One of the cutest and most adorable thing in this world are cat paws. I have two cats and I could look at their tiny little paws all day. Many people, especially cat owners, would agree with this statement. But, the thing is that we actually don’t know that much about them. There are so many interesting facts regarding cat paws. Some of them really surprised me. Did you know that cat paw colors may vary and that they come in various shapes and sizes? How about the fact that your cat probably has a dominant paw? And have you ever read about paw sensitivity and flexibility? Those are just few of the things we don’t know, and there are many more unknown facts about cat paws. Keep reading to find out!
Facts about cat paws #1: Cat paw colors vary
One of the interesting facts about cat paws is that the pigment that colors your cat’s fur also colors her skin. If you pay attention, you will see that the color of paw pads matches the colors of your cat. My black cat has black paw pads, and my orange cat has pink paw pads. Some say that their orange cats have orange paw pads, but that is not the case with my cat. The same way, grey cats usually have grey paw pads. The only type of cats that are unpredictable when it comes to paw colors are multicolored cats. With them, anything can go. One thing I also saw is that my cats have matching colors of paw pads and their little noses. It is so adorable!
See also: Tabby Cat Facts
Facts about cat paws #2: Paws come in various shapes and sizes
Just like humans, cats also have various shapes and sizes of their paws. However, they are not as unique as human fingerprints. The only thing is that they can have small paws and feet, or dainty and oval-shaped feet, or maybe bigger and broad paws. Possibilities can vary in many ways. There is also one phenomena called polydactyl. It is a genetic abnormality where instead of having the usual five toes on each paw, a cat may have up more of them. The number goes up to eight of them on one paw.
Facts about cat paws #3: Cats have dominant paws
Some humans are right-handed and some are left-handed. That is one of the thing we apparently have in common with cats. But, how come you never noticed? The thing is that when cats play or when they do easy tasks they tend to use both paws. In order to use its dominant paw, cats have to encounter with some more difficult tasks. Some studies suggest that up to 39% of cats prefer their right paw and 28.3% prefer the left. Two studies report up to 51.5% of cats preferring their right paw and 40.4% their left paw. Although studies differ as far as the percentages of cats that are right, left or ambidextrous, they all agree that felines do have paw preferences.
One study from 2009 studied the paw preference behaviour of 42 pet cats. In conclusion they correlated gender with paw dominance. In other words, female cats tended to be right-pawed, while on the other hand male cats had a strong tendency to be left-pawed when faced with complex or difficult tasks. A few years later, they also found out that paw-preference develops between 6 and 12 months old. Moreover, they also linked paw-preference to hormones and sexual maturity. If you want to find out your cat’s paw preference, you can test it. To put it in other words, just place a treat on a place that is hard to reach and watch what paw your cat will use. But, this method might not be so accurate. Because of that, you might want to do this test at least about 100 times.
Facts about cat paws #4: Cats walk tiptoed
Now, here is the one thing that cats and humans don’t have in common. We humans walk on our heels and the balls of the feet, but unlike us, cats are walking on their balls of the feet and their fingertips. They developed this method due to their past. Cats were once a wild animals and a way of walking was a matter of life and death. Walking on tiptoes enables them to boost their speed and to prolong their steps. Therefore, cats are known as very fast runners. Furthermore, cats are also quieter on their toes. In other words, their prey will find it hard to detect them and cats will have an easy prey.
See also: Calico Cat Facts
Facts about cat paws #5: Detection of temperature on cat paws
This fact can be very interesting to us, but common and well-known in Japan. People check their body temperature with a help of thermometer, but how can we check the temperature of cats? In Japan, many cat owners check their cats temperature by simply checking their paws. If you feel a sudden increase in temperature of your cats paws that could mean they have some illness. In most of the cases it is a meaning of fever, so if you notice it you should probably visit a veterinarian. Better safe than sorry!
Facts about cat paws #6: Cat paws are sensitive
Cats little paw pads are very sensitive. That might be the reason why most of the cats object to their paws being rubbed and fiddled with. To put it in other words, cat paws are full with large concentrations of nerve receptors. Cats have many nerve endings in each of their paw pads. Because of that cat paws are considered as one of the most fine-tuned sensory organs. Indeed, they can sense texture, pressure and even vibrations. In fact, all of this helps them sense the position of their prey and also a position of an animal that’s hunting them.
Furthermore, because of these receptors they have a great deal of balance. Given this facts, it’s no wonder that cats are one of the best hunters in the world. On the other hand, all this sensitivity comes with a cost. It is important to mention that they are very sensitive to temperature, pressure and pain. As a result, cats can be severely injured if they walk on hot or frozen surfaces. Due to that, they can easily detect the temperature of the surface. Furthermore, cats can feel a lot of pain and discomfort through their paws because these soft pads are not very well insulated. However, the skin pads on your cat’s paws are strong enough to offer protection from punctures when she’s walking on rough terrain.
Facts about cat paws #7: Cat paws are flexible
Another interesting fact about cat paws is that they are incredibly flexible. Because of their ability to bend and turn, cats are amazing climbers. Those flexible paws enable them to climb all kinds of surfaces like trees. This is all because of the fact that front paws have the ability to turn inwards, sinking the claws into branches. Furthermore, this all helps cats maintain stability while climbing up. However, the flexible paws only help with the climbing and not descending for the simple reason of front claws facing the wrong direction. Also, it is important to mention that their front paws and legs are much weaker than their back legs. So, next time you see a cat stuck on a tree, don’t be surprised. She knows how to climb, but going down is a completely different thing to do.
See also: Best Cat Toys for Indoor Cats
Facts about cat paws #8: Cat paws act as shock absorbers
These cats just keep on surprising me. Cat paws can do jet another amazing thing. They can absorb sound and shock! In other words, cat paw pads have the ability to soften and cushion landings when cat jumps or when she’s walking on rough surfaces. This fact can also be a reason of cats being such a good hunters because it helps them move silently.
Facts about cat paws #9: Cats use paws for grooming
If you have a cat at home then this is the fact you must already know. But, no matter that, it is still an interesting fact worth mentioning. Besides, there are some people who don’t know this because they don’t have a cat or they never seen them grooming. Basically, paws and fore legs are great grooming tools for cats. There are some areas on cat body that she can’t reach using just her tongue. Some of those areas are behind the ears, under the chin, neck and overall face. So, how do they do it? For a start, they start licking their paw. After that they start wiping their paw all over the area they can’t directly lick. In summary, they repeat the process over and over again until they feel completely clean.
Facts about cat paws #10: Cat Paws can sweat
I read somewhere about little paw marks that your cat can leave on the exam table at a veterinarian. Next time I went to veterinarian I paid a close attention. And look, really, there they were! Eventually I found out that this was just my cat sweating from her paws. So adorable! Yes, at that moment it was a sign that my cat is nervous and that she doesn’t like being at veterinarian. However, that is not primary reason of her sweating. A cats cooling system is located on their paws, therefore this is the main reason cats sweat under their paw pads. This cooling system helps keep cats from over-heating on hot days. In other words, it helps them keep their body temperature balanced.
Facts about cat paws #11: Cats use paws to communicate
Many people think that cats scratch objects just to sharpen their claws, but that is not the fact. Actually, they scratch objects to mark their territory and to spread informations about themselves. Interesting, right? Although they leave some visual signs, that is not enough. In addition, they scratch the surfaces of multiple objects to leave their scent. But, how do they do that? The thing is that cats have scent glands that are tucked between their paw pads. Furthermore, their scent is packed with information s about the scratcher. We usually see cats scratching objects with their front paws, but even paw pads on the back feets have scent glands.
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Facts about cat paws #12: Claw Bones
Last but not least interesting fact about cat paws are their claw bones. Human nails grow from the flesh of the fingertips, whereas cat claws grow from their bones. Seeing this fact it is no wonder that cats hate declawing. If you dont do it properly, declawing can be very painful to your cat. Because of that, many cat owners think that declawing is unnecessary. But, bear in mind that if your cats claws are too long, your cat can get hurt. Cats can accidentally break their claws while jumping or playing and that is far more painful than declawing with proper tool.
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