The Power of the Paw
Photo by "Jan Tik"
When I think about the paws of a cat, I’m fascinated by how strong and powerful they are, and yet so delicate at the same time. Your cat can run, at what seems like the speed of light, from one room to the next, and those paws hit the ground with amazing precision and efficiency. Your cat can pounce on a toy and hold it between her paws with a strength that seems impossible for such a small creature. Her paws are also capable of investigating something with the very lightest touch. The paw has the power to be used as a cat’s defense weapon, yet can also be used to tenderly and affectionately touch a companion.
When you engage your cat in playtime you’ve seen how she paws at her toy and traps it. When your cat plays, she also uses her paws to “tell” her whether she has captured something or not. She has carpal whiskers on her forelegs (the position would be similar to our inside wrists) that detect movement. In an actual hunting situation, this would be very valuable in letting her know whether she actually captured her prey and if it’s still moving.
An important part of playtime enjoyment for your cat is the ability to feel the toy in her paws. If you’re using a fishing pole-type toy, you can then gently wiggle the toy to stimulate the cat’s carpal whiskers. This tells kitty’s brain that the game is still on.
Laser toys are very popular because they enable people to sit in one position and move the laser light all over the room. Although it can be lots of fun for the human to watch the cat doing back flips in an attempt to capture the light, it’s actually frustrating if kitty never gets to physically capture and “feel” her prize. When playing with your cat, remember that tactile need during the chase/pounce.
If you’re currently using a laser toy with your cat, you can also incorporate a fishing pole toy. If your cat needs the laser toy to jump-start her playtime motivation, use it initially and then start pointing the light on the target at the end of the fishing pole toy.
When it comes to playtime, we usually are aware of how our cats use sight and sound but let’s also remember that all important sense of touch as well.
Let the games begin!
What’s your cat’s favorite game that uses her paws?