What to do about a swollen cat paw?
Swollen paws in cats can be the result of an accident or a number of other issues, which can make diagnosis difficult. Thankfully, more often than not, the causes of swelling are curable.
Cats will often hide injuries like foot swelling, so if you catch your cat limping, or favoring one paw over another, you will need to investigate further to make sure it’s not more serious.
Swollen Paws in Cats
How can you know if your cat has a sore or swollen paw?
Sometimes it will be obvious – the paw may be visibly enlarged, the paw pads may be discolored with infection, or you might catch your cat limping.
Here are some of the other signs that your cat’s paw may have an infection, fungus, or injury:
- excessive grooming of the paw
- less activity to avoid using the injured paw
- a bad or unusual smell
- less interested in food
The other big sign that your cat has a paw problem is that she is unwilling to let you look at the paw, and doesn’t want you to investigate. However, if you are able to sit down with your cat and get her comfortable to have a good look, this is obviously advisable.
Why is my cat’s paw swollen?
The main reason for a swollen cat paw is infection. This might be from an unkempt toenail or, most often, a bite from another animal.
Depending on where you are in the world, any number of animals could have bitten your cat’s paw to bring on the infection. Another cat is the most likely culprit, but it may also have been a dog, a raccoon, a rat, an insect, or even been a snake.
Other causes of swelling in cat’s paws include:
Object penetration – Your cat may have something stuck inside its foot or paw. This could be a splinter of wood or glass, a thorn or prickle, or even something more benign.
Insect sting – The world is so full of dodgy insects, and depending on where you live, your cat might have been bitten by one. Bee stings are relatively common and can cause issues especially if the stinger remains in the foot.
Cuts – Your cat may have cut her paw pad while out on an adventure. This happens easily enough, and most often it will heal fine. However, problems arise if it becomes infected.
Break or sprain – A broken bone in the foot or leg, or even a sprain, will bring on swelling. More than some of the other causes, this will usually be obvious with a significant limp or desire not to move.
Claws – Your cat’s claws may be overgrown, ingrown, or even perhaps lost. Cats can lose claws in fights or more often when climbing trees and taking a fall. The resulting wound may become infected.
There are other more unusual and less common reasons for a sore cat paw. One example is a condition known as plasma cell pododermatitis. This is a relatively rare condition thought to be caused by a manic immune system, predominantly in the paws tissues.
What can I give my cat for a swollen paw?
What are the treatments for swollen cat paws?
The most important thing you can do is take your puss to the vet asap. It’s best not to leave a persistent problem to see if it will heal itself or come right.
The treatment will then of course vary depending on the underlying cause. In the case of an infection, antibiotics are typically used, along with the cleaning and monitoring of the foot.
If the cause was something like an insect bite or sting, antihistamines and steroids may also be used.
If the cat has a sprained leg or foot, and there is suspicion of a break, your vet will take an x-ray. The treatments for a cat’s broken leg are more significant, and will likely require surgery.
Preventing problems with cat paws
There are a few things you can do to prevent your cat from getting an infected paw or other foot problem.
- keep their nails trimmed so that they don’t catch on something and get pulled away
- have your cat spayed or neutered so as to reduce chances they will get in a fight with other cats
- have regular yearly check-ups with your vet to ensure other possible causes are kept under control
The best thing you can do is to make sure you know your pussy, keep an eye on her so that if anything happens during the course of an ordinary day, you catch it quickly. Minor problems can become major problems if left undiagnosed and untreated.