Why Do Cats Have Webbed Feet – Is It Rare?


If you have ever examined your cat’s paws closely, you might have noticed something funny about the shape of their toes. Cats have webbed feet! This is a biological feature that might initially seem quite unusual for our feline friends. Although we know other animals have webbed feet, why do cats have webbed feet? 

Cats have webbed feet because it stems from their evolution from larger cat relatives. Webbed feet help cats navigate water, capture food, and maintain balance. A cat has partially webbed feet. 

While your short-hair tabby cat probably does her best not to spend any time in the water, some more giant cat breeds are agile swimmers and needed webbed feet to better propel themselves through the water and mud. 

Five Reasons That Cats Have Webbed Feet Five 

1. Having webbed paws allows cats to swim more efficiently.

2. The design of cat’s feet allows them to walk gracefully and silently.

3. The webbing allows cats to be stealthier hunters while stalking prey.

4. The webbed paws are extra helpful in allowing cats to keep a steady balance.

5. Webbed feet are a survival asset for cats that allows them to be nimble in times of danger.

Is It Rare For Cats To Have Webbed Feet

No, it is not rare for cats to have webbed feet. All cats have at least partially webbed feet. The smaller domestic cat breeds we are most commonly familiar with sharing much of the same DNA as more giant cats like leopards and cheetahs.

The more giant cat breeds have the most pronounced foot webbing because they use this biological trait daily to survive in the wild. The same is usually not valid for domestic cats. You may have never noticed your cat’s foot webbing because it does not play as large of a role in their lives as it does for their large cat relatives. 

Do Domestic Cats Have Webbed Feet

Yes, domestic cats do have partially webbed feet. You can observe this on your cat by taking a look at their paws. You will notice that their little toes have a little space between them, but they are not all independently separate from one another like the human foot.

Some cats also have hair that grows in between the webbed toes, making it even more challenging to notice. Cats are also notoriously sensitive about their paws, so it is a rare opportunity when a cat will let you study their paw pad that closely.

What Kind of Cat Has Webbed Feet

All cats have at least partially webbed feet from the leopards and cougars to your backyard Calico cat. The webbing is more pronounced depending on the breed, but you will find a biological feature no matter the cat.

It might seem alarming to discover without having any prior knowledge of this biological feature, but rest assured, it is very typical, and it would be more concerning if your cat did not have the webbing at all! 

Do All Kinds of Cats Have Webbed Feet

Yes, all cats do have webbed feet. This feature started as a necessity to assist fishing cats and big game cats in being better hunters and catch their prey. Out in the wild, it would make an animal pretty helpless to have to avoid water all the time. Wild cat breeds are very comfortable in the water and are usually skilled swimmers, even over longer distances.

You probably won’t see too many wild cats swimming anywhere in the Western hemisphere. Still, if you head over to southeastern Asia and parts of India and Thailand, you’ll find fishing cats who live in the wetlands and thrive living in a watery habitat!

Do Siamese Cats Have Webbed Feet

Yes, Siamese cats are another cat breed that has webbed feet. Siamese cats typically have dark-tipped paws that are brown or black, making it more difficult to spot the webbing on their paws. Siamese cats are descended from Asia’s wild cats, and they have maintained a love of water from their undomesticated relatives. It’s not uncommon to see a Siamese cat playfully batting around water, as they love to have fun with it!

Do Bengal Cats Have Webbed Feet 

Yes, Bengal Cats do have webbed feet. The Bengal breed, in particular, is a descendant of the Asian leopard cat, which is an undomestic cat breed known for loving to swim and hunt in the water. Over hundreds of years, the Bengal has descended from the Asian Leopard and carried on the webbed feet attribute.

Bengal cats do love to swim. They are one of the few domesticated cat breeds that still love the water. A Bengal cat willingly will dive into a bathtub or body of water, which cannot be said for most breeds!

Do Maine Coon Cats Have Webbed Feet 

Maine Coon cats do have webbed paws similar to other feline breeds. Maine Coon cats are one of the few domestic cat breeds that enjoy being in the water. They have thick moisture repelling coats that help insulate them better, and they certainly aren’t afraid to jump in a pond! Their thick fur makes the Main Coon cat one of the heartiest cat breeds, and they are well suited to being in the water. 

Another lesser-known fact about Maine Coon cat’s paws is that in addition to the toe webbing, up to 40% of Maine Coons are born with six toes! It is thought that the sixth toe is an evolutionary feature to help the cats navigate snow and icy terrain. If you notice any of those features on your Maine Coon, there’s no need to worry. These are standard hereditary features of the breed. 

Do Sphynx Cats Have Webbed Feet 

Yes, the Sphynx cat does have webbed feet, and their webbed toes are much larger and more noticeable than many other cat breeds. This is because a Sphynx’s toes are bigger proportionally to the rest of their body than with other cat breeds. Additionally, Sphynx cats are hairless cats, so it is much easier to see the pronounced webbing on their feet. 

Things To Consider 

As it turns out, all cats have at least partially webbed feet, but not all cat breeds like the water. The typical cat breeds of today inherited this biological trait from some of their water-loving significant cat relatives. However, over time certain breeds have developed an aversion to water, while others still love it.  

You will notice breeds such as the Maine Coon, Bengal, and the American Shorthair, and Turkish Vans are all drawn to the water and continue to enjoy swimming. Of course, each cat’s personality is a little different, so your cat could be an anomaly!  

Out of all the wild cats out there, several of them are avid swimmers, including the entire tiger family, leopards, and jaguars. Lions will get in the water if they need to, but they don’t particularly enjoy the experience.  

Out of the big cat group, Tigers are the best swimmers in the entire feline family. Jaguars come in at a close second, but tigers are especially impressive in the water. They can swim up to 18 miles a day to patrol their home turf. 

 Tigers also have the most robust jaws of the cat family and can entirely hunt large prey while fully submerged in the water. This has earned tigers their well-deserved title as the strongest cat in the world!  

A trait that is more unusual than the webbed paws is seeing a polydactyl cat. This means a cat is born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its feet. This condition is an abnormality caused by a genetic mutation. It is most typical to see polydactyl cats with more toes on their front paws than the back ones.  

This condition is relatively harmless unless it causes your cat’s toes or nails to grow incorrectly. Your cat should still live everyday healthy life with this condition. 

 

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