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Cat Horned Paws (Cutaneous): What is it & What Can You Do About Them?

Cutaneous horns grow in cats and are found in the footpads. They grow at the skin’s surface and are tiny, though they can grow large in rare cases. They look like horns, and that’s the reason why they are known as Cutaneous Horns.

Their appearance is often confused with second nails because they grow close to the nails. If the cutaneous horns are not on the surfaces that carry the weight, they can’t cause lameness. However, if they are at the bottom of the leg, cats may find it hard to walk.

They are common in many cats, and there is no cause for alarm. But as a cat owner, you are advised to keep a close eye.  Engage a vet in case of any major changes.

This article will discuss what cat horned paws are, what causes cat horned paws, and how to handle them. Further, we will highlight what causes cat horn paws to swell, preventive measures, and treatment.

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Cat Horny Paw – What Is It?

Cat Horny Paw
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Horned paws in cats is a feline skin condition that grows on the cat’s paw pads. But they are not limited to footpads only since they can grow on the face or any other part of the body. Besides, they can grow singly or in a group on multiple paw pads.

The Cause

The reason for their growth is the overproduction of keratin. We know keratin is the protein responsible for the growth of hair and nails. So, when it comes in excess to the cats, they get the horned paws. You may opt to ignore the horns since they seem to be harmless.

The most affected are the indoor cats because of inactivity. They often stay in the house, so the chances of climbing trees, scratching is minimal. But unfortunately, horny paws don’t fall by themselves, so you have to look for solutions for your cat.

Side Effects

Their side effect is harmless clacking that is not dangerous. But, according to some Vet doctors, the horned paws may have a connection with underlying viral disease, skin condition, or cancer. Despite that, they don’t hurt cats, so be keen to notice any weird occurrences.3 cat divider

Related Questions

Are They Painful?

Not really. When you look at a cat with cutaneous horns, they usually behave in a normal way. Some even climb the trees without showing many struggles. But, since the paws protrude from the skin’s surface, it may get injured, thus being infected causing pain to the cat.

Is It a Good Idea to Wash the Cat’s Paws?

Yes, you can wash them. Wipe the paws with soap and look out for any foreign object. If you notice any wounds or infections, consider taking the cat to the vet.

Should You Trim Your Cats Horn Paws or Not?

You can trim the cutaneous horns like other nails though it is risky. The trimming can cause lots of breeding, discomforts, infections. But, again, how will you know if you are not interfering with healthy tissue?

That is why it is advisable to seek confirmation from the vet. At times you may think you are dealing with cutaneous horns but find yourself dealing with other tumors. So pay a visit to the doctor, and if they find it necessary, they will trim the paws.

What Else Can Be Done Instead of Trimming?

If your cat is not showing any sign of discomfort, you can soften the tissue. For example, use balms, emollients, or moisturizers that are pet-friendly. But note that these will not remove the horns, neither will they prevent the paws from growing.

Alternatively, you can do laser declawing. According to vet doctors, this method is ideal since the toes don’t go to trauma. In addition, the procedure involves nerve endings sealing that prevents lots of pain and bleeding.

Can You Surgically Remove Cutaneous Horns?

The paws can be removed if deemed necessary. Three things can make the Vet doctors remove them, and they include, if:

  • They are limiting mobility
  • They are growing rapidly
  • They have a link to underlying skin or systemic diseases

The procedure is done when the cat is in sedation (light sedation). Then the doctor excises the horns from the base of the growth. Further, the cat is given Azithromycin or Interferon for pain reduction and discomforts.

What Makes Cat Horn Paw’s Swell?

There are many ways that a cat can get swelling on the paws. The critical thing to do is get to the root cause to know how to offer treatment. Let’s look at some of the causes.

1. Injury

You can’t keep your cat contained all day long. It will want to loiter around and understand its surrounding. Unfortunately, it can land to severe injuries and injure itself in many ways.

They include:
  • Punctures – The cat can land on sharp objects causing the paw to be punctured. The scenario is expected of cats that love to investigate. They may be caught up in between sharp objects, and the paw can get inflamed in the process.
  • Abscesses – Mostly the male cats are the ones in danger of abscesses. When they go out, they fight with other cats while trying to protect their territory. The cat’s mouths are dirty and have bacteria. After the bite, the wound contacts the bacteria and becomes infected.
  • Fractures – These occur anywhere, whether the cat is inside or outside the house. If it likes jumping around, the possibility of broken bones is possible. At times it may also get in an accident at home or even fight with another animal.
  • Sprains – The cats get them from rough play, landing on rough surfaces after a long jump or leaping. The paws, as we know, act as shock absorbers. When the cat doesn’t land on the ground properly, it gets injured. That leads to puffy paws or strained legs.
  • Foreign Objects – Foreign objects like thorns, broken glasses can be stuck in your cat’s paws. That causes irritation and can cause paws damage if not detected early. So, if your cat has a paw, consider checking for such things regularly.
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2. Insect Bites and Stings

Can Cats Eat Bugs
Photo credit: Stelogic, Pixabay

Most cats stay indoors, though out of curiosity, they can go outside. That brings the cat to the danger of having insect bites and stings. Interesting, cats are fascinated by the buzzing of bees and skittering insects. That makes them want to see what’s the sound is all about.

They end up being injured or bees stinging, which makes the paw bleed excessively. The stinger may also remain in the injured paw causing inflammation and discomfort. You have to remove it to avoid more discomfort.

Insect bites like those of scorpions and ants bring about allergic reactions. The result is difficulty in breathing, vomiting, or death.

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3. Pododermatitis

It is also called pillow foot because it causes abrupt swelling to the cat’s paw. The swelling is associated with an excessive inflammatory response. But other underlying causes are known to trigger paw swelling, namely;

  • Immune disorders
  • Feline leukemia
  • Fungi, parasite, or bacterial infection
  • Trauma
  • Cancer, etc.
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4. Nail Growth

Cats trim nails by scratching posts and rough things. When that doesn’t happen, a cat’s nails grow to an unmanageable size. Long nails can trap lots of dirt, and when the cat is walking around, they get stuck to objects. That’s causes paws injuries, infections, or inflammation.3 cat divider

Treatment for Cat’s Horned Swollen Paw

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Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

Once you discover your cat’s paws are swollen, give a visit to the vet. Generally, cats cannot take medication positively. A simple cat painkiller like Tylenol may kill the cat. So before administering any medication, discuss with your vet.

Possible scenario are bees sting or insect bites an antihistamine will be given. If the paws are swollen because of abscesses, it will require draining and a dose of antibiotics. When a fracture has occurred, expect surgery if the damage is advanced.

Remember to discuss with your vet how to take care of the cat as it recovers. For example, a simple collection of litter may bring about further infections. So let your vet recommend how you can do it to avoid the infection collecting more dust.3 cat divider

Final Thoughts

It is imperative to keep checking your cat pad paws to recognize whether they are affected by cutaneous. Cats can hide pain and injuries very well. So your cat may suffer under your nose, and you have no idea.

Never give treatment to cats with cutaneous without consulting your vet. As we mentioned, some treatments can lead to severe damage or death to cats. So before you think of treating your furry friend, consult with the vet.

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Featured Image Credit: Motortion Films, Shutterstock

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