragmentary or trace, continuous, and broken or discontinuous. (See Why Do We Have Armpit Hair?)

9. What is One Difference between the Medulla in Human Hair and the Medulla in Animal Hair?

After learning whether does human hair have a medulla or not, let’s further explore the difference between human and animal hair medulla. Human hair is denser towards the cuticle whereas animal hair is denser towards the medulla. When the medulla is present in human hair, its width is usually less than one-third of the overall diameter of the hair shaft. It is also unstructured in appearance. On the other hand, the animal hair medulla is usually structured and continuous. It also mostly occupies more than one-third of the overall diameter of the hair shaft. 

10. Do Horses have a Medulla?

The medulla is the innermost layer of hair and is made up of loosely packed cells that sink if not properly hydrated. The thickness of an individual hair strand is determined by the diameter of its medulla. All animals have a medulla and yes, even horses have a continuous medulla. The horse has thinner hair on its body because of the thinner medulla. On the other hand, its tail and mane have thick hair due to a more prominent medulla. (Also see How Are Ponies and Horses Different?)

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