Newsday Tuesday – Pause for the Paws

 If you’re like me you love a cat’s cute little paws. Never mind where those paws have been—scratching around in the litter box, for example. Paws are cute and soft and they’re also very sensitive. Most cats don’t like to have their paws touched. My Himalayan, Katy, however, loved it when I gently petted her large, furry paws. Those were special moments. I felt it was Katy trusting me—a gesture of trust.

A cat’s paws are quite interesting, actually. They have many jobs—some of them you’re keenly aware of. As I mentioned, a cat’s paws are used for digging. A cat washes her face with her paws. She plays, pounces, claws, grabs, and even soothes another animal or her human with a paw.  A cat’s paws are a cooling mechanism for the cat when overheated. They are used to communicate. We’ve all seen cats pawing or clawing on a person, another animal, or an object to get their attention. Cats also use their paws to mark their territory—by kneading on you or the sofa or their cat tree…

A cat’s paws are made for action and activity. If you were to watch a close up of the workings of a cat’s paws when he leaps, walks, or runs, you’d see those cute little paws performing extra duty as shock absorbers as well as climbing and sprinting tools.

Did you know that cats also have a dominant paw? Watch the next time your cat reaches for something or lashes out with his paw toward another cat. You’ll probably notice that he leads with the same paw most of the time. Now that will keep you busy today watching to see which paw your cat uses to get your attention, reach for a toy, bat at the cookie you’re eating, slap at another cat, or claw your favorite chair.

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