The Omlet Blog

7 things you didn’t know about cat paws

Close-up of white cat paws on Omlet Stak cat scratcher

Have you ever carefully looked at your cat’s paws? They’re so soft and adorable, aren’t they? We know that cats use their paws to get around and hunt. But have you ever wondered if there’s more to the furry feet of your feline friend?

From communication, to grooming, to temperature regulators, cat paws actually have many interesting and important uses. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of cat paws and you’ll soon see that your feline’s feet are not only adorable, but they’re also pretty amazing!

1. Cat paws are super shock absorbers

We’ve all heard the saying that cats always land on their feet. And while they are graceful jumpers, the paws they land on do more than just steady their body. The pads on a cat’s paws are actually mini shock absorbers. A soft cushioning of skin surrounds the bottom of your cat’s feet, allowing them to land softer and silently. This is one of the reasons why cats are such good hunters – their prey never hears them coming.

Giving your cat the ability to utilize these tiny shock absorbers aids in their development and natural ability to climb, jump, scratch and play. The Freestyle Indoor Cat Tree is a great cat climbing tower for your cat to exercise their natural abilities and pounce away on their soft, silent paws.

2. Cat paws have more in the front, less in the back

‘Hemmingway cats’ are famously known for having one extra toe than that of other cat breeds. But did you know that ALL cats have more toes on their front paws than on their back paws? With the exception of the unique American Polydactyl breed (aka Hemmingway cats), all cats have 5 toes on their front feet and only 4 on their hind.

The extra toes on each front paw are actually called “dew claws”, which are kind of like thumbs for kitty paws. These extra toes can aid in a cat’s natural hunting ability, however, because they’re located higher up on the paw, they don’t wear down as fast as the others. So make sure your cat has a sturdy and durable cat scratcher to help manicure all their claws.

3. Cat paws are sensor communicators

What if your cat could know you were walking in the room before they saw you? Well, they actually can! Cat paws are covered in tiny little nerve receptors that act as a sensing communication hub for your cat. These small sensory receptors can feel the smallest of vibrations or pressures emanating from the ground and, in turn, alert your cat to surrounding movement. In the wild, this 6th sense is super beneficial to help cats keep away from predators or danger. But as our domesticated feline friends, it’s really just a good signal that it’s time to curl up with a cosy cat blanket and you, their favourite human.

4. Cat paws are temperature regulators

As humans, we regulate our body temperatures through the numerous sweat glands all over our bodies. But have you ever thought about how a cat can cool down? Our feline friends are covered in fur so where exactly are their sweat glands? You guessed it – on their paws. Cats have small sweat glands on the pads of their paws that work to help cool them down naturally on hot and humid days.

While these glands are good at helping to cool off, it’s still important to make sure your cat always has enough water and shade on hot days to aid with temperature control. And if your cat is an indoor cat that spends some time outside, make sure you have a safe outdoor cat enclosure for them to enjoy their outdoor playtime in. You can even add Omlet Catio covers on top to provide shade and protection from inclement weather.

5. Cat paws have color

Bet you didn’t know it, but cats are the original true fashionistas. That’s right! The colour of a cat’s paw pad actually matches the colour of their fur or nose. For example, ginger-coloured cats have pinkish-coloured paw pads, black cats have black-coloured paw pads and tuxedo cats have a mix of white and black-coloured paw pads. Interestingly, multi-coloured cats like the Calico, usually have multi-coloured paw pads as well. Have you checked the colour of your kitty’s paws yet?

6. Cat paws are built-in groomers

One thing cats are very good at is personal hygiene. If you’ve ever watched a cat groom themself, you have seen them use their paws as tiny scrubbers to clean around their face and ears. Most cats will first lick their paws to activate the rough pads with moisture and then they will gently rub their paws over their eyes, nose or ears in a circular motion to get everything clean. The Freestyle Cat Tree Accessories, like the cushioned cat tree step or cat tree hammock, make great grooming spots for your cat to clean themselves with comfort and ease.

While cats can take care of their personal hygiene, they may need some assistance with their claws if they remain indoors most of the time. Did you know that cat’s claws continue to grow throughout their life just like humans? For cats that spend their lives predominantly outside, these claws are kept short by natural behaviours, such as scratching trees and rough surfaces. So, for your indoor cat, be sure they have a strong and durable indoor cat scratcher or, better yet, opt for an outdoor cat enclosure so they can act out their innate instincts safely. 

7. Cats have a dominant paw

Are you a righty or a lefty? While this is a common question to ask of humans, it can actually be a good question to ask your cat as well. It may come as a surprise, but cats do have a dominant paw just as we humans have a dominant hand. There has been lots of research conducted to try and see if there is a rhyme or reason to why certain cats prefer one paw over the other, but nothing conclusive has been determined.

So how do you know which paw is your cat’s dominant paw? Try this test. Get one of their favourite cat toys and put it in a hard-to-reach place from your cat. Each time your cat tries to swat, scratch or grab the toy, pay close attention to which paw they use first. Most likely that’s your cat’s dominant paw.

Take care of your cat with Omlet

At Omlet, we let the curiosity and the natural instincts of cats guide us in our creation of new cat products. We are constantly questioning how and what cats would want and answering those questions with something that your cat will love. When it comes to cat paws, we offer a wide range of products that appeal to the specific behaviours and needs of your feline friend and their feet. We invite you to explore our cat trees, Catios, cat beds and more so you can better watch your cat explore their surroundings with fun, adventure and comfort!

Close up of cat paws scratching on Omlet Stak Cat Scratcher

This entry was posted in Cats

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