Everything You Need To Know About Your Cat’s Paws

Those toe beans are the cutest 🥺

cat paws

Your cat’s precious little toe beans are your favorite part of his teeny feet. They really add a whole new level of appreciation to his perfect paws.

But what’s the deal with cat paws (aside from the obvious)?

There’s actually so much more to your BFF’s adorable feet than just walking, batting, swatting and grooming, according to Ashley Callihan, a licensed veterinary nurse with DodoVet.

What do cat paws do?

Cat paws are obviously what your bestie walks on, but they’re also useful for so many other things, depending on which part you’re talking about. Let’s break it down:


Believe it or not, this is actually THE part of the foot your cat uses for walking, and not the pads of his feet.

“Cats walk on their tip toes, much like dinosaurs,” Callihan told The Dodo.

Walking on his toes makes your cat quieter and allows him to take longer strides — two things that would’ve been useful to his ancestors while they were hunting.


Your cat’s claws are multifunctional. The curve and sharpness are great for climbing, hunting and defending himself from perceived threats.

Paw pads

Paw pads are helpful for so many things.

They’re used to regulate body temperature and absorb shock so your cat doesn’t hurt himself when he jumps down from his favorite high-up perch.

They also help your cat sense vibrations around him, which can come in pretty handy.

“The paw pads help detect vibration in the environment, which makes it easier for cats to find prey and avoid predators,” Callihan said.

(Fun fact: They also contain scent glands, according to Callihan.)

How to take care of your cat’s paws

Taking care of your cat’s paws is super easy for the most part.

Healthy cat paws have soft and smooth pads and don’t have any crustiness. There are a few things you need to do to keep your BFF’s toe beans this way:

Keep an eye on them

Whether your cat’s hanging out at home or exploring outside, you’ll want to watch out for signs that he hurt his paws or stepped on something painful.

“Cats can step on sharp objects, surfaces of varying temperatures, and even salt during the winter,” Callihan said. “It’s important to look and make sure they don’t have any scrapes, cuts or something stuck in or in between the paw pads.”

Wipe them down

A little wipedown can go a long way.

“Cleaning your cat’s paws with a wet rag is also a good idea, especially if they go outside,” Callihan said. “Cats groom themselves regularly, and we don’t want them to ingest anything that could be potentially harmful.”

Trim his nails

To be perfectly clear, we aren’t talking about declawing (which you should NEVER do). However, regular monthly nail trimming is actually an important part of keeping those paws in tip-top shape.

“Without nail trims, the nails can grow too long and cut into the paw pads, leading to pain and even infection,” Callihan said.

Manage excessive hair

If your cat has a lot of hair, particularly between his toes, you might want to consider a little grooming.

“If your cat has long hair, [trimming] the hair between the paw pads helps to prevent debris from getting stuck and causing infection or irritation,” Callihan said.

So there you have it! A complete guide about what cat paws do and how to take care of them so you know exactly what to do to keep those perfect little beans nice and healthy.

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