Most cat owners have uttered “toe beans!” while admiring cat paw beans at least once. “Toe beans” is a popular nickname for the soft pads on a cat’s paws. Cats are famously revered for their squishy paw pads and the name reflects just how adorable this part of a cat’s anatomy is. Cats typically have four toe pads on their front paws and five on their hind paws.

What Are Cat Toe Beans?

“Cat toe beans'' refer to the soft, plump pads on a cat’s paws. A cat’s paw pads come in many shapes and colours and usually match the cat’s coat. They are made of thick, cushiony skin that helps protect a cat's bones and joints while they explore and play.

It does vary but black cats tend to have black paws, orange cats have slightly orange-toned paws and tabby cats have black and pink paws. The shape is similar to a jellybean, hence the term “beans”.

The Anatomy of Cat Feet

The pads on a cat's toes, located on the underside of the cat’s feet are a unique part of their anatomy and play various roles. The official name for cat toe beans is “digital pads”. These pads allow cats to soften the blow from a fall and help them control momentum while they run or jump. 

The pads on the bottom of a cat's feet also contain the cat’s scent, this is why cats are known for “making biscuits” with their paws. When your cat kneads into you or areas around your home like pizza dough, they mark their scent on you. It’s just part of their love language. 

The pads on a cat’s paw also help cats sweat. Cats don’t have pores to sweat through like humans do, so those little pads also help regulate your pet’s temperature. 

A cat’s paws also house their retractable claws and if you press down on their toes the claws will pop out. Toe beans may be cute but they can also pack a punch if your cat gets its claws involved. 

Fun Facts About Cat Toe Beans

The phrase “cats have 9 lives” came to be because a cat’s paw pads help your pet maintain balance and cushion falls. Ultimately toe beans are as fascinating as they are cute.

Did You Know:

  • Cat toe beans come in many colours, including pink, black, brown, orange, grey and even multi-coloured pads.
  • The pads are made of thick, cushiony skin that helps protect a cat's bones and joints and contributes to their ability to maintain balance and cushion a nasty fall. 
  • Cats have scent glands in their paw pads, this is why they often leave their “mark” by kneading on their humans and their surroundings. 
  • Toe beans have tiny ridges that provide extra traction and grip for climbing and hunting, they also work as shock absorbers and sound mufflers, which is why cats can sneak up on their prey so effectively! 
  • Some cats have extra toes, resulting in more toe beans than the standard 4 per paw. These cats are referred to as Polydactyl cats. 
  • Cats lick and groom their paw pads to keep them clean and healthy. Occasionally the paw pads can get dry or cracked, this is more common in humid or warm climates and colder climates, it can also be due to health issues. Ask your vet about a suitable cream for the paw pads to help the healing process.

White cat lying showing their feet

Why Are Cat Toe Beans So Cute?

The small and squishy “jelly bean-like” appearance of the pads on the bottom of a cat's paws has captivated people's hearts for years due to their appearance and soft texture. Frequently photographed by pet owners, the outline of a cat’s paw print has become an internationally known symbol for cats.

The term cat toe beans entered popular culture due to our enduring love for those little pads on a cat’s feet, which seem to bring joy to all cat lovers. 

Should I Clean My Cat's Toe Beans?

Cat owners should keep their cat’s nails trimmed and their paws clean. Cats are naturally clean animals and will see to this themselves, however, if your cat’s paws come into contact with a substance that could be harmful when they lick it off, it is best to intervene first. Occasionally your cat may get dirty outside or have some debris from their litter tray on their paws too which you may want to help them clean off, this is more prevalent for longer-haired breeds.

To clean your cat's feet simply use a clean, damp cloth and wash them gently until they are fresh. It may be best to do this when they are resting as you can access all paws easily when they are lying down. Alternatively, distract them with a treat so they let you clean their paws in peace. 

Why Don't Cats Let You Touch Their Toe Beans?

Your cat’s paw pads are sensitive, this sensitivity helps your cat improve their balance and grip, but it also means too much stimulation will irritate them. All cats will have sensory preferences and some pets may enjoy gentle touch across their toe beans. Be slow and soft and monitor how your pet reacts when playing games with their paws. 

Cat paw showing toe beans

Caring For Cat Toes

Last but not least, we have compiled a paw care overview so you can care for those cat toes and keep them in tip-top condition. Cats naturally love to groom themselves and are famous for keeping themselves clean, regularly licking at their paws to wash them and often pulling the outer layers of shedding claws off to keep their claws in pristine condition. 

Nail Trimming

You can trim your cat’s nails at home but you need to be very careful not to hurt yourself or your cat, it may be a two-person job!

  • Hold your cat in a comfortable, secure position that the cat feels safe in and secure one paw at a time. Do this when your cat is feeling relaxed. 
  • Use clippers that are designed to be used on cats.
  • Press on each toe to retract the cat’s claws, one at a time.
  • Take care to identify the tip of the nail, long before it meets the quick and snip this part off on each claw before moving to the next paw and repeating these steps. 
  • The quick will look like a pink triangle and the nail will be white. Be extremely careful during this step as cutting the quick can cause damage to your cat’s claw. 
  • Alternatively, you can take your cat to the vet to get their nails trimmed professionally. 

Caring for Cat Toes

  • To clean your cat's toe beans you can use a soft, damp cloth. Wash the pads gently. Make sure you do each paw pad and clean the fur in between too. 
  • Occasionally your cat’s paw pads may become dry or cracked, you can use some Vaseline to help the healing process. 
  • You may want to consider trimming the tufts of fur in between a cat’s toes if they are collecting a lot of dirt or debris. Only trim level with the toe beans!

If you have chosen to trim your cat’s nails, clean their paws or trim their paw tufts at home and you need a way to bribe them into cooperating, why not use our tasty Dreamies™ Treats to distract them?