You may have noticed I often use my paws like hands. Abyssinians, and my breed, Somali, are known for that! So do many other breeds, and random domesticated cats. Since you see me using my paws for everything from giving high fives to grabbing onto my human’s treat-holding hand, I thought you’d enjoy learning some facts about cat paws. I’m sure you know some of them, but I hope others surprise you!
- Cat paws are extremely sensitive! They are loaded with nerve receptors that help us navigate through life. Their ability to sense temperature changes and vibrations help us hunt (at least the hunters among us — I’m not known for that ability). This sensitivity also helps us hide when we need to, and balance when that is required. If your cat hates having his paws touched or messed with, now you know why. Just like many people have more sensitive skin than others, so do kitties.
- Cat paws also have scent glands so we can leave our mark when we want to claim territory. When we’re clawing up our cat tree or your sofa, we are leaving both visual and olfactory marks. When I’m outside not long after neighbor cats have been visiting my patio, I often check for the scents they’ve left with their paws.
- Cat paws are extremely flexible! In fact, if human digits were as short as cat paw pads, I bet they would be less flexible than our paws. That’s why some of us kitties are so handy… because we can do it!
- Can you guess what the palm part of a cat’s front paws are called? It’s the metacarpal pad! The same pad on our back paws is called the metatarsal. You humans have a metatarsal too. It’s the ball of your foot.
- Cat paws act as shock absorbers, and they come in very handy when we are landing after a good jump. Plus they help us make those landings quiet.
- I’ve mentioned this before, but cats sweat through their paws. Just like with human sweat, it’s our most important cooling system. We also sweat through our paws when we are frightened and stressed out.
- Cats can get arthritis in our paws, just like humans do in their hands. So it’s important to keep an eye on any changes in your cat’s gait as she ages, to see if this is a problem that you might need to discuss with your veterinarian.
So what did you think? Are some of these facts new to you? Let me know in the comments.
Other posts you’ll enjoy:
- 5 Fast Facts About the Origins of Caturday
- Facts About Cats… By a Cat
- Four Surprising Facts About Humans – for Cats