Cats are curious creatures and meticulous groomers. When it comes to their paws, those two characteristics can mean trouble. Healthy paws are essential to having a healthy cat, so here are six ways to make sure your kitty’s claws are in tip-top shape.
1. Keep Your Cat’s Claws
Declawing is not the answer to paw care. This procedure amputates the end of the cat’s toes, which can be uncomfortable during recovery and possibly for years to come.
Instead of declawing, trim your cat’s nails and provide several scratching posts. In most cases, your kitty will be much more interested in scratching a catnip-scented post than your furniture.
2. Keep the Paws Clean
Your cat’s tiny feet carry her everywhere, including the litter box and across the floors you just cleaned.
Household cleaners and litter can get on the cat’s tongue when she grooms herself. To minimize ingestion of these substances, wipe down kitty’s paws once a day with a damp cloth.
3. Provide Scratching Surfaces
Scratching is instinctual for cats. They do it to shed the outer nail sheath to reveal sharp, smooth nails underneath.
Provide several scratching posts in your home. If your cat isn’t attracted to the post at first, sprinkle some catnip over it.
4. Moisturize Cracked Pads
Just as your hands and feet are affected by heat, dry air or hot surfaces, so are your cat’s paws.
Keep the pads moisturized and protected by rubbing a non-toxic moisturizer into the pads once a day. Olive oil is safe for regular use in small amounts. You can also purchase over-the-counter pad creams made for cats and dogs.
Be aware that any moisturizer will have a slight laxative effect on your cat.
5. Examine Your Cat’s Paws Regularly
There’s no telling what your cat might get into, so check his paws regularly for signs of injury. Look for cuts, splinters, sores or swelling, especially if your cat goes outdoors.
If you notice any blood, pus or foul odors, take your cat to the vet for an examination.
6. Trim Kitty’s Nails
Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed can spare your furniture and rugs, but you’ll still need to keep some scratching posts around as well. Follow these steps to trim your cat’s nails:
- Hold your cat firmly in one arm. Wrap your cat in a towel if you need to.
- Press the top of the paw gently with your thumb to extend the claw.
- Snip off the tip of the nail, being careful to avoid the quick. If you hold the paw up to the light, you’ll see that the quick is the thick pink area near the center of the nail.
- Give your cat a treat after each claw is completed until you’ve finished all the nails on the front paws.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share for taking care of your cat’s paws? Please share them with us in the comments.