Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let's Pause for the Cat's Paw!

Hide and seek pic from
So, what do you know about your cat’s paws other than they are cute and adorable when the razor-sharp claws are not extended and shredding your furniture?

Chances are you never really studied how your cat walks across the room; perhaps mistakenly thought your cat walks the same way you do?  Unlike humans, our cat’s paws were created to help her be the best carnivore predator that she can be.  Cute or not, chances are you may not really know that much about your cat’s paws; so, let's paws for a moment and talk about these remarkable bits of cat anatomy! 

The Walk

Humans tend to walk, heal to toe.  Our cats are considered to be digitigrade walkers—this means cats stands and walks on their digits, or toes.  The small size of her paws of her paw pads makes it easy for her silently stalk her prey through all types of terrains.

Show Me Your Paws

A cat's paw pads are composed of thick skin, connective tissue and fat. Countless nerves within the pads detect variations in the texture and temperature of surfaces and objects. When encountering a strange object, a cat usually touches it with a paw before deciding on a course of action. I know you've seen yours do this many times. The skin is rough and thick, generally about 1/20 inch, and provides a tough surface for protection when walking and a firm grip on slippery surfaces. It creates a noiseless tread when a cat is stalking prey.

You can test to see how sensitive your cat is to touch by gently ticking your cat’s paw pad while she sleeps—guaranteed you’ll get some sort of response from of your sleeping kitty if you tickle her pads!  Remember, to move fast if she's irritate by your "test."

Leave Cat Card On The Table

 Cats are able to announce their presence without even being in the room.  How?  Well, cats have small glands that are tucked between their paw pads that secretes an oil scent that only another cat can smell—kind of like a cat only “calling card.”  So when your cat is scratching your furniture or window curtains, just think, she is not only filing her nails, but she is also leaving some of her scent behind!  Oh yea!

Tiny Little Paw Prints

Have you ever noticed that when you and your kitty are waiting to see the vet, the bottom of your cat’s paws become a little moist?  That is because your cat has tiny sweat glands on her paw pad.  Needless to say, those paws get real moist when the vet walks into the room with a vaccination needle in hand—those little anxious paw glands go into overdrive as they help keep the cat’s body temperature balanced!

A Rainbow of Paw Colors!

Paw Picture from Way of Cats Blog
Look carefully at the pigment of your cat’s fur and skin—are they the same color of your cat’s paw pads?  For the most part, they should be the same color—black cats have black pads, grey cats have a sort of grayish colored pads, orange cats have orange pads, and for the multi-colored cats—well, heck anything goes plus all four pads may not be the same color!

 Right?  Left?  Or Both? 
Fabulous Pet House Blog
Is your cat a south paw or a righty paw? Cats tend to have “paw dominance” somewhat akin to the right- and left- handedness found in humans. In one study, researchers observed right front paw usage was observed in 20 percent of the cats while another 40 percent favored the left side. The remaining 40 percent were ambidextrous (adept in the use of both left and right paw). 

 Reminder:  Tootsie Care!

The ASPCA recommends examining your cat's feet regularly for debris and injury. In hot and cold weather, your cat's paws may need to be moisturized, as the skin can dry out and crack, which can lead to pain and infection. I n some long-haired cats, hair growing between the toes can be irritating, so you may want to keep this hair trimmed for your cat’s comfort!

We hope you learned something new about your cat’s paw.  If you are an expert in your cat’s paw, then perhaps you can answer the following question (silently and to yourself please):

What is a toe tuft?  And how many toes does your cat have?  Hmmm….Thinking….  Thinking…. 

The answers are at the bottom of this posting!
We now paws for a commercial announcement...

 Pumpkins Bash Fun!

In just 4 days we will be hosting our Fall Festive & Pumpkin Bash--and you are invited! Our Fall Festival will be held on October 28th from 11:00am - 4:00pm at In-Sync Exotics. This is another fabulous In-Sync Exotics special event as our cats just LOVE to play with their pumpkins; your kids (the human kind) will enjoy great games & prizes, get lost in a maze; have their faces painted; bounce around in the bounce house; participate in our raffle; and much, much more!

 To share this information with your friends, family, and co-workers, we have created a printable flier; all you have to do is click HERE to see and print our beautiful flier! 
Okay, commercial over!  Here are the answers to our two questions!  According to Wikipedia:

Toe tufts are commonly found on cats with medium to long coats. Clumps of fur that stick out at least 1-2cm beyond the paw pad can be considered tufts. In addition to soft paw pads, toe tufts help a cat to silently stalk its prey by muffling excess noise. However, outdoor cats tend to lose their toe tufts due to excessive abrasion on the rougher outdoor surfaces. This is in stark contrast to indoor cats who spend most of their time walking on carpet or smooth floors.

Although toe tufts do not cause additional hairballs in cats, it does make some aspects of hygiene a bit more difficult. For example, cat litter, dirt and other particulates may stick to toe tufts and cause the cat some discomfort. Therefore, a cat with extra-long toe tufts should be checked regularly for tangles and taken in for grooming.

Cats have five toes on their forefeet and four on their hind feet, reflecting their reliance on gripping and holding down their prey with their claws.  Whew!  We learned a lot about cat paws today!

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends of In-Sync Exotics! Don't forget to let us know your reaction to this posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below--and share this blog posting with others please ~ Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I want to point a couple of things out:

    Cats scratch at things in part to shed their old claws, which sit like a sheath over the new (and sharper!) claw. This also helps them stretch their shoulders and legs.

    Declawing a cat is not done by simply removing the nail bed as commonly thought. It's done by amputation of part of the toe. Not only is this painful to the cat, it can cause some muscle atrophy because they can't stretch as well as before (see above).

    If your pet is clawing you (and I have a kitten who comfort nurses on my neck, so I understand!), your carpet, or your furniture, you can buy plastic sheaths to put over your cats claws. Trim the claws (carefully! Do not cut the quick as it will both be unnecessarily painful to the cat, and will also bleed), gently extend the claw, put some superglue in the cap, and slip it over the nail. I've had them stay on 2 to 6 weeks. I've seen them marketed as Kitty Caps ( which I've bought from PetSmart and Soft Claws ( . They come in multiple sizes and multiple colors (or clear, if that's what you prefer). I have successfully put them on a cooperative cat by myself, although for aforementioned kitten, I need help because she's squirmy. They will fall off naturally as the claw grows. This is also good for a cat who compulsively scratches him/herself (but it's probably prudent to have the cat checked for fleas, allergies or some kind of skin condition). I would not put them on a cat who goes outside, though (but *generally* speaking I don't particularly approve of cats being outside).

    I have, (one time in over twenty years of cat ownership), seen ONE cat whose claw grew all the way around and into her paw pad (once). I felt dreadful, and I know it was sore, but I cut the side of the nail one day (and then she wouldn't let me touch her foot the rest of the day) and the other side of the nail the other day, and by the third day it had fallen off and her pad was healing. If such a condition is really severe, it may require surgery (hers was a comparatively superficial wound, but I'm sure it hurt).

    I thought toe tufts were to act like snowshoes! :P Shows what I know.