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

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.

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.

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 @PrettyLitterCats.




Rai Cornell
Rai Cornell

Author



14 Responses

Amelia V.
Amelia V.

May 31, 2019

My Meeko has a crooked tail. The vet on Oahu where I rescued her told me it’s a genetic mutation they see on the island a lot. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Karen
Karen

May 21, 2019

When my beautiful Maine Coon saw something that interested him or that he didn’t understand, he would point at it with his fluffy tail!

Dione
Dione

May 21, 2019

We have an all-white female with heterchromia. Starbuck has an ice-blue eye and a deep gold one. It is striking and always the first thing people notice about her. She is pretty and she knows it!

LoAnn Patterson
LoAnn Patterson

May 21, 2019

I have three wonderful cats. Ernie my 12 yo has big green eyes, Princess Hopper has two toned green eyes, & 9 month old Mitten has unusual copper colored eyes. Love them all each with their own distinct personalities.

Pamela A Vrooman
Pamela A Vrooman

May 21, 2019

My cat Star is a short hair orange tabby cat. When I first got her 12 years ago she didn’t hardly speak at all as had an older cat. Once that cat passed away she found her voice and now meows throughout the day- mostly to get attention or indicate she wants something to eat. She sleeps in the middle of my bed during the day and at the foot of the bed at night. She is to me a smart cat as she knows her food either comes out of the refrigerator or the pantry. She will practically get into the refrigerator to pick out what is hers – or maybe she is looking for something better from what is in there. She is not a lap cat yet but has lately come up in my lap for a quick pet and then gets back down. I have thought of getting her a new mate to play with but so far she has not been friendly to the two neighbors cats that show up on my porch, hissing and batting up them with her paw. She is my crazy cat and I really love her !

June Hervert
June Hervert

May 21, 2019

My Diesel can’t stand to see anything on a counter, unless it weighs a ton it is on the floor and under the nearest furniture! I adore him anyway.

Dewey Shirley
Dewey Shirley

May 21, 2019

We are not new to cats – however, we have never had a cat like this one. She is a pure bred Turkish Angora about four years old. We learned about two years after we adopted her that she has run away from a home in our neighborhood. We had tried to find her owners for about two months to no avail. We had her spayed, shots and a I.D. chip. The strange things about her are; she never offers to jump onto the table or counters in the kitchen, she ran to her new scratch – pad and started to scratch it immediately, never tempted to scratch any furniture. She actually obeys voice commands, although it sometimes takes two or three commands. She waits to be invited onto our bed or couch and she seems to have a built – in clock as she wakes us up meowing within minutes of our getting- up time. (She has automatic feeding and water dispensers.)

Esther Jones
Esther Jones

May 17, 2019

My Himalayan, Toby, has big blue eyes. He’s the first adult cat I’ve had with this striking eye colour. When he stares all wide-eyed, he looks super surprised.

Melissa Mitchell
Melissa Mitchell

May 17, 2019

Our darling, almost 16 year old Maine Coon has not only tufted ears, but thumbs on her front feet!
She lets me play with them, but not Dad, as he’s the one that cuts her nails!

Geoff Berner
Geoff Berner

May 17, 2019

Our Kili a calico, her eyes went from kitten blue to green . With the exception of her right eye it only half changed. The inner half was blue and the outer half was green.

Gene Gaffey
Gene Gaffey

May 17, 2019

My oldest cat, a female, starts hitting me with her open paw and meowing. It sound as if she’s nagging for attention. This continues u til after I feed her. I can wake up at three and she pounces. If I fall back to sleep she waits to pounce again.
I suspect that she wants affection and/or food. When ever she’s with me she purrs and she loves my lap even when I’m working

Margaret L Solomon
Margaret L Solomon

May 17, 2019

My male cat has round eyes. At least they look like that to me. He has “pantaloons” and looks very prissy when you see him from the rear. Very regal looking. He usually doesn’t like to have his paws held. But recently when I was feeling ill, I sat on the edge of the bed and he cuddled next to me and put his paw on my leg.
I think he has ESP. He knows when I lie down for a nap. He comes from wherever he was and wants to get under the covers. But when I go to bed at night, he just wants to snuggle, but not under the covers. Another thing he does. When I stay up past my usual bedtime he jumps into my chair and ‘talks’ until I get up and go wth him. He definitely is the master of my life!

Diane Bohonko
Diane Bohonko

May 17, 2019

Thank you very much for this information. I recently adopted a kitten about two months ago from my local Humane Society office. She was from a hoarding situation, so I knew she had anxiety issues. I just noticed recently that she winced when I tried to wave goodbye to her when I went to work, which made me think she must have been abused. I have seen her tail tucked under most of the time she has been with me, so now I understand why she is the way she is. I am just trying to be compassionate as much as I can to wait for her to come around and finally trust me. I haven’t given her any reason to be afraid, but I understand why she feel the way she does.

Jann
Jann

May 17, 2019

Mocha, my black rescue boy, carries his tail in a perpetual question mark. If he didn’t it would drag along the ground. His eye color changes with the light, either gold or green. He is a love sponge!!

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