A paw is the soft foot of a mammal, generally a quadruped, that has claws or nails. A hard foot is called a hoof. Paws are used to pad feet for walking and reduce friction.
The paw is characterised by thick, pigmented, keratinised, hairless epidermis covering subcutaneous, collagenous, adipose tissue which make up the pads. These pads act as a cushion for the load-bearing limbs of the animal. The paw consists of the large, heart-shaped metacarpal pad (forelimb) or metatarsal pad (rear limb), and generally four load bearing digital pads.(Wikipedia.org)