- YOUR CAT’S FRONT PAWS HAVE MORE “TOES” THAN BACK PAWS
If you pay as much attention to your cat’s tootsies as we do, you’ll notice that they have an extra “toe” on their front paws, five on the front, four on the back. These extra claws are called “dewclaws” and are sort of like thumbs. Dewclaws are common on many mammals, reptiles and even birds, but over the centuries they have long since lost their function in most animals, becoming what is known as “vestigial” - or just for show.
However, with cats, the dewclaw is still used for hunting and playing, helping them get that extra grip on their “prey” (in our case, the fluffy flying squirrel toy on a string). This extra claw doesn’t wear down as fast as its fellow claws, and may need to be trimmed down from time to time.
- CAT PAWS WORK LIKE SCOURING PADS
Cats are fussy cleaners, spending on average around 5 hours a day grooming! When a cat cleans their ears, nose, or other hard to reach areas, they first lick a paw, and then rub it over their face repeatedly. Aside from being adorable, this is because their paws actually act like a loofah, scrubbing up when there isn’t another cat around to do it for them.
- THE HAVE SECRET SCENT GLANDS
Cats are mysterious creatures, and prefer to keep their tricks up their sleeves. A good example of this are the secret scent glands that are hidden in the tufts of fur between your cats toes. Whenever a cat kneads your lap, they are actually marking their turf, leaving behind a bespoke mix of pheromones that are undetectable by humans but lets other cats know that this spot is claimed.
- CATS WALK LIKE DINOSAURS
Cats are digitigrades, which means they walk on their tippy toes, much like dinosaurs did, their feet actually extend to the second bend in their leg. This is an evolutionary development that helps them stay quiet when hunting prey or avoiding predators. Other digitigrades include dogs, capybaras, and hippos, which aren’t exactly known for their stealthiness!
- PAWS ABSORB SOUND AND SHOCK
Cats can jump up to seven times their own height, and what’s more, land gracefully too. This is due to their paw pads that lessen the impact and also absorb sound to allow a silent landing. Within these same pads are sensitive nerve receptors that sense vibrations, pressure and textures.