Common Cat Paw Problems

Cat paw problems can cause your pet severe discomfort and affect his livelihood significantly. Because cats use their paws for a variety of tasks, including movement, hunting and playing, they are frequently exposed to injury and other problems. Identifying a cat paw problem is the first step toward treating it. Here are some of the most common cat paw injuries and conditions.

Cat Paw Injuries

Perhaps the most common cat paw condition is an injury of some type. Indoor cats may have their paws stuck under furniture or in a doorframe. Cats that spend time outside tend to be the most prone to paw injuries. The most common types are cuts to the paw pad, and paws that have been smashed in some way.

The easiest way to determine whether your cat has a paw injury of some kind is to notice his walk. Cats that have suffered an injury to a paw will favor that paw as they move. They might even limp or hold the paw off the ground if the pain is bad enough. If you notice your pet behaving in this way, gently examine his paw. If you notice signs of a cut or other injury, clean the wound carefully. Otherwise, take your pet to a veterinarian for further examination and treatment.

Complications of Declawing Procedures

Many pet owners have their cats declawed to prevent scratching and damage to the floor and furniture. While this procedure is generally safe for the animal, there are occasions when complications will result. A certain recovery period is normal, during which your pet may show signs of pain. However, your cat’s paws can become infected or swollen as well. In these cases, your cat will limp while walking and may even hold his paws in the air while sitting or lying down. A visit to the vet is advisable in these cases.

Other Cat Paw Problems

It is not uncommon for cats to receive insect bites or stings to their paws. While these are not unlike cuts to the pads and other minor injuries, stings and bites often result in some minor swelling of the paw. Most of these injuries will improve in a short period of time, but it's helpful to keep an eye on your cat in these cases. If his pain continues or becomes worse over a few days, take him to the vet.

Treating and Preventing Paw Problems

In most cases, cat paw problems will resolve themselves in a short period of time. In cases of infection, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or other painkillers to reduce inflammation, swelling and discomfort.

The best way to prevent paw injuries is to monitor your cat’s outdoor time. Keep him inside the house as much as possible in order to reduce his risk of paw injury, and examine his paws upon any indication of pain. If you can't determine the source of the injury, or if your home treatment methods prove insufficient, take him to see your vet.