Aren’t your cat’s paws just too cute for words? Do you also find yourself playing with the underside of her feet, because you just can’t resist touching them? You might think twice about touching her paws when you read these facts about them. Your cat might enjoy the attention, but if she doesn’t like your touch, respect it and leave her paws alone.
- Right or left?
Cats can be left- or right-pawed, just like humans. Whereas the gender doesn’t play a role in humans, it has been observed that male cats tend to be more right-pawed, and females more left-pawed. Test the theory on your cat while playing with her. Which paw does she use most often?
- No reflexology, please
Your cat’s paws are extremely sensitive with large amounts of nerve receptors. Her paws have various functions, from feeling vibrations to temperature, and textures to pressure, and that is why she most probably doesn’t like them being touched.
- Marking territory
Cats use their paws to scratch objects and thereby mark their territory. This action, which releases pheromones from scent glands in the paws, also communicates certain message to other cats.
- Retractable claws
Isn’t it just amazing how your cat can retract her claws? Until you irritate her, of course, and then she uses them to get out of a situation. With her claws safely in the sheaths she can walk around the house without you hearing her, but she needs her claws to jump and climb.
Cats, just like dinosaurs, walk on their toes. This allows her to be faster than when walking on her actual feet. And it is another reason why your cat treads silently around the house.
- Grooming equipment
Ever noticed how cats prefer to be clean? They use their paws to groom themselves. First they lick their paw, and then clean the ears, face and nose – rubbing each area, in between licking their paws. This is her built-in grooming device.
- Shock absorbers
Your cat’s paws are truly multi-functional. They also act as shock absorbers and help cats to have a soft landing. No wonder she looks so elegant when landing.
- Flexible paws
Those paws are even able to bend and turn inwards. Just watch your cat’s paws next time she climbs a tree or scratches her post, and also when she grooms herself – see how flexible they are.
- Sweat glands
Cats sweat through the glands in their paws to keep them cool on a hot day. But when your cat stresses, she might also sweat through her paws and you might be able to see her little paw prints on surfaces where she walks.
- Regular checks
Hopefully, your cat will trust you enough to allow you to regularly check her paws. Just think about it for a moment: if your cat’s paw hurts, she’ll struggle to walk. With all those nerve endings in her paws, it can be very painful. Check the paw pads for possible foreign objects, cracks, redness, scrapes or bleeding. Also check for bumps, hidden dirt and swelling.
You can treat her paws with a soft, relaxing massage (if she enjoys her paws being touched) and a special treatment to prevent cracking.
- Swelling is a sign
When one of your cat’s paws are swollen, check the other paws to ensure that it is only the one paw. Also check if the paw is warm to the touch, if there is a discharge somewhere, or whether there is an ingrown toenail. It is important to note and write this information down, as you will have to inform the vet to assist him in his diagnosis.
If you see a foreign object and it is possible, gently remove it. Take her to the vet immediately to ensure that there is no possible infection. There are many possible reasons why your cat’s paw can get swollen and it is better if the vet has a look at it.