Categories: paws

Hairless cat has duck’s feet

Picture of cat showing webbed feet. Photo in public domain.

Some time ago I wrote about the webbed feet of domestic cats. In that article I published another photograph of a hairless cat. The hairlessness allows us to see the anatomy of the paws more clearly. This photograph is even better because this Sphynx cat is stretching her paws towards the camera. This brings into stark relief the huge amount of webbing between the toes. It makes you wonder whether the hairless cat breeds have more webbing between the toes then your standard domestic cat. This may be true, but in any case all domestic cats have webbed feet. In this instance I am reminded of a duck’s feet. Why do domestic cats have webbed feet? There can only be one reasonable answer which is that it is an anatomical feature inherited from their wild ancestor the Near Eastern wildcat. This species are wildcat lives in a wide range of habitats including arid areas but also habitats including watercourses where they no doubt have to swim both to catch prey and to avoid predators. Of course you have to believe in the theory of evolution to accept this reason but most people do nowadays.

P.S. The paw pads are also more visible. They are very raised from the surface of the paw. Paw pads are normally pigmented and dark but here we have skin coloured pads.

Picture of Sphynx cat shows a lot of skin between arm and body

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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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