What to do When Your Cat Has a Paw Problem

Animals don’t tend to seek our help when they have a wound. In fact, they tend to try to hide an injury because in the animal world, injuries are perceived as weakness and the weak animals are singled-out and picked on, even killed. They instinctively put on a tough face much of the time.

Licking paw constantly

Let’s imagine that you’ve noticed your cat licking his paw constantly. This is typically a sign of pain. A more overt sign would be a limp. Depending on the relationship that you have with your cat, you may or may not be able to take a look at the paw.

It’s a good idea to get animals used to having their paws played with so that they will be fine with you inspecting for damage later. If you’ve not done this training, it will be much harder.

Cats will tend to scratch and don’t think twice about biting if they are in pain and/or frightened. You cannot really blame them as they have no other way to let you know they are hurting. If you can, try to inspect the paw. Look between the pads of the foot for splinters, thorns, cuts or abrasions.

Check the nails to see if any are broken or missing. A missing claw can be very sore if it was torn loose. You may need to visit the vet to have it looked at if there is an open wound.

It’s a good idea to keep antiseptics on hand that will help wounds like this. A spray is best so that you make as little contact as possible. Wrapping a foot is a great idea but cats won’t typically leave the dressings alone. You’ll also benefit from having a cone, sometimes called an Elizabethan collar or e-collar.

These can keep animals from licking wounds and unraveling wound dressings and bandages. Cats are very typically impossible to keep bandages on without an e-collar.

If you do not see a cut, abrasion or sign of a wound, it may be necessary to have a veterinarian take a look at the foot. If there is swelling and no sign of a wound, you may try giving some Benadryl and waiting a few hours to see if the swelling goes down on its own.

Sometimes their curiosity causes them to be stung by a bee or other bug on the paw. Usually, if this is the case, Benadryl will remedy the situation.

If the swelling persists or gets worse, then definitely visit the veterinarian and rule out anything being broken or severely sprained. They do get twisted joints just like humans do.

Cats are very physically active acrobats. Being an athletic sort of animal that can jump up to six times the length of their own body, they definitely sustain injuries from time to time.

Foreign Object

If you do find a piece of glass, a splinter or other foreign object stuck in the foot, try soaking the paw in some warm water with a bit of salt in it. Yes, it will sting just a bit, but salt is a natural remedy to draw things out of the body. It will help pull the foreign body out.

It will also draw out any potential infection before it gets started. If it is a splinter, this will soften it up and generally cause it to rub out with a light towel rub, or just fall out in the water on its own. Wrap your cat in a towel to prevent injury to you or to them.

Glass will often come out in warm water as well. Don’t dig at it though. Soak in water and then pat the pad of the foot dry. Use a piece of duct tape and stick to the bottom of the foot, trying to get the foreign object to stick to it, and pull the tape off. With luck, your sticker, splinter, glass, or whatever it is will be stuck to the tape now.

If you cannot get the object out on your own, then immobilize the foot as well as you can and head to the vet. They may have to anesthetize your cat in order to be able to extract the problem. You may have to give your baby an antibiotic to ensure there is no infection.

Declawed Cats

Cats heal very quickly and will likely be none the worse for the wear within a couple of days. If you can’t find anything, then you may still want the veterinarian to give them an exam and take an x-ray. If you’ve got a cat that has been declawed and starts limping, seek the vet clinic right away if there is nothing in their foot.

They have problems with bones in the foot breaking down as a result of the declawing process. This issue can be excruciatingly painful and needs veterinary care immediately.

The declawing process is not just removal of the claw. The entire first joint of the digit is removed. It would be like having your finger removed to the first knuckle, every finger. You might be able to imagine how painful that might be.

Now try to imagine that the bone that is left begins pushing through the left-over flesh on the end of each finger until it pokes through and causes an open wound. This is what happens to the poor cats and they must walk on them.  The pain can be intense and leave them lame. Treatment in this case is essential.

 

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