What To Do If Your Cat's Paw Is Swollen

Cat paws come in all shapes and sizes, but noticing that your cat's paw has become swollen and enlarged can be alarming. Unfortunately, this can occur from a variety of injuries and illnesses, so it's important to know how to handle the situation should it ever happen to you and your cat. Keep reading to learn why a swollen paw is such a big problem and how to handle it.

Danger of Swelling

The most likely reason behind a cat's paw swelling is some kind of injury, infection, or both. Many cats experience swollen paws after being in a fight with another animal and suffering a bite to the limb. Bites can easily infect wounds, which leads to the area swelling. In some situations, a cat's paw can swell simply from being injured or broken.

Regardless of the reason, a swelling paw is a major problem. If there's an underlying infection, it can begin to spread to the rest of the body if it's left untreated. Even without an infection, swelling can cut off circulation to the limb, which could cause damage to the cells. Without adequate blood flow and the oxygen it carries, your cat's limb could end up needing to be amputated. Time is of the essence, so you must act quickly if your cat's paw is swollen.

How To Respond

Your very first step should be to call an emergency animal hospital to make an appointment. If it's possible, ask to be seen right away. Most emergency animal hospitals offer drop-in emergency appointments.

If you have to wait a while to see the vet, you should try to make your cat comfortable. Try to keep them off their paw as much as possible to avoid further injury. Bring their food, water, and litter box closer to their preferred place to sleep so they don't have to walk far. If possible, encourage your cat to rest on or near a cold pack to help reduce swelling in the limb.

Veterinary Trip

Once you arrive at the animal hospital, your cat's limb will be examined thoroughly. Your vet may need to shave the fur off the leg to look for injuries and wounds. If a wound or injury is found, your vet will work to treat it. If an injury isn't found, your vet will examine the rest of your cat to determine if there's a wound somewhere else and the bacteria from the wound has traveled to your cat's limb.

Depending on the cause of your cat's swelling, they could come home the same day with a course of antibiotics to be given at home. If the problem is more severe, they may require hospitalization to bring down the swelling and fully any wounds and to set bones if there has been a break.

A swollen paw is one thing pet owners should never ignore. If your cat's paw appears to be swollen or painful to the touch, seek immediate assistance from an animal hospital.