Everything you need to know about your cat’s paws

Growing up in Africa a big part of my childhood was spent in and around the bush, and many were the times that we pretended to be tracking animals and many, many times we would come across the paw prints of both dogs and cats, and we became rather expert at telling the difference. The main differences being that dog paw prints usually show evidence of claws, as they cannot retract their claws, we didn’t think of it in those terms as kids but just that dog prints usually showed claws, also the paw pads themselves are slightly different in both species.

Have you ever stopped, had a look and taken in your cats paws? If you spent a few minutes examining them you would find that they are interestingly versatile and functional. Not only are they used for hunting, grooming and environmental sensors they can also play a part in regulating body temperature! Keep reading to learn more interesting facts about your cat’s paws.

  1. Extra toes

If you look closely at your cats paws you will see that they have an extra toe on their front paws. The extra toes are called ‘declaws’ and there purpose is similar to a humans thumb.

  1. Tiptoes

Cats are classed as ‘Digitigrade’ which means that they walk around on their tiptoes. This has multiple benefits including boosting speed and lengthening their stride whilst hunting as well as making their movements quieter.

  1. Flexibility

Who would have thought that a cat’s paw could be so flexible! Having flexible paws can assist your cat in hunting and climbing as they are designed to turn inward when climbing so that they can sink their claws into branches.

  1. Sweat glands

Did you know that your cat does majority of its sweating through its paws?  These are designed to help keep their body temperature regulated but it is also important to note that when a cat is stressed or anxious they will sweat through their paws (keep this in mind next time you see those little wet paw prints!) Cat’s paws also have glands between their toes that release a unique scent which they use as a way to mark their territory.

  1. Colour coordination

Generally the colours of your cat’s paw pads match the rest of your cat’s colour scheme, whether it’s their fur colour or sometimes even their nose! This is because the pigments that make up the fur are the same that colours their skin.