Picture of a domestic cat with webbed feet

Picture of hairless domestic cat showing webbed feet
Picture of hairless domestic cat showing webbed feet. Picture in the public domain.

All domestic cats have webbed feet but it is difficult to see the webbing for the obvious reason that their toes are covered in quite dense fur. Incidentally, the domestic cat with the most dense fur on their paws is probably the Maine Coon. This is what I love about the hairless cats, you can see the anatomy more clearly! And this particular individual, a Sphynx, has webbing that goes almost up to the end of their toes. They are something like the feet of a duck but why should domestic cats have evolved with webbing between their toes? There can only be one reasonable answer which is that this anatomical characteristic evolved over millennia to allow the domestic cat’s wild ancestor, the North African wildcat to be able to swim when needed both to survive and to prey on aquatic animals perhaps frogs and other amphibians. The North African wildcat is not known to spend a lot of time fishing unlike the fishing cat or the flat-headed cat. However, they are opportunistic hunters and therefore they will take the opportunity when it arises. Although they normally live in rather arid landscapes, they are widely distributed and no doubt on occasions live in marshy areas where they they can find amphibians and where they may have to cross rivers et cetera.

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Post Category: Cats