Categories: brainCat Anatomy

Cat Dexterity

I don’t think people think about cat dexterity that much (dexterity: “skill and grace in physical movement, especially in the use of the hands; adroitness.” – The Free Dictionary).

The skills of a cat using paw and eye coordination with finely tuned muscle control are somewhat hidden or played down. But they are there. It’s perhaps that the typical domestic cat often has little in the way of activity to show it off.

In the wild a cat’s dexterity is called upon all the time. It is a matter of life and death. For example, there is the caracal; a stealthy, high jumping cat that silently stalks guinea fowl plucking them out of the air in a great leap and fantastic coordination:

Then there is the serval which also leaps at prey but this time it might be a small mammal in long grass some distance away that the serval hears with its fabulously sensitive hearing. It leaps up and stuns the animal with its front paws as it lands from a height. The hearing acts as a kind of radar and it is very accurate. The serval’s kill rate is high at 50%.

The fishing cat grabs and flips a fish out of the water from the bank of a stream with its paws and claws.

This wildcat dexterity is in all our domestic cats. Here is a really nice video that shows it off. I have not seen this sort of accomplished catching before in a domestic cat. There has been some practice! That seems certain.

SORRY THIS VIDEO HAS BEEN REMOVED AT SOURCE AND THEREFORE DOES NOT WORK HERE….

Our cats can’t grab in this most delicate and efficient of ways without their claws. They are part of the cat. Let’s remember that.

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Cat Dexterity

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Mar 12, 2011 You’re right
by: Leah (England)

I believe that a cats toes are like our fingers (albeit they don’t have thumbs unless you live in that new milk advert!!!)so to cut them off (de-clawing) is to stop them doing all the things that come naturally thus reducing their quality of dramatically.

BTW I love the video of the kitty catching his treats between his paws! How sweet!


Mar 10, 2011 our cat
by: Kathy W

Our cat Quanah has taught himself how to turn the water spicket on on our Pur water filter container. The only thing he cant get right is to keep it on while he drinks from it!!! We have fun watching him try to figure this out.


Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Cats have much more manual dexterity than dogs. It's amazing some of the things they can do. Please don't declaw!!!

    • Thanks for the link. I have added a fresh video. The other one works. Maine Coons are pretty dextrous. Big paws. Smart cats.

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