Cat paws are incredible. Take some time to look at your cat’s paw pads, particularly the front ones. They are not only adorable and colourful, but also adaptable and have important jobs that improve the chances of survival. Cat paws serve as communication devices, environmental sensors, as well as instruments for hunting and grooming. They assist in controlling body temperature and serve as shock absorbers as well. Here are some fascinating details regarding cat paws:
1.Cats’ paws are dominating
Up close and personal with cat paws. Did you know that your cat may have a dominant front paw? Although studies differ as far as the percentages of cats who are right, left or ambidextrous, they all agree that felines do have paw preferences, especially when they are performing challenging tasks. One study, conducted by Queens University in Ireland, correlates gender with paw dominance. Their data shows that male cats prefer to use their right paw, whereas females go with the left. You can find out which paw your cat prefers by giving her difficult tasks, such as fishing yummy treats out of hard-to-reach places. In order to get the most accurate reading on the cat paws in question, the task needs to be replicated at least 75 times. Your cat will probably be eager to help.
2. Cats trot on their tiptoes
Cats are Digitigrade. That means they navigate through their world on tippy toes. It’s about survival and a good meal. Walking and running on toes ups the odds of having a successful hunt by boosting speed and lengthening the strides. Cats are also quieter on their toes, making it harder for prey to detect them.
3. Cat paws have delicate skin
There’s a reason why most cats object to those adorable cat paws being rubbed and fiddled with. Those little cat paw pads are extremely sensitive. They contain large concentrations of nerve receptors, making them finely tuned sensory organs that aid in hunting and maintaining balance. Because of these receptors, cats feel texture, pressure and possibly vibrations through their paw pads, helping them evaluate the liveliness and close proximity of their prey.
Sensitivity comes at a cost. Although cat paw pads are strong enough to protect cats against some environmental damage, they are very sensitive to temperature, pressure and pain. The soft pads are not insulated and can be severely injured by hot pavements, frozen sidewalks and ragged surfaces.
4. Flexible cat paws
Cat paws are incredibly flexible. The ability to bend and turn helps felines climb and hunt. One of the reasons cats are so adept at climbing up trees is because their front paws are designed to turn inward in order to sink claws into branches. This helps them maintain stability as well as pull them up and around branches. Although this is handy for climbing up trees, it doesn’t help with the descent. Cats back down trees because their front claws face in the wrong direction for a head-first downward climb. Additionally, front legs and paws are weaker than their more muscular back legs. This is why cats sometimes get stuck up in trees.
5. Cat paws act as shock absorbers
Another job that cat paws excel at is acting as shock and sound absorbers. Paw pads cushion and soften landings when cats jump and when they walk on rough ground. They also help cats move and hunt silently.
6.Cat paws are useful for grooming
Cat paws and fore legs are perfect little grooming tools — helping cats clean those hard-to-reach areas behind ears, under chins, on necks and faces. They accomplish this by first licking their paw several times and then wiping it on those areas that they can’t directly lick. Usually after a few paw swipes, they pause to lick and moisten their paws again and repeat the process. Kittens typically begin grooming with their front paws before they’re 4 weeks old.
7.Cat paws make a cat sweat.
Cats paws help cats sweat. This cooling system helps keep cats from over-heating on hot days. Frightened and stressed cats also sweat from the bottoms of their paws. The next time you take your cat to the veterinarian, watch for her little foot prints on the examining table. Most likely she’s not having a good time.
8. Cats communicate using their paws
One of the many reasons cats scratch objects is to mark their territories and broadcast information about themselves. In addition to the visual evidence, pheromones are deposited on scratched surfaces from scent glands that are located between the paw pads. This scent is packed with information about the scratcher. Even paw pads on the hind feet have scent glands. Cats sometimes scrape areas after they’ve urinated or sprayed.
9.Different cat paw colors
Paw pads come in colors that match the rest of the cat’s color scheme. Cats who sport grey fur usually have grey paw pads. Those who are orange have matching pink little ones. Tuxedo cats often come equipped with black spots on their paw pads. The pigments that make up the fur are the same that colors the skin.