Mae Clair’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Feline Direct Registering #cats

Stack of books with round eyeglasses on top, brass vintage candle, and carnivale mask in background

Are you as dumbfounded as I am? It seems like it’s been forever since I ran a Cabinet of Curiosities post. I used to have set days for these, but with my new crazy schedule, you’re apt to see these posts pop up any day of the week.

So here we are on Monday, kicking off a brand new week, and I’ve got a fun oddity to share. Many of you may already know about this marvel, but I was gobsmacked (love that word) when I stumbled over it.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I suffer from OCD—obsessive cat disorder. Yes, I am gonzo about felines. Especially my gorgeous girl, Raven.

That’s her in the photo, looking like the majestic creature she is. Yet as regal as she appears, the word people mostly frequently use to describe her (even those at the vet’s office) is “sweet.”

Photo of gorgeous black cat with large larges and long tail facing camera

She really does have an utterly charming disposition. She has the cutest little meow along with an extensive vocabulary of sounds. We have been known to hold lengthy conversations, and those bright intelligent eyes show exactly how inquisitive and attentive she is.

Yet as much as I love cats, I was astounded when I stumbled across direct registering. Wildlife aficionados, and likely even hunters, may already know all about this phenomena. Felines aren’t the only animals who possess the ability. Bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and even giraffes and camels also have a lock on it.

So what exactly is direct registering? It’s an animal’s ability to place their back paw in exactly the same spot as their front, leaving less of a trail. Seriously, how uncanny is that? Domestic house cats may not need that edge as a predator, but what an amazing advantage in the wild!

To see direct registering in action, check out this vid.

What a slinky, graceful way of moving. Cats are incredible creatures, and discovering this astounding ability just made me love them all the more. They make walking this way seem so effortless. If I tried it, I’d probably end up a twisted pretzel on the floor

Am I the only one who was clueless about this phenomena? Did you already know about direct registering? Either way, don’t you think that is one incredibly intriguing video?

71 thoughts on “Mae Clair’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Feline Direct Registering #cats

  1. Pingback: Mae Clair’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Feline Direct Registering #cats | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    • I can see how this trait would definitely be of benefit to them in hunting, Tessa. It was brand new to me.
      And isn’t gobsmacked such a great word? I rarely get to use it but always get a chuckle out of it when I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew certain animals did that, but I didn’t know which ones. Now I want to watch my daughter’s cat.

    I found that video mesmerizing. I could put it on loop and watch for hours. It was oddly soothing.

    Raven is gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ll definitely have to check out your daughter’s cat, Staci. I followed Raven around watching her walk, LOL (she thanks you for the lovely compliment).

      And I was thinking the same thing about the video. I can just watch it over and over. It’s so relaxing!


  3. What a great photo of Raven! This is so interesting. I’ve never heard of this, Mae. I hope the stray cats in our neighborhood are familiar with this technique. Our neighbor told us yesterday, he saw a coyote running down our driveway at 7:00 a.m. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh,no! I know coyotes often prey on neighborhood cats.

      We have a neighborhood coyote, too. He who showed up about a year ago. I hear him howling once a month or every few months, but I’ve never seen him. Raven is an entirely indoor cat, but we do have a few in our neighborhood who roam outside. That worries me, too.

      And it’s scary to think you had a coyote in your driveway. Yikes! I hope those cats stay safe. And you, too, Jill. I wouldn’t want to encounter a coyote!!


    • I’m the same has you, Teri. I’ve had cats since I was a kid, and somehow never knew this about them.
      I had to chuckle about Bond. Raven tended to be a bit clumsy as a kitten, but now she’s all sleek grace.

      She thanks you for the compliment and sends kitty high-fives to Bond!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, check it out, Joan. Once I discovered this, I immediately had to watch Raven put in action. You’ll have to check out how smoothly Tucker and Little Bit direct register! πŸ˜πŸˆβ€β¬›

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon, it is wonderful to meet someone else with OCD. Like you, I’ve had cats all my life and had no clue they did this. I was so excited to learn about it and see it in action with Raven. So glad I could share!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going to bet Garfield does walk like this, Noelle, but you’ll have to check to be sure. He may have to do a post on it, since it’s been a while since he expressed himself on your blog, LOL.

      I’m like you—I love all cats, and any cats. Welcome to the land of OCD. And I agree, that white cat is strikingly beautiful and moves like liquid silk!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Never knew this, and it’s pretty amazing. I love your definition of OCD! Every time I see your Raven, it makes me think of the black cat we had. Adorable. Our gray cat will never be called sweet. Ever. He’s HUGE, the biggest cat we’ve ever had. You know when he sits on your lap:) But he’s lovable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that your gray one is a lap cat, Judi. There’s just more of him to love, LOL! He sounds wonderful!

      I’m glad I was able to share something you didn’t know about felines. It was a huge surprise to me, too. And I love that you had a black cat. Raven is my second black, after Onyx. We are quite attached. πŸ˜ŠπŸˆβ€β¬›


  5. I had no idea either, Mae πŸ™‚ Like you, I love cats and have four of them, two looking much like Raven. I will have to study the animal tracks in the forest and see if I notice how the coyotes and other animals leave tracks. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was aware that they walk very close to the previous foot, but I didn’t know they matched it paw for paw and I didn’t know it was called direct registering or that other animals do this. That’s pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Dan. You knew a lot more than I did. I was completely in awe once I learned about this. The precision and grace involved is astounding–and to think it’s inherent, done without thought!

      Liked by 1 person

    • We are both so lucky, Flossie. Raven and Marigold bring such joy to our lives.
      Have fun watching your girl. I found direct registering amazing, but even more so when you watch your own cat doing it!


  7. I suffer from OCD, too, Mae. I’ve never lived in a house that didn’t have at least one. Not ever, in ALL my long life. We have four currently, and each has a totally distinct personality, while still being 100% cat in overall movement, grace, curiosity, and all those other traits. Your Raven is beautiful, and I’m happy she has a home with folks who appreciate her for the regal creature she is.

    I do remember reading about direct registering, though I’m not sure I ever heard that exact term. And I associate it with wild animals–which, of course, all cats are at heart–so I should have connected it with them. But for some reason, I didn’t. The video brought it home perfectly, and I can’t wait to show Mark, who loves cats nearly as much as I do. (On a side note, I’m happy to say that my 9-year-old grandson loves cats to distraction, too. He is purely NUTS about them, and it just makes my day to see him cuddling ours when they visit us.)

    Fun post, Mae! Thanks for sharing! πŸ€—β€οΈπŸ€—


    • Aww, this comment makes my heart melt, Marcia. I knew you were a cat lover, but to hear how much Mark and your grandson love them too makes my heart sing.

      The most I ever had at one time was two. Four cats must be so much fun. I know how much you love animals, and I think it would be awesome if sometime (hint, hint) you posted photos of them on your blog and shared about their distinct personalities. I would love “meeting” them.

      It doesn’t surprise me that you knew about direct registering (even if you didn’t recognize the name). With your love of animals I would expect no less.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and dropped by to comment. Hugs, my Penderpal! πŸ€— ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Mae! You know, I’ve been thinking about sharing pictures of some of my cats, both current and past. We’ve had some truly special ones over the years. As for my grandson, I set up my Cats screensaver for him one day, and after about 30 minutes, he came walking “mechanically” into the living room to announce in a very “robotic” voice, “Danger, danger … cuteness overload. Cuteness overload.” And his daily mantra is, “You can’t have too many cats.” If he’s like this at nine, who knows what he’ll be like in another ten years or so? He’ll be that Crazy Cat Lady we’ve all heard about. Except a teenage boy. And not TOO crazy. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I heard that some animals had the ability, but did not know that cats were one of them. It is amazing to watch. What a great ability to have. When you said about you trying that, I had such a picture in my head.


    • LOL! Yep, I would be a pretzel ending up on the floor, Michele. I’m not the most graceful person to begin with and this would just do me in.

      I had never heard of this trait before (in any animals). It doesn’t surprise me that cats would be among those who are able to do this, considering how graceful they are. And I agree–the vid is just amazing to watch. I can play it over and over! πŸ˜„


    • Thanks for the well wishes, Robbie. I know you understand how rough it can be trying to juggle a demanding job with everything else. I hope the changes you’ve made are treating you well.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the video. Thanks so much for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mae, my company really wanted me to stay on, so I have agreed, subject to certain changes. I have yet to see how that pans out. My husband is currently in intensive care with meningitis which has cause a blood clot in the membrane surrounding the brain so life is a bit of a muddle right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, Robbie, I had no idea about your husband. I’m so sorry. I will send up prayers for his recovery. I can’t imagine what you must be going through.

        I do hope the changes with your job work out the way you hope. It shows how valuable you are that the company wants you to stay and is agreeing to changes.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I knew about this, but I didn’t know that foxes do the same. Two days ago, I saw paw prints in the snow, and I figured it was the neighborhood bobcat. When I checked my chart, I was stunned to learn it was a fox. Still unsure if I identified the track properly, I got back to work — and the fox returned!


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