Monday Mischief: Understanding a Cat’s Sense of Touch
Mini Cooper is one of those cats that has a need for touch. Charles, the dog, on the other hand, likes to be near humans and other animals but does not like to be on your lap or cuddled too close. That is what makes this picture so interesting. Lately, Mini has started reaching out and laying a paw on him when she can. Is this a sign of her primal need to keep track of a predator? I wanted to know more about a cat’s sense of touch so I did a little research and thought I would share it with you.
Cats have whiskers on their upper lip, on their cheeks, and above their eyes, but did you know that they also have whiskers behind their front wrists? These are called carpal hairs. The whiskers on a cat touch like fingers do.
The cat’s paw has a large number of receptors that respond to pressure and the highest density of those receptors are found ‘between the foot and the toe pads.” (The Cat, Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health published by Blackwell Publishing – IBSN 978-0-8138-0031-9 — page 46 and 47)
But does Mini really have a need for touch? Experts say that cats enjoy and need contact, just like humans do. Most of that they get in the form of petting or grooming. In Mini’s case, however, she seems to have more of a need than other cats. Maybe it comes from the fact that we held her all the time when she was a kitten (and too young to be away from her mother).
The one thing I do know is that Mini loves to have her paw on Charles, or Mom, or any warm body. I want to believe that gives her comfort.