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May 15, 2019 |6 min read |Veterinarian Reviewed

Cat Ears, Eyes, Claws & Paws: Quirky Cat Characteristics We Adore

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From the tips of their toes to the hair on their adorably tufted cat ears, our feline friends mean the world to us. Many people assume cats have similar features across the board, but us cat lovers know how unique our beloved friends are indeed.

While some cats have itty bitty shortie legs, others come equipped with corkscrew tails or even no tail at all!

Join us as we dive further into the uniqueness that is our quirky cat's adorable characteristics.

Cat Ears: Furnishings, Tufts & Horns, Oh my!

Our furry friends all have ears – there's no doubt about that – but not all cat ears are the same. In fact, some come with fancy features like furnishings, tufts, and horned.

PrettyLitter Cat Ears Eyes Claws and Paws


Cat furnishings and tufts tend to be confused. Many people think these terms refer to the hairs on the inner and outer part of the ear. However, furnishings are actually the hairs found on the inner portion of the ear and tufts are the hairs found on the tips of the ear. Tufts are sometimes referred to as "lynx tipping" since this feature resembles the ears of a lynx cat.

Similarly, some cats can have "horned" ears – ears that naturally curl inward to resemble horns. While these fur babies may look more evil than their non-horned friends, they're truly all lovers.

Structurally, cat ears are similar to those of other mammals. They have three parts: the inner ear, outer ear, and middle ear.

The outer ear is made up of the pinna (the pointed part you can see) actually funnels sound down into the middle ear. So the part we often think of as the ear – the pointed, fluffy triangle portion – is actually just the sound-capturer for our pretty kitties.


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Cat Eyes: Blue, Grey & Green - What Do They Mean?

Our furry friends don’t just keep us captivated with their adorable ears; cat eyes come in a wide variety! From blue to brown and everything in between, the fun fact about your cat's eyes is that his color is linked to his coat!

The amount of melanocytes (translation: pigment-forming cells) your sweet friend has determines the color of his eyes. If your kitten has lots of pigments, you'll see more orange or gold colored pigments in his eyes. On the other hand, some melanocytes create green eyes.

PrettyLitter Cat Ears Eyes Claws and Paws


Meanwhile, white cats could have blue, green, gold or copper eyes. However, albino cats are quite different entirely and are more likely to have ice blue or pink eyes.

In some odd cases, kittens can have different colored eyes, referred to as heterochromia. This can be caused by his eyes developing differently in the womb, but is most often seen in solid white casts where one eye tends to be blue and the other orange.

Another cool fact about Fluffy's eyes is they may change colors if he's sick. If your kitty's eyes are normally one color and you notice them change to another during adulthood, this could be a sign that your little one has an infection or disease and should be taken to the vet right away. However, kittens' eyes often change color as they mature, which is nothing to fret.

Cat Tails: The Tell-Tale Tail

Cat tails are a fascinating characteristic. Surprisingly, they don't all come in the same shape and size.

For example, some cats have no tail at all, like the manx cat. Others have corkscrew-like tails that can't be uncurled!

These kitty-cat swishers do more than just add personality to our beloved friends. They're actually a means of communication.

The position of your cat's tail often translates into a specific message he's trying to convey. For example:

  • Upright/Held High: Your cat is feeling confident and happy!
  • Curved Like a Question Mark: Your furry friend is feeling playful & needs your attention.
  • Straight Down: Watch out for this one - your cat is signaling aggression!
  • Tucked Under: This is a sign of submission and/or nervousness.
  • Puffed Up: Sign of fear and agitation, careful!
  • Whipping Back and Forth: Consider this a warning to stay away - no cuddles, please!
  • Slow Sway: Your cat is focused and ready to pounce! On his toy, that is.
  • Wrapped Around Another Cat: No worries here. It's a sign of friendship!

As if we needed more reasons to love cat tails, now your cat's furry appendage can help you communicate better with your fur baby.

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Claws & Paws

One of the most endearing part of our feline friends has to be their paws. These soft, pink pads are alluring to touch, but beware if you cat isn't a fan of foot massages.

Whereas a human's nails lay flat to protect our digits, cats can retract their claws and push them out for different tasks such as climbing, scratching, defending, and holding onto their prey.

PrettyLitter Cat Ears Eyes Claws and Paws


Another neat fact about your beloved friend: cats are considered digitigrades, which is just a fun way to say that they walk on their toes and not the heels of their paws like we humans do.

Does your cat have a fun, frilly physical feature? Tell us about it in the comments below or post a picture on Instagram and tag us @PrettyLitter.

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Sources:

1. https://www.felineliving.net/cat-eye-colors/

2. https://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/pets/article36548517.html

3. https://www.animalwised.com/most-common-cat-eye-color-and-their-meaning-1500.html

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Christina Scamporrino is a lifelong animal lover and began working in the petcare space in 2019. Christina’s passion for the community of feline owners and enthusiasts have led her to designing premium packaging for PrettyLitter cat litter, PrettyPlease dry food, wet food, and treats, and a litter box designed to solve common litter box issues.

Outside of her professional work in the petcare space, Christina is a longtime kitten foster and has worked with several cat rescues throughout Southern California. When given the option, she favors orange cats, but loves all cats equally.

Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/christina-tasci-68ab815b

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Sara Ochoa

Sara Ochoa, DVM graduated from St. George's University Veterinary School in 2015. Since then, she has been at a small and exotic animal practice in Texas. In her free time, she loves making quilts and spending time with her husband Greg and their 4 fur kids. Two dogs, Ruby a schnoodle, and Bug a Japanese Chin, one cat named OJ and a leopard tortoise named Monkey.

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