Anyone who owns a cat will have had their furry friend laid on their knee while they are being stroked. While you are petting your cat, you will probably have look at most parts of their bodies. An interesting feature of the cat’s anatomy is their paws as these are completely different from the paws of most other animals. The padded area to which their claws are attached are often called their toe beans and this is a part of their body that you have probably become accustomed to feeling on your lap when they are padding up and down on you begging for attention and affection. While you will have seen this part of your cat on many occasions, the toe beans are probably something about which you have given little thought to in the past. However, this is actually a very interesting part of their anatomy. Here is all you need to know about toe beans.
Cat’s Walk on Their Tiptoes
The toe beans are an important part of the cat’s body as it is on these that they walk. Humans having a walking action that involves them putting their heels on the floor first followed by the balls of the feet. The toes of a human take very little of the strain when walking. The way in which a cat walks is completely different as they walk on the balls of their feet and tiptoes.
The Claws Don’t Grow from the Toe Beans
Cat claws are very different from human fingernails. While the fingernails and toenails of humans grow from the fleshy pads of skin at the end of their digits, cat’s claws grow from the bones. When humans clip their finger or toenails, it is a simple procedure and the nails soon grow back. Trimming the nails of cat’s is similar. However, declawing a cat is an entirely different process. As the claws grow out of the bones, removing the claws completely means amputating the end of the toe bones. This is the reason many people believe that cat declawing is unnecessary and cruel.
They Help Cats to Survive
One of the reasons that toe beans are so important to a cat is that they act as a shock absorber when they jump and land on their feet. This is particularly important when they jump from a great height. Therefore, the toe beans are a vital aspect of a cat’s survival. Other important purposes of the pads on a cat’s feet include housing the claws when they are not in use and insulating the feet.
They Have Glands Behind Their Toe Beans
Behind the toe beans of every cat are glands. These glands secrete an oil that has a scent only detectable by cats. They use this scent to mark their territory by scratching on posts, furniture, or trees, and secreting the oil to let other cats know that they were there first.
Paw Pads Release Sweat
Humans have sweat glands located in many parts of their bodies. This is not the case for cats as the only place they have sweat glands is in their toe beans. Unlike humans that sweat as a way of controlling their body temperature, the size of a cat’s paws means there is not enough surface area for them to regulate their own temperature in this way. When they are hot, you may notice that they leave sweaty paw prints behind them wherever they go. They may also sweat through their paw pads when they are nervous.
Fur Color and Paw Pad Color Are Related
If you have several cats of different colors, you may have noticed that their paw pads are also different colors. This is because the color of the toe beans is related to the color of a cat’s fur. White cats usually have pale pink paw pads while black cats have dark colored paw pads. Tabby cats will typically have either gray pads or brick red paw pads. Cats that have a patterned coat with several colors will often have paw pads that are also multicolored. In some cases, a purebred cat or a cat with a solid coat color will have paw pads that are the same color as their nose leather.