Those adorable wee paws we all hope will brush against our arm for attention. Oh when I say “we all”, maybe I just mean “me”? And maybe you don’t take pictures of your cats from your shower view? But anyway.. how much do we truly know about those fascinating little feet our kitties use to communicate with us through?
Well if you have spent much time with a cat, you know that they have retractable claws on all four paws. These claws are used for hunting, climbing, and self-defense-all which would be survival needs for a kitty in the wild. If their claws were not retractable, it would be difficult for them to walk around normally. For more information about claws, see a previous post found here: The Nightmare of the “D” Word
If you are reading this blog, I assume you probably knew cats have retractable claws. But did you know that cats, like humans, actually show dominance on one side of their body? Most cats have a preferred paw to swat/grab with. Test this theory by placing toys or treats in places where your cat has to reach for them. I am not saying it will be accurate every time, but you may be on your way to learning which paw your kitty favors!
Ever notice your cat jumping from the highest point of the countertop and sounding as if a pin dropped many miles away? Those paw pads soften their landing and play a part in sound absorbing. However, your furry friend, whether cat or dog, has sensitive paw pads. The pads are strong but are susceptible to temperature, pressure, and pain.
And speaking of temperature, did you know the only place cats may sweat is through their paw pads? On a hot day, you may see scant sweaty paw prints on your hardwood floor. Dogs can create similar prints. However, you may be much more likely to notice they are hot or overheated from their panting, red gums, saliva, etc. Sweaty paws could also mean anxiety and stress. If your dog or cat does appear to be getting overheated, be sure they have access to cool water and a shaded or indoor area to rest.
When your cat jumps from a high point and lands on their durable paw pads, they are not typically landing on their additional carpal pad. This pad is higher up on the front legs of cats and dogs. It is not often noticed in your furry friend’s prints, as it typically does not touch the ground. In fact, many pet parents will find these “bumps” after having their kitty for a while and may start to panic thinking an unseasoned lump has grown. However, these little pads are nothing to worry about unless they are causing problems for your kitty. In fact, these pads are known to be an insurance policy for cats and are used as an anti-skid tactic when necessary.
See an example on Cappy Mill’s leg below:
And then there are polydactyl cats. Polydactyl-sounds like an exotic, fascinating dinosaur. But no, even better, these are cats with extra toe(s), typically one extra on each front paw! Some people refer to these cats as Hemingway Cats, as Ernest Hemingway was known as one of the first people to take in a polydactyl cat and was quite fascinated with these creatures. Fun fact-his home in Key West is still ruled by 40-50 of these awesome kitties. (You can read more about it and plan your next vacation, or use his home as a wedding venue: here.) Interesting, huh?
I could talk about this captivating subject all day but I think my boys would appreciate some string toy time. Catch you all next time and thank you for stopping by!