Irritated Cat Paw Pads

Written by david lipscomb Google
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Irritated Cat Paw Pads
Irritated cat paws require diagnosis and treatment. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Cats are curious animals that love to explore. If your cat spends much of its time outdoors, you can expect that at some point it will come inside with a raw or infected pad. There's no reason to panic; pads on the feet of cats are pretty sensitive. Plenty of simple over-the-counter and home remedies exist to diagnose and treat cat pads. However, you should always keep your vet in the loop.

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Warning Signs

Limping cats or animals that constantly bite or chew at their foot indicate that you need to take a look. Take a look at the pad. Excessive swelling or puffiness is a sign of a possible allergic reaction or penetration from a thorn or splinter. Remember, however, that a bloody or raw pad may have been caused by the animal itself in an attempt to treat it on its own. In the event that you see pustules or other anomalies, take the cat to the veterinarian for treatment.

Open Sores

Litter box-trained cats have two things going against them in the case of a cut or other abrasion. Litter boxes are cat facilities, impregnated with drying agents. This instantly creates a rough and painful scenario for the animal. Additionally, litter boxes are far from sanitary. It is critical to immediately have any open wounds or punctures cleaned out and bandaged, prior to delivery to the vet. There, diagnosis for further inspection is in order.


Cat-specific skin diseases are also a possible cause of a rough pad. A particularly uncomfortable affliction is called pemphingus. This is caused by an immune system deficiency in cats, identifiable by the bumps and pimples found on cat feet and faces. As the pimples die off, they become rough, scabby and prone to infection. Pillow foot is the nickname for a disease called pododermatitis. This disease does not have a definitive cause, but can be identified by the bruised and puffy appearance of the foot. Cats don't seem to find this painful, but it should be treated via antibiotic to maintain proper mobility.


Cats are aggressive and playful, displaying smaller scale behaviour similar to that of the larger jungle cats from which they descend. As a result, they do ill-advised things, such as fighting other cats, chasing stinging and biting insects and taking daring leaps from high places. Additionally, cats that spend a lot of time inside tend to have paws that may not be as rough and durable as an outside feline, making injury more likely as the pad roughens.

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