Keeping Your Cat’s Paws Clean

Claire Dunling

Scratching, climbing, padding and pouncing – these are just a few of the important tasks your cat’s paws carry out. Find out what precautions you can take to keep your cat’s paws clean and they are still a mean climbing machine…

Indoor hazards

Your cat will most likely have access to the majority of your home, much to the annoyance of the dog, so the likelihood of transferring chemicals from the floor cleansers to the kitchen worktops or dining table is a possibility. They could also ingest the chemicals themselves if they groom their paws soon after. If you have an indoor cat, there is also the chance of bacteria being transferred from the litter tray to places where you prepare food.

Outdoor risks

For outdoors cats, standing on glass or sharp gravel is a high risk. Weather dependent, they could burn their paws on the hot tarmac during the summer months and cause blistering. Or, during the winter months, they could incur damage and irritation to their paws if they come into contact with harsh de-icing salts or chemicals.

Another outdoor hazard to your cat’s paws is poisonous substances. This could be anything from walking on grounds treated by pesticides like slug pellets to coming into contact with poisonous plants or weeds. It’s important to get into the habit of keeping your cat’s paws clean to minimise the risk of ingesting something poisonous when they come home and before they begin to groom themselves.

Checking & cleaning paws

We all know that cats are experts at hiding pain, this is part of their innate survival instinct, so be mindful of any changes in behaviour – are they holding a paw up, limping or putting pressure on a particular paw? Maybe they are grooming a certain paw more than usual?

While some will love nothing more than having their cat paws cleaned – others will hate it. So, try and get your cat used to having their paws checked. Make a habit of massaging their feet, checking in between pads for cuts, sore or splinters when you pick them up and pet them. If you notice a foreign object, gently tweeze out and clean the affected area. Is your fellow feline affected by a case of cheesy tootsies? If you do notice an odour, puss or any blood – take to your vet for inspection as soon as possible.

For the select few who like water, you can opt for a cleansing and moisturising shampoo. For the majority of cats who hate water, go for easy to use wipes and sprays. For cats that suffer from skin allergies, their paws may become irritated, sore and cracked, especially during the colder months. You can try massaging some coconut or olive oil to improve the condition at home. If the problem persists, contact your vet.

So, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor, get some wipes, like the Vetruus CLX Cleansing Wipes or a damp cloth, and get cleaning and checking!

This article is for guidance only and if you have any concerns about your pet you should always seek the advice of a qualified vet.

If in doubt contact your veterinary practice

And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!