Examine the vertebral column of the cat and compare it with those of the frog and bird. Note that there are 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae, which is the same number found in most mammals. The first two cervical vertebrae (C1 & C2) are called the atlas and axis respectively. There are 13 thoracic vertebrae, which in addition to their function of axial support, bear the ribs. Next come 7 lumbar vertebrae, followed by 3 sacral vertebrae and a variable number (21-23) caudal vertebrae that support the tail.