Paw Scrapes in Cats and Kittens
Cats live on their paws – they’re a cat’s most valuable tool, used to jump, pounce and play. With all this wear and tear, it’s no wonder paws sometimes get worn a little too thin. Scrapes on the delicate pads of cats’ paws are painful and can even become infected if not properly treated.
Learn how to recognize the symptoms of paw scrapes in cats and how to provide at-home treatment yourself.
Causes of Cat Paw Scrapes
Scraped paws are usually the result of physical trauma, like playing on a rough surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. An outdoor cat is more likely to have small objects like splinters or pebbles get stuck in paw pads. Always inspect your pet’s paws after a trip outside, as embedded objects can become infected, leading to an abscess requiring surgery.
Cat paw scrapes can also be caused by irritants, in some cases more of a burn. Automotive fluids, like antifreeze, as well as de-icing chemicals such as rock salt, cause chemical reactions on pets’ paws that create heat.
Cat Paw Scrape Symptoms
This injury is relatively minor, and most paw scrapes heal with time. Signs of more serious paw scrapes include refusing to put weight on the paw, limping, excessive licking, and meowing in pain. Any swelling, serious bleeding, or loose skin on the paw pad may indicate infection and should be looked at by a veterinarian.
How To Treat Cat Paw Scrapes
At-home treatment is the best option for minor paw scrapes. Wash the affected area with clean, warm water two or three times a day. Putting an open wound in the litter box is a recipe for infection, so try using a protective sock or bootie on the injured paw. (DIY your own cat boot using a child’s sock and medical tape.) Animal-safe antiseptic sprays are available at pet supply stores to prevent bacterial infection. If the wound hasn’t healed within a week, make an appointment with your vet.
Veterinary treatment for deeper or more serious paw scrapes can involve stitches, temporary bandages, and antibiotics to ward off a potential infection.
Preventing Paw Scrapes in Cats
When your cat is young, don’t let them play on rough surfaces, and try not to let them outside at all! Inspect your cat’s paws regularly for any abnormalities or injuries. If you handle your pet’s paws as a kitten, it can make grooming as an adult much easier! Cats with long fur should have the tufts between their paw pads trimmed to prevent items like burrs or gravel from getting stuck in them. Lotions for worn out or cracked paw pads are available at pet supply stores.
Both adult cats and kittens are prone to scraping the delicate pads of their paws. Regular grooming and keeping your cat inside can help prevent this injury. Most paw scrapes heal on their own, but if your cat’s wound still hasn’t closed after a week or appears swollen and oozy, make an appointment with your vet.