How often do you cut your cat’s nails? Are its claws growing into its pad? If that’s the case, then your kitty’s condition could be causing it immense pain.
There’s even potential for permanent damage if immediate steps aren’t taken to resolve the issue.
What Causes Cat Ingrown Nails?
Look closely at your cat’s paws, and you’ll notice that its nails are curved. Normally, running around and exercise will wear down the edges, keeping the nails sharp. If you’ve ever caught your cat clawing at the carpet or furniture, this is what it’s doing. However, indoor pets often don’t get enough of a workout. And if you don’t trim your cat’s nails often enough, they may start growing into your pet’s footpad. This can have devastating effects like sores and infections.
How to Spot the Issue?
If your cat’s claw is growing into its pad, it should be pretty easy to spot. You may notice:
- Swelling in the toe or pad
- Clear signs of sensitivity like limping
- Bleeding or redness on the pad of the cat’s foot
Often there will be telltale signs in your cat’s behavior. It may chew or bite at its paw aggressively because it feels a pinching sensation. Alternatively, your cat may give up on grooming that area altogether.
Additionally, certain breeds like Persians that are more docile and have long hair are more prone to ingrown claw problems. Older cats may have brittle bones and nails, which results in much the same issue.
Overall, cat parents with sedentary pets, especially those in single cat households that don’t get a lot of playing time, should look out for issues like ingrown nails.
All that brings us to the question of how to cut cat claws growing into the pad? What steps should you take based on the severity of the condition?
Treating Your Cat’s Ingrown Nails
If you have caught the problem early and your cat’s ingrown nails are causing it slight discomfort, you may fix the problem at home.
Gently hold your cat in place and closely inspect its ingrown nail. Carefully clip the edges or uneven portions of your pet’s nail using special cat nail clippers. A good place to cut is slightly above where the claw curves into your cat’s paw pad.
In many cases, the excess nail will simply fall off, and the matter will be resolved. However, if this does not happen, you use blunt-tipped tweezers to remove it with the utmost care.
Clean out the wound using mild antiseptic soap and treat any infection that has occurred. You may need to repeat this step several times a day over the course of a week as your cat’s paw pad heals.
Additionally, continue clipping small sections of the nail until you reach a manageable length. Remember, this is a gradual process, and you should see clear signs of skin healing.
When your cat begins to show serious symptoms such as bleeding or limping, you will need to contact your vet.
If the ingrown nail is particularly deep and has caused severe bleeding, you should take your cat to a clinic. Depending on the level of infection, your vet may prescribe an antibiotic.
In rare cases where a cat’s claw keeps growing into its pad, a vet may suggest declawing. This is a serious and permanent measure that is only suitable in extreme and recurrent cases. If your vet does inform you of this option, make sure you research all the pros and cons of the situation.
After declawing, a cat will need to relearn how to walk using that paw and may find it extremely painful.
Once you have dealt with the short-term repercussions of ingrown nails, you must make major changes to your cat’s routine to prevent a recurrence.
This includes more exercise and exposure to hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete that automatically file your pet’s nails.
You may want to invest in a scratching post and spend more time playing with your cat regularly. For cat breeds with long hair, owners should trim the hair of their paws so they are easily visible. Often, when a cat’s claw grows into its paw, the fur will hide the wounds letting the issue go undiagnosed until it becomes severe.
How Often Should You Cut Your Cat’s Nails?
While the specifics vary depending on your cat’s breed and age, most pets require nail trimming once every 4 to 8 weeks.
If your cat has misaligned toes or a specific malformation, it may be more susceptible to ingrown nails. Your vet will inform you if this is the case. Inspect your cat’s paws once every 3 weeks to see if there are any signs of overgrowth. The sooner you spot the problem, the easier it is to resolve it.