13

Our Pawsome Paws

Problems With Your Cat's Paws: Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

Every once in a while, we like to try to educate our human readers. Today we are sharing some fun facts about our paws. We use them for walking, running, jumping, self-defense, and hunting. We have five toes on the front paws and four on the the back paws. (The extra toe in front functions as a sort of gripper or “thumb.”) They’re the most sensitive part of our bodies, but also the strongest.

Our paws may not be able to open tuna cans, but they are truly amazing. Check out all the things we can do with our furry little feet:

So Your Cat Thinks He's a Tiger - Catwatch Newsletter

Feel Sensations from the Ground

We have a huge number of nerve receptors in our paws. (Tickle them at your own peril!) These nerve receptors help us with our incredible balance. They also help us feel the ground for vibrations and gravity. Excellent aids for tracking prey. We use our paws to test temperature and the safety of a surface.

What Movement and Gait Tell You About Your Cat | Fear Free Happy Homes

Walk on our Toes

We are never caught flat-footed because we always walk on our toes. (That’s called digitigrade.) It keeps us extra-quiet when we move and lets us move faster when we choose. Very useful when pouncing and hunting.

Why Does My Cat Wave Its Paw at Me and Other Funny Cat Habits Explained •  IttyKitty.com

Dominant Front Paw

Know how you humans are usually left-handed or right-handed? Same for us. Almost all cats are either left-pawed or right-pawed. (Some studies show that males are right-pawed, while females are left-pawed.)

Fur Laughs: 7 Cats Who Tried To Make A Jump But Didn't Even Come Close  [VIDEOS] - CatTime

Built-In Shock Absorbers

Our paws are what let us land safely from high jumps. They also help us walk on rocks, weeds, and other rough stuff. They help us walk quietly so we can sneak up on prey (and humans). We don’t like to use them too roughly though, because of all of those nerve endings.

Hot Weather Precautions — Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon

Built-In Climate Control

We prefer to stay cool. But if we get out in the heat or are stressed, we can sweat through our paws. If you notice a trail of sweaty paw prints, please help us cool/calm down.

Why Do Cats Scratch? | CLAWGUARD

Communication Tools

We have scent glands between our paw pads that are activated when we scratch things. That way, we can let other kitties (and lesser creatures) know that we have been there. We also have scent glands on the pads of our rear paws that help spread the word.

Paw Reading Is Japan's Newest Cat Trend - PetGuide

Pawlm Reading (see more at https://kakato.com/blogs/learn-read-cats-paw-one-minute/)

Some humans believe that our paws tell a lot about our personalities. The markings and shape of the paw tell about our character. The dewclaw is the lifeline, the first digital pad on the right is luck, the second pad is intelligence, the third pad is love, and the fourth is appetite.

10 Facts About Tuxedo Cats – Waffles the Cat

Matching Pads and Fur

Our pads usually parallel our fur coats. For example, tuxies usually have black spots on their paw pads and light-colored cats usually have light-colored paw pads.

the Importance of climbing for indoor cats by cat behaviourist Anita Kelsey

Paws are Super Flexible

Our paws bend and turn on our “wrists.” Our front paws can turn inward to help us sink our claws into whatever we are climbing. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in reverse if we climb too high to jump down.) This flexibility also helps make us so well-balanced.

New Documentary Condemns Declawing of Cats; Who Is Right?

Humans can help us maintain our paws by checking them out once a week. Gunk can get trapped between our toes (especially if we’re long-haired), and cause irritation. We can also be allergic to things we walk through. Pads that are swollen, soft, bleeding, ulcerated, or scaly are all potential problems.

However, if there isn’t a problem, leave our feet alone!

The cat's meow | The Humane Society of the United States

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

11

Tommy Tiger’s New School

Meet Alexei and Rory: Ohio zoo names adorable new tiger cubs

Tommy was really excited. His mom had signed him up at the new school in the neighborhood. He was tired of being home-schooled and wanted to meet some other cats.

He was a little surprised by how small some of his classmates were. But everyone seemed really friendly. He made friends quickly and started hanging out with Billy and Eddie.  Before long, they were inseparable. They sat together and played together at recess.

kitten and tiger cub head bonks - Meow Aum!

Some of the older kids started making fun of Tommy because he was so big. He thought it was rather rude of them since he had never pointed out how small he thought they were.

Jimmy: Hey, kid! You’re no kitten. Look at those paws!

Tommy: What’s wrong with my paws?

Three Sets Of Baby Tiger Paws at Potter Park Zoo - ZooBorns

Jimmy: They’re huge!

Tommy: That’s not nice! Take it back!

Larry: He’s right. Those aren’t paws. They’re mitts.

Tommy felt like he was going to cry. He was much too gentle to fight with the little cats, but he didn’t understand why they were talking about his paws. They were the perfect size for his body. Eddie ran to get their teacher.

HD wallpaper: tiger cub and short-fur gray tabby kitten, cat, Wallpaper,  friendship | Wallpaper Flare

Ms. Smithers came up and saw the tiger cub with the three kittens (Billy, Jimmy, and Larry). She had been a little nervous about having a tiger in the school. She hoped he wasn’t causing trouble.

Ms. Smithers: What’s going on here?

Billy: Jimmy and Larry are being mean. They’re making fun of Tommy’s paws.

Jimmy: They’re huge! I’ve never seen paws that size.

Indrah makes three: Malayan tiger cub joins Amur cubs at Metroparks Zoo

Ms. Smithers: Jimmy! Apologize immediately! His paws are perfect.

Larry: His paws are twice the size of mine.

Ms. Smithers: He’s almost twice your size.

Larry: I know. I figured he must have been held back a couple of times.

Ms. Smithers: No, he’s the same age as you are. Haven’t you ever met a tiger cub before?

Meet Dash, the Wildcat Sanctuary's First-Ever Newborn Tiger Cub -  Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

Jimmy: He’s a tiger? Whoa! That is so cool! Sorry, dude! Don’t eat me!

Tommy was confused. Why would he eat Jimmy?

Ms. Smithers: He’s not going to eat you. Apologize correctly, please.

tiger cubs for sale | baby tiger cubs sale | Exotic Wild Cats

Jimmy: I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were a tiger. You look like a big kitten.

Tommy: It’s OK. I didn’t know there weren’t any other tigers here. I won’t eat you. But please leave me alone.

Jimmy and Larry looked at each other and walked away.

It was the first and only time that Tommy was bullied at his new school. Soon he fit right in and was just one of the group.

Tiger and Kittens - Animals Photo (2960144) - Fanpop

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

20

Why There is No Animal World Cup

Image result for animals with balls

We have noticed a lot of human interest around something called the World Cup. It is supposed to be the most watched sporting event in the world. We were a little confused at first. We call it soccer over here, but everyone else calls it football. Which kind of makes sense. A bunch of sweaty men play it with their feet.

After watching for a while, we noticed something interesting. The players use their feet and heads to move the ball. The only one who can use his hands is someone called a goal tender.

Image result for animals playing soccer

This was the perfect game for animals! We have paws or hooves, not hands. So why wasn’t there an Animal World Cup?

We went to the source of all information, Google, and typed in “Animal World Cup.” The only thing there was a bunch of sweaty men playing soccer/football.

Image result for animals playing soccer

We tried “Animal Soccer/Football” and got local youth leagues. “Professional Animal Soccer” got no results. How very strange.

We sent our reporter Freddie Ferret out to find out what was going on. Here’s what he uncovered:

Animals have always played a game similar to soccer. It was most popular in places with large fruit or vegetables that could be used as a ball. Players were ejected for eating the ball.

Image result for animals playing soccer

The main rules were that players could only use their head and paws to move the ball. The “goalie” was allowed to use his entire body to stop the ball. The games would start at mid-afternoon and end at dusk.

For years, the animals played soccer uneventfully. However, one day the gorilla coach had an idea. His players had only been using their hind legs to play. Why not try using the front ones?

The idea was brilliant. The gorillas were unbeatable. The other animals sued to keep the gorillas from using their front paws.

Image result for gorilla with soccer ball

“That’s not fair! You’re using your opposable thumbs. You can hold onto the ball.”

“The rules say we can use paws. These are paws.”

The judges weren’t sure what to do. Technically, the gorillas were right; they were using their paws. Realistically, the other animals were right; opposable thumbs made the paws closer to hands.

Image result for animals playing soccer

The judges went with the rules. The gorillas’ paws were allowed. However, they reminded the other animals that there was no rule about only having one species on a team.

Every team tried to get at least one gorilla to join them. Of course, there were not enough gorillas for all of the teams. So the teams tried to lure them with bananas, ants and other treats.

Chimpanzees and other animals with opposable thumbs were also in high demand.  Teams had to hide their prized players or another team would bribe them away.

Image result for no gorillas sign

Soccer wasn’t fun anymore. All the focus was on the star players. Soon the other animals wanted to ban any player with opposable thumbs or force them to play in their own league.

Simians, pandas, koalas, and possums were outraged. They claimed species-ism. They all went back to court. This time the judges determined that there was no fair way to answer the question and banned all competitive soccer between adult animals.

Image result for animals playing soccer

For a while, the animals grumbled and blamed each other. As time passed, they decided that the judges were right. They shouldn’t fight each other over a game.

It passed down from generation to generation that animals only played soccer for fun. Before long, it wasn’t questioned. It just was.

Image result for cats with soccer balls

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

(For the record, the trophy for the winner of the World Cup looks nothing like a Cup.)

2

Of Chickens and Kazoos

My husband and I started going to a new church in a small town (village actually) not far from here. It’s a stereotypical small town with a main street full of small shops and extremely nice people. The church itself is 175 years old.

Like many small towns around here, they have a street fair-type thing over the summer. Ours was this past Friday and Saturday. Being the new deacon (yes, it’s true – I’m ordained), I wanted to show I’m a team player.

Gotta be sure to research before making a commitment like that.

Friday was good. I was at the information booth handing out goodies (various noise-makers) and answering any questions people had. The section we were in was beautiful. A little valley next to the river.

Very bucolic. Until we got to the last act on the entertainment schedule. They introduced themselves as a band from a local school district. My expectations weren’t extremely high; just some very generic covers of popular music.

On the positive side, the instrumentals were very good. As was one of the male singers. Unfortunately there were four singers (two male, two female). Who were very loud. And did not enunciate. And did not hit one correct note in some of the songs.

Then they did the unforgivable. I have always been a fan of Eric Clapton. I think some of the work he did with Cream is amazing. The band tried to play Sunshine of Your Love (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwDo0JUeKqM). I don’t know how the instrumentals sounded. They couldn’t be heard over the tortured-banshee singing of the girls. You would not have had to be a fan of 60’s rock to have felt my pain.

The big event for the church came the next morning. The famous chicken barbecue. It was pretty amazing. They build a massive production grill on the front lawn and barbecue halves of 500 chickens in an assembly-line type of thing.

But first the parade. The church is known for the chicken dinner so the float had to be something chicken-esque, right? OK. It’s a flatbed trailer, covered with bales of hay. Church members sit on the hay wearing chicken hats (felt, chicken-shaped) playing kazoos.

Yes, you read that correctly. Anyone who says we take ourselves too seriously needs to come to the parade. We rode around town playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, When the Saints Come Marching In, and other crowd favorites. We each had a three-foot chicken cut-out (very nicely decorated) that we could make dance along.

When they told me about this, I wasn’t even sure what a kazoo was. I think I may have played one on a boat that used to go up and down the Detroit River when I was little. I could not seem to get the hang of humming the tune into the thing to get the song to come out. It probably had something to do with laughing too hard to get my mouth properly around the kazoo.

I think we might have been the most popular thing in the parade if Paws hadn’t shown up. Paws is the mascot for the Detroit Tigers. Admittedly, Paws is extremely cute. He doesn’t have one of those creepy, over-sized heads. He actually looks like a friendly tiger on two feet. I may be the only chicken who can say she was hugged by a tiger.

We had to give the chickens back at the end, but got to keep the kazoos. Mine is sitting on the table right now. I certainly don’t want to play it, but it seems wasteful to throw it away after only using it once. Maybe I’ll leave it at the church for next year. It’s probably safe from theft.

The barbecue was a bit of a let-down after that. It was very successful, and the chicken was delicious. But I had to go back to being an adult.

A couple of the men told me I needed to learn how to flip the chickens on the barbecue. They have huge racks that probably hold 20 chicken halves. They put a second rack on top and flip it over to cook the other side.

I got on one side and one of the guys got on the other. When we went to flip, my side opened (of course) and I lost a chicken. They told me I had to try again next year. I need to check the budget to make sure there’s insurance to cover loss of chickens.

The next big event is the cookie walk at the beginning of December. Apparently this church is known for food. It’s a huge sale – kind of a build-your-own cookie selection. They had 8 long tables full of cookies to choose from last year.

At least they don’t dress up like elves.