How Many Toes Does A Cat Have?

Even if you own the feline furball with the cutest expression on the planet, your cat’s toes are still among its most adorable features.

The cute little colorful paw pads, the way they extend into claws, the ah-mazing list of functions these toes serve… all of these things make your cat’s toes fundamental features for its survival. And the cuteness factor is just a big plus.

If you’ve taken the time to examine your pet’s paws carefully, you’ll actually see something else that’s quite curious. Unlike human beings, cats don’t have the same amount of toes on their front and hind legs. Are you wondering why? You’re not the only one! Countless pet parents ask themselves various questions about their kitties’ toes and paws on daily basis.

Today I’ll answer some of the most common questions and give you some interesting cat toe and paw facts.

How many toes do cats have?

Most felines out there won’t have a total of 20 toes on their feet. In fact, they may have more… or even less!

As a general rule most furballs have 18 toes in tots. They have 5 on each front paw and 8 in total on their hind paws.

However, as I said, that’s a general rule and it doesn’t apply to every single kitty out there. Don’t worry if your pet has more or less toes than expected. You shouldn’t love your pet any less for it. Hey, my own cat Gus is missing an eye and that makes him only more lovable. But let’s get back to the paw area.

Felines use their front legs more often for grooming purposes, balance, play time, catching prey and lots of other everyday activities. They need to be able to get a firm grip in any given situation. And that’s when the extra toe on their front paws comes in handy. It’s rather rare for cats to have less than 18 toes, but it’s not uncommon for many kitties to have more.

What if my cat has more than 18 toes?

No worries. It simply means your pet is a Hemingway cat, a.k.a. a polydactyl cat. Polydactyly occurs in humans and other mammals too. Some feline breeds are actually famous for being polydactyl. Take the gigantic Maine Coon or its cousin the Manx for example.

Polydactyl kitties can have more than 4 or 5 toes on one or more of their paws. The condition usually occurs on the front paws, but it can happen on the hind legs as well.

Currently the Guinness World Record for polydactyly in cats is held by a kitty named Jake. Jake impressed everyone with his whopping 28 toes. If your own fluffy pal happens to be like Jake, don’t accept it as an anomaly. Just love your cat the way it is.

Cat toes and paws facts

Do you want to find out more interesting things about your precious furball? Here are some pretty awesome cat paw and toe facts, some of which might just blow your mind.

Cats can be right-handed or left-handed.

Yeap, you read that right! Similarly to us, humans, cats can also have preferences towards the “hand” they use. If you don’t believe me, you can conduct a fun test. Over the course of the next several days try making your kitty catch something. Whether it’s a feathered cat toy, some delicious treats or something else, your cat will probably prefer using its left or right front paw more often than the other one.

Those sweaty palms… I mean paws!

Kitties of all breeds and ages sweat through the bottom of their paw pads. When they’re stressed, annoyed, angry or just over-heating, the cooling system in their cute little paws aids them tremendously.

Cats have flexible toes.

Just like we can twist and turn our fingers, cats can easily twist and turn their extra flexible paws and more specifically – their toes. This helps them whenever they need to grasp at something while climbing, jumping, playing and also hunting. And that’s one of the many reasons as to why felines are so flexible while climbing high and steep surfaces.

Felines walk on the tips of their toes.

Okay, so this fact isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but you’ve probably never paid attention to it before. Digitigrade mammals, such as cats, walk tiptoed. Unlike plantigrade mammals, such as humans, feline furballs use the tips of their toes to walk, run and jump. That’s also why they appear to be creepily silent and majestically graceful even as they’re casually taking a walk.

Do you know any other mind-blowing facts about cat paws and toes that I’ve missed? Why don’t you share them in the comment section down below and surprise me? I’d love to find out what they are!

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Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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