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Cat's paw is a form of "pippy" wood or perhaps burl wood where the little dots occur in a pattern that is strongly similar to the pattern of a cat's paw (see how obvious the name is?). I've only seen it in cherry and oak but it may occur in other woods. It is, in my experience, a very sparse pattern and an almost meaningless term as far as useful woodworking goes.


cat's paw burl in oak veneer

cherry veneer with small areas of cat's paw