The front & back paws of a
panther are similar to our hands & feet. However the front paw has 5 toes and the hind has only 4. The extra toe on the
fore-paw is equivalent to our thumb. This 5th digit is separated from the other 4 toes, it is positioned further
back on the foot and does not normaly leave a pug mark on the ground when the cat is walking, however its alignment gives
the paw and its claws additional grabbing & snagging ability.
An average adult cat can weight between 70 -150 lb depending on its
gender. The paws are strong, designed to hold the weight of the cat. Cats are digitigrade, meaning they stand on their toes;
whereas we humans are like bears, plantigrade, we stand with our feet flat to the ground. Moving on ones toes extends the
length of the limbs, giving greater lift and longer stride.
paws have evolved for a spring & sprint movement. Panther bones & muscles are designed to allow the cat to launch
itself forward, a panthers preference is to move as close as possible & pounce on the prey, rather than to chase it down
over a long distance. The panthers are certainly fast runners, but not designed for a lengthy chase & soon run out of
Cats’ front paws are generally rounder
and broader than the back paws, which are long & narrow; their paw joints also have a greater degree of rotation to that
of a wild canine. The front limbs & paws are strong for whacking, grabbing, and gripping prey, their back legs are longer
making them higher in the back, giving them greater jumping, leaping, & pouncing power.
Panthers have pads on the bottom of their paws
which cushion the impact on their toe bones when running, launching themselves upward, & when landing on the ground. They
have hair between these pads which make them silent walkers. Between the toes is a thin layer of skin which gives the paw
a greater surface area when splayed, useful when wading through wet lands, creeks, & on snow covered ground.