There is no shortage of cat-themed superheroes but did you know that your cats paws already perform a myriad of amazing abilities?
While it is true, a cat’s claws and paws are often the center of cat-owning nightmares. Whether it’s the destruction of furniture or painful scratches, these needlessly overshadow the cool things they do for your feline.
It’s in knowing these things that make declawing a truly horrendous practice and should never be an option (less intrusive alternatives exist anyway). That said, what exactly are the incredible feats that cat’s claws are known (besides ruining entire sofas).
- Claws and scent glands go hand-in-hand.
Clawing is one primary reason why your cat can mark its territory without peeing on it (no offense to dog owners). A cat’s scent glands are located right at the bottom of their paws and the scent is left on anything they scratch. Scents are a big deal because that is one of the more solid ways a cat can recognize you as a friend. The more it has its own scent around, the more at home it is going to feel.
It also shows that scratching is a single activity that serves two purposes. It lets a cat know where its home is (and who it shares it with) while also keeping their claws razor sharp to perform all kinds of feats.
- A claw’s single shape belies its multiple uses.
The curved shape of a cat’s claws are often feared for the pain they inflict but they are used for so much more. It allows them to perform a swift kill on any pests they find (a handy trait that many cat owners can benefit from). It allows their paws to stay hooked onto prey like mice and ensures that any wriggling just kills the rodent faster once it’s been grabbed.
Alternatively, it also allows cats to hook themselves on rough surfaces like trees. If you have an outdoor cat and it loves to climb, then the claws will be the only lifeline it has. Declawing cuts that lifeline and you wouldn’t want that!
- Paw pads serve to give cat an extrasensory edge.
This is why cats generally don’t like their pads touched. Each pad contains a large concentration of nerve receptors. That means their paws can give them a sense of things that not even our own human hands and feet can easily detect.
Some of these include vibrations on the ground, the temperature of a surface and even the liveliness of items or prey being grasped. It can explain why cats have a really extraordinary sense of balance and an uncanny instinct for sensing other creatures.
- Claws and paws are engineered for stealth.
When you really look at it, a cat’s claw is an incredible example of nature’s engineering. The clawed feet of lizards and dinosaurs may look more intimidating at first glance but these claws make too much noise when they walk! In contrast, a cat’s claws retract to a point that only their pads touch the surface.
The cushioning effect of the pads plus a cat’s natural tendency towards balance really cancels out any noise their footfalls will make. It really augments their inclinations as stealthy predators and could explain why your cat doesn’t make any noise outside its occasional meowing.
So as you can see, the power in a cat’s claws and paws is a vital part of their biology and their being. Don’t underestimate them or damage them! They are a gift to your cat as your cat is a gift to you.