Cat paws get a lot of attention on social media because a small cat paw is downright cute. You should give your cat's feet the same adoring attention at home to ensure their paws are healthy and pain free. Watch out for these five signs of paw problems in your feline.
1. Chewing at Paws
When your cat obsessively chews at one or more paws, you should stop and inspect the affected paws. You'll find other signs of paw problems if the chewing is related to an injury, fungal infection, or other serious foot issue.
Inspect a cat's foot by gently squeezing on the foot until the nails are extended. You can see the anatomy of the foot and check for cuts and other trauma. Wrap squirmy cats in a towel or small blanket when you inspect the toes, and only work with one foot out of the wrap at a time.
If your cat is a hairy beast, he or she may have long hairs growing between the toe pads. The long hairs can be irritating, so your cat chews away at them. Solve this problem by carefully trimming your cat's foot hair.
2. Dirt on Paws
Are your cat's paws covered in mud, dirt, or other debris? If your cat stepped in a foul or toxic liquid, your normally fastidious pet may not want to clean the filth off of their soiled paws. Lack of personal cleanliness can also be a sign that a feline is ill.
Clean up the mud from your cat's paws, and also check for cuts and debris. You may also want to determine where the mud or dirt originated. If your cat is stepping in raw sewage or other toxic material, clean up the material or deny your cat access to it. Dirty water can spread diseases to your cat.
3. Blood on Paws
If you see a bloody spot on top of your cat's paws or in the paw print, investigate immediately. Gently wash away blood with warm, soapy water. Then look for a laceration or other source of bleeding after the blood is cleared away.
Your cat's paw can bleed from the following injuries:
- Glass fragment in the paw
- Rip in toe or the nail
- Splinter or other debris in the paw
- Injury from another animal
- Chemicals on floor or outdoors
Remove any foreign object, wash the cut or puncture wound thoroughly, and rinse the site of the wound with clean, warm water. Call your veterinarian if the site becomes infected, hot to the touch, or swollen.
4. Cracked or Swollen Paws
If your cat's paws look cracked or swollen, a fungal, parasitic, or bacterial infestation may be to blame. Veterinarians call the disease pododermatitis. Symptoms of pododermatitis also include small masses in paws, discharge from paws, fluid buildup on paws, and painful paws.
Cracked, oozing, and swollen paws can be caused by other issues, including:
- Decreased thyroid hormones
- Poor grooming
- Environmental irritants
If your cat has pododermatitis, the veterinarian will prescribe treatment that may include soaking, packing, and bandaging the paws. If the paw issue is caused by an allergic reaction, your cat may be placed on a hypoallergenic diet.
When your cat limps, it's not always a sign of a paw problem. But sometimes, cracked, itchy, painful paws may be the cause of your cat's limp. If your cat starts hobbling or favoring one foot, start looking for the source of the problem at the paws and work your way up the cat's leg.
Your cat may have a broken bone or other physical problem causing the limp. If you can't find the source of your cat's limp, schedule a visit to the veterinarian's office to have your pet checked out and treated.
Pay attention to your cat's toes, and have cat paw problems diagnosed in Livonia, Michigan by contacting Healthy Paws Veterinary Hospital & House Calls today. We also offer veterinary services at our convenient Belleville and Westland offices.