If you have a cat with black paw pads, you might be wondering why they are this color. Well, the truth is that cats can have pink, black, or gray paw pads – depending on the color of their coat. Some multicolored cats even have several different pad colors! It is almost like our feline friends have their own fashion style that matches their gorgeous coats with their cute little digital pads.
But, one might ask – what breed of cat has black paw pads? Is a black paw pad exclusive to a specific breed?
Actually, the color of your cat’s paw pads is generally influenced by the color of their fur. So, if your kitty has a black or dark coat, there is a good chance that her pads will be black. Hence, any cat can have black paws, no matter the breed.
If you are curious to know more, read on to learn about your cat’s paw pad color and when you should be concerned.
Why are my cat’s paw pads black?
All cat lovers agree that a cat’s digital pads, or “toe beans,” are seriously cute. But those tiny pads are not just for aesthetics – they are designed for a greater purpose.
The paw pads on a cat are designed to be thick and rubbery, which provides a cushion for walking on. Paw pads also protect your cat’s bones and joints when they run or pounce – somewhat similar to a human’s shoe. Those soft, yet tough, little toe beans are extra sensitive, helping cats gather information about their environment such as the presence of prey or an approaching animal.
Despite the fascinating functions of their paw pads, we cat lovers seldom give a thought about the details of our furballs’ toes, or what makes up their cute little pads. But, in case you are wondering, these paw pads are indeed matched to the color of your cat’s fur and nose.
So, if your cat’s fur color is black, her paw pads should also be black. Other cats with solid dark fur are also likely to have black paw pads.
Cat coat colors and paw pads
Cat paw pads come in various colors. The most common are pink paw pads, followed by black and gray. And, as mentioned, the cat’s fur color generally dictates the color of the pads. The pigment that determines the fur color is embedded at the base of the hair follicle underneath the skin. If you were to shave your cat (which is seriously discouraged), these pigment patterns would be visible on the skin.
If you have a cat with a full black coat, she probably has black paw pads, too. All animals with black skin and hair are known as melanistic, meaning that they carry an abundant amount of melanin. This is a genetic trait that some breeds inherit from their parentage.
Cats with white fur usually have the common pink pads, ginger cats will have the orange paw pads, while multicolored cats will likely have multicolored pads as well. For example, a mackerel tabby cat can have both black and gray pads.
It is also important to note that some cat breeds with dark colorpoint coats can also have black-colored pads. For example, some light-colored Siamese cats with dark points will have black paw pads.
Other tabby cat varieties, such as the marbled tabby, ticked tabby, patched tabby, and spotted tabby, can also have black paw pads if their coats include a dark shade.
What breed of cat has black paw pads?
As we have established, the color of the fur is the ultimate factor that dictates the color of your cat’s paw pads. Hence, any cat breed can have black pads, as long as their coat is solid black or mixed with a dark shade. To satisfy your curiosity, we have summarized below the common cat breeds that are more likely to have black pads.
If you are looking for a cuter and friendlier version of a black panther, then you will fall in love with a Bombay cat! This breed is famous for its all-black, satiny fur and bright gold or copper eyes. The other distinctive features of this unique cat include a round face, broad-set ears, and a medium-built, athletic body. Since the cat’s entire body is black, its paw pads are also a deep black.
Due to its solid black coat, a Bombay cat might appear mysterious, scary, or intimidating to many, as black cats are surrounded by superstition and have a history with witchcraft. But certainly, these are just speculations. Bombay cats are surprisingly sweet, affectionate, and people-centric. They can also be playful and a little needy, so these kitties are only suitable for owners who can commit a suitable amount of time to their fur babies.
2. Domestic shorthair
Domestic shorthairs, which are more of mixed ancestry than an actual breed, are popular pets in households the world over. Their coats are short, as suggested by their name, and come in many colors and patterns. Some of these short-haired cats come in solid colors, including black, while others are tabby, bicolored, or tricolored.
While a completely black shorthair is rare, a lot of shorthairs can actually have some black coloring in their coat. In fact, the Bombay breed mentioned above had a black domestic shorthair as one of its parents. Hence, it is not uncommon to see a domestic shorthair with black foot pads.
3. Domestic longhair
Contrary to what you might believe, and similar to domestic shorthairs, domestic longhairs are not an actual cat breed. These cats have mixed ancestry, and are not the same as the other recognized long-haired breeds like the Maine coon or British longhair. However, they made it onto our list because black domestic longhairs are fairly common.
However, not all dark domestic longhairs are fully black. Some can have a unique coat pattern with a tinge of black, while others have multicolored coats that include a black shade. All of these are likely to have black pads as well.
Some long-haired cats also have a mix of different colors on their paw pads. For example, they might have two pink beans while the rest are black or gray. Either way, rest assured that your kitty is normal and healthy unless its pads are suddenly changing color.
Why do cats’ paw pads change color?
A healthy feline has a permanent color on her paw pads, whether it is black, pink, orange, or gray. But what if you suddenly notice your cat’s toe beans changing color? Should you be concerned?
There are several reasons your kitty’s paw pads might change color, and these are as follows:
Just like human hair, cats can undergo color changes in their coats. Often, these changes can affect the skin pigment as well, including the foot pads. So, if your cat is aging and you notice her toe beans starting to change color, it should not cause you any concern. However, a quick visit to your vet should help you rule out any serious medical issues.
2. Physical injury
Is your cat showing signs of irritability every time you touch her paw pads? Then she might be struggling with an injury, especially if the pads have also changed color. Look for signs of cracked or torn skin, swelling, redness, or puncture wounds, as these symptoms all indicate a potential foot pad injury.
3. Feline disease
Pad colors can change with certain feline diseases, such as problems with the immune system, life-threatening infections, and anemia. If your cat appears to be sick on top of the changed pad color, take your furry friend to the vet right away for diagnosis and treatment.
Your vet will conduct a series of laboratory tests to uncover any health issues that might be affecting the appearance of your cat’s paw pads. He will also assess her based on her medical history and current symptoms. For example, pale-looking paw pads along with symptoms of lethargy and pale gums are often caused by anemia. Paw pads that have turned purplish in color and appear swollen or inflamed are possibly due to plasma cell pododermatitis.
How to care for your cat’s paw pads
Your cat’s paw pads do not usually require your care and attention, unless there are visible signs of injury or infection. While cats are generally excellent at keeping themselves clean and tidy, you can assist with the upkeep of their paws (if necessary) by cleaning them with a damp cloth. Make sure to remove any debris or stuck between the toes, too.
If you notice the paw pads looking dry or cracked, your first step should be to call your vet. Never try home remedies without your vet’s approval! Depending on the underlying cause, your vet might recommend a lick-safe lotion to moisturize your pet’s paw pads. Natural options such as olive oil or coconut oil might also be used as advised by your veterinarian.
The greatest influence on the color of your cat’s paw pads is her coat color, so if she has black fur, she should have black pads, too. Thus, any cat can have black foot pads, no matter their breed. And, whatever the color of your cat’s fur and paw pads, remember that your furry friend is beautiful and perfect just the way she is!
Image: istockphoto.com / cynoclub