Last Updated on: February 21, 2022 by Ingrid King

feline-direct-registering

Cats are mysterious creatures, and learning more about how and why they do the things they do is one of the joys of loving our beautiful companions. When I recently came across the term “feline direct registering” for the first time, I have to admit, my mind was blown. How was it possible that in all the years I’ve been working with and writing about cats, I had never come across this term?

With our indoor cats, we don’t usually see paw prints, but if we were to see them, we’d  see what looks like a single line of prints, not two lines of prints side by side, as you might expect from a four-legged creature.

Nature’s design

The reason cats walk this way is one of nature’s purrfect designs: it helps to leave less of a trail for predators, and it also assists the cat with hunting. By only placing their paws in half as many locations, they reduce the possibility of making noise while they walk.

According to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, “this walking style is efficient in snow, grasses, and most habitats, and is used by wild dogs and cats. Some domestic dogs may direct register a bit, but rarely do they maintain this formation for lengths of time without jumping and having fun.” Camels, giraffes, bobcats, foxes, and coyotes also use direct registering.

The video below perfectly shows direct registering.

I’m curious: had you heard this term before?

Image Pixabay stock photo