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6 Fun Facts about Your Cat's Paws

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Did you know that your cat's paws are the most sensitive part of her body? Even though we don't give much thought to a cat's paws, they are highly specialized, finely tuned organs. Next time she takes a nap, take a closer look at those paws.

Read on to learn 6 fun facts about your cat's paws.

They allow your cat to walk on tiptoes.

For maximum speed and flexibility, cats always walk on their tiptoes. The scientific term for this is "digitigrade," meaning an animal who walks on its digits (toes). Their toes are mostly in contact with the ground, but their soles do not touch the ground. 

Also, walking on tiptoe allows your cat to move quietly, walk with a long stride, and leap forward easily to attack prey.

They keep your kitty cool.

Surprisingly, cats can actually sweat from their paws. If your kitty begins to overheat, she may release excess water from her paws. Cats may also sweat from their paws if they feel stressed or afraid. This draws heat out of the body through evaporation (and may also leave cute little paw prints on your rug)!

They help your cat communicate with other cats.

Each paw pad contains specialized scent glands contains pheromones, which are chemicals that affect the behaviour of a certain species. How does your cat communicate with pheromones?

That's simple! It simply scratches a surface or object with its paw, releasing pheromones onto the surface. This provides an easy-to-read "message" for any other cats that sniff it out. With pheromones, a cat can signal that some objects or people are "safe." It can also mark personal territory.

Cats are either "right-pawed" or "left-pawed."

Just as humans have a dominant hand, cats have a dominant front paw. This paw will be the one they use most often for difficult tasks. Male cats tend to have dominant right paws, while females tend to have dominant left paws. 

If you're wondering which paw your cat prefers, give him a new, challenging task. Watch which paw seems to "go first" in the problem-solving process.

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They are extremely flexible.

The front paws are so flexible that they will actually turn inward to help climb trees. A cat's paws can also bend and twist to catch elusive mice.

However, those front paws are too weak to support climbing down head-first. That's why a kitty will sometimes climb up a tree and then wait for a kind soul to rescue them.

They are highly sensitive to vibrations.

Because each paw pad has a high concentration of nerve endings, your cat's paws are very sensitive. Each paw provides detailed information to your cat's brain about temperature, texture, and vibrations. They help your cat "hear" approaching prey and enemies so she can respond quickly. For feral cats, paws play an important role in hunting their dinner.

Let's Chat:

Which of these fun facts was new to you? Have you ever taken a closer look at your kitty's paws? Tell us in the comments!

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