There are so many curious features of felines — the expressive ears, sandpaper-like tongue, twitchy tails with seemingly separate minds.
Although, if you could ask them which is their most precious feature, they would likely tell you the real magic is all in the paws.
Cats can be left- or right-pawed, and those little tufts of fur between the toe pads actually serve several uses.
Come and explore the hidden workings of cat paws in these 9 weird and wonderful cat paw facts from Pet Pattern. You will never look at them the same way again!
#1. They Send “Digital“ Messages.
Okay, sort of.
Between their toes, they have scent glands that emit "interdigital semiochemicals."
The scent they leave behind is unique to each, and it’s basically a way of claiming its turf with “scent graffiti.”
So, if your cat kneads at you, they aren't trying to give you a massage — they are claiming you for their own.
#2. Cats Were The First To Wear “Sneakers.”
Cat paw pads have an incredibly soft texture that is like fine leather. But, it’s what’s inside these “jellybeans” (as some affectionately call the pads) that allows felines to sneak up on their prey.
Paw pads contain a gel-like fatty tissue that rivals the padding found on the best running sneakers (or “trainers,” in the case of British cats).
#3. Cats Walk On Their Tiptoes.
Part of what makes them so stealthy and such effective predators is that they walk on their tiptoes.
The metacarpal (the largest pad) and carpal pads are used almost exclusively for jumping and landing.
#4. Not All Felines Can Retract Their Claws.
The ability to retract their claws comes in handy, and if you’ve ever experienced a cat getting its claws stuck in a sweater or piece of clothing then it’s easy to see why.
Here’s a fun fact: All feline species can retract their claws, except for the cheetah. Having claws that are permanently extended helps cheetahs to really dig in and gain some traction while they are chasing prey.
For the record, the typical house cat can usually reach a top speed of 30 miles per hour, which is fast, but nothing compared to a cheetah’s blazing-fast, 75-mile-per-hour sprints.
#5. There Are Some “Southpaw” Cats, Too.
In a recent study out of Queen’s University in Belfast, researchers found that 75% actually display "lateral bias," a term used to describe species that have a preference for using a particular side of their hands or paws.
#6. Cat Paws Get Sweaty.
Humans perspire from our heads, arms, hands, feet, and especially arm pits. Curiously, felines only sweat from one location — their paws.
Sweating helps them to regulate their body temperature and these sweat droplets also help them leave a scent trail, making it easy to find their way home.
They have 40 times the number of odor-sensing cells in their nostrils, which may explain why they are always turning up their noses at their human companions — they most likely find our body odor to be quite potent!
#7. Cats Are Hyper-Protective Of Their Paws.
Cats are instinctively protective of their paws. After all, their claws are their primary means of personal protection.
You can test this theory yourself by touching a cat's paw while it's asleep (we recommend testing this on a friendly house cat, not a lynx, lion, or other big cat).
Don't be surprised if you notice your cat gives your hand a little nibble as a warning.
They really do not like having their paws held, as this makes them feel susceptible to potential predators.
#8. Cats Have A Great Deal Of Feeling In Their Paws.
Cats have a heightened sense of touch in their paws. Felines use their paw pads to test their footing on various surfaces.
Some animal biologists even hypothesize that they can sense vibrations in their nerve receptors, which could alert them to predators and prey alike.
#9. Those Between-toe Fur Tufts Are More Useful Than You Think.
Yes, kitty paws, with the little tufts of fur between the jellybean-like toes always makes for great Instagram photos. But, it turns out the fur trim between the toe beans serve several purposes.
For one, these little tufts act as a sort of luffa, helping them clean those “hard-to-lick” areas. Toe tufts also help them traverse areas with snow and ice.
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How Has Touching Your Cat's Paw Gone For You?
We would love to hear if you managed to successfully test how protective your
furry friend is of their paws in the comments section below!