“Why are my cat’s paw pads peeling?!” might be one of the strangest things you can catch yourself Googling on a Friday afternoon as you’re sipping on your chamomile tea.
So, that might have been something you’ve had the displeasure of dealing with before. Or, that might be something you’re coming across for the first time. But, seeing your cat’s paw pads literally falling apart doesn’t come easy.
Oh, paw pads are pretty much the most adored and appreciated parts of my munchkin’s body. Sure, she’s got her adorable, little whiskers and her fluffy, perked-up ears. She’s got her pouty snout and her soft and snuggly tail.
But, there’s hardly anything as endearing as her wiggly paw pads tapping on the floor as she’s running towards me. She doesn’t shy away from showing me her fluffy pillows whenever she catches a glimpse of me from across the room.
She puts them to use because walking, running, hopping, and bouncing seem to be a regular part of her morning (and nighttime) routine. And, she takes care of them by licking them clean and hydrating them with saliva (which she considers better than Crème de la Mer!).
As delicate as paw pads might seem, they tend to get pretty rough and tough with wear and tear. And, while you might think “Oh, there’s nothing strange about a little redness!” – those bad boys shouldn’t flake or peel without an apparent reason.
But don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with freaking out and scheduling an appointment with your vet the moment that you notice your fluffer’s little beans becoming rugged and dry. As a matter of fact, we’re bringing you everything you need to know about your cat’s paw pads peeling.
Buckle up and get ready for a ride!
Why do I need to take care of my cat’s paw pads?
How many times have you witnessed your frisky feline licking her beans after an exhausting day of running around the backyard, chasing after bees and butterflies, and hopping through puddles? And, how many times have you seen her chewing on something after grooming her paw pads?
Come on, munching on her grubby paws doesn’t sound like something she should do after a day of adventures.
Muddy beans and filthy fluff aside, we shouldn’t forget about the harsh and rocky surfaces she might have stepped over and the thorns and other sharp objects she might have picked up on the way.
Now, she’s purrfectly capable of taking care of her hygiene. But, there’s nothing wrong with offering her a helping hand with some of the dirty work. When she’s done playing and causing trouble, make sure you spread her beans and look for debris, clean around them, hydrate them, and trim her nails when necessary.
And, when you’re done giving her the royal treatment, you might want to check for irritation, inflammation, and other words starting with the letter “i” you might not want to encounter.
Oh, you found something? Don’t worry; we’re bringing you a bunch of reasons why your cat’s paw pads might be peeling. Read them, analyze them, and decide whether you need to schedule an appointment with your vet or restock your moisturizers.
Why are my cat’s paw pads peeling?
1. She’s might be grooming herself a little too much
“You’re telling me cats can go overboard when they’re grooming themselves?”
That’s right! And, they can cause a bunch of health problems by licking themselves too much, scratching themselves, or even chewing on themselves. Honestly, overgrooming sounds like something straight out of a horror movie.
But, such a predicament tends to be pretty common among fluffers that are stressed out, bored, or even dehydrated. Most cats clean themselves after eating or playing outside (or even when they’re hot). However, some go a little too hard on those Tide pods (we’re kidding).
So, they remove too much oil causing damage and dryness. And, to everyone’s demise, dry paw peds tend to crack, peel, and even bleed when your fluffy friend tries to resume her daily adventures and activities.
2. She might not be getting the nutrients she needs
Oh, we know about the adorable, glistening eyes and the pouty snout every fluffer uses to convince you to give them a munch of your chicken nuggets or a taste of your cappuccino. And, we know about the “one time shouldn’t hurt” excuse you give yourself every single time when you decide to capitulate.
But, there’s a pawsibility that your weakness might be causing the flaking and the peeling of your cat’s paw pads. Nutrition plays the most important role in your cat’s health and the health of her skin and coat.
That’s right! Cats are carnivores and they require a bunch of meat, animal protein, and animal-sourced nutrients to survive and thrive. Keeping track of your cat’s diet ensures that she doesn’t have to deal with nutrient deficiency, dehydration, and other problems that lead to dryness.
3. She might be dealing with stress and anxiety
If we had a dollar for every time someone asked “How can my cat be stressed?” we would be millionaires! It seems as if most pet parents think their kitties and puppies have nothing to worry about. After all, they have food on the table, a place to sleep, and endless snuggles.
Now, these things are absolutely necessary for pets (and humans). But, that’s not to say that pets (or humans) don’t have other concerns that might make them feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed out.
Maybe you’ve adopted or rescued another animal. Maybe your neighbor’s dog barks every time she steps outside. Or maybe you’ve been traveling a lot lately and she’s been feeling left out and abandoned.
Whatever the case might be, stress can cause overgrooming. And, overgrooming can lead to paw pads drying out and peeling. Now, that’s an endless cycle we don’t want to be a part of!
4. She might be genetically predisposed to having dry and peeling paw pads
That’s a thing!? To everyone’s demise, there are fluffers out there that are genetically predisposed to dealing with dry and flaky coats. Not only that but some cats might be born with diseases that cause dryness.
But, there’s no reason for you to freak out! Most cats tend to develop some sort of dryness, itchiness, or flakiness throughout their life. As a matter of fact, you might notice symptoms such as dandruff, bald spots, excessive licking, and paw pads peeling with most of your friends’ cats, too.
Depending on the cause, treatment and recovery shouldn’t be a problem. Schedule an appointment with your vet ASAP and check whether your fluffy friend’s genetically predisposed or forgetting to apply that Crème de la Mer you purchased specifically for her royal beans.
5. She might be taking medication that’s causing dry and peeling paw pads
That’s the purrfect crime, right there! Absolutely, your cat’s paw pads might be peeling because of medication she’s been taking to treat something else. That’s not something we should overlook because medication errors happen all the time, and they might harm your cat’s health.
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you’re suspecting your fluffer might be having an adverse reaction to her medication. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, irritation, inflammation, dry and flaky skin, and peeling of the paw pads.
Medication errors shouldn’t happen! Always make sure you keep your vet up-to-date on your cat’s allergies, sensitivities, and other information that might affect the way she reacts to the medication.
6. She might have hurt her paw pads
Oh, you wouldn’t believe how many pet parents overlook the simplest of explanations! Maybe she’s been sunbathing outside while you weren’t paying attention because Friends were on TV. Maybe she’s been chasing butterflies on hot concrete and she managed to burn her beans.
And, maybe she’s been scouring the kitchen, accidentally hopped on the hot stove, and hurt her paws. Cats are curious creatures; they cause trouble all the time! There’s nothing surprising about the possibility your cat might have hurt herself during the process of thinking “Hmm, how can I annoy Linda today?”.
7. She might be battling infections, diseases, or allergies
That’s right; there are a bunch of different infections, diseases, and allergies that might cause health problems and health scares (such as your cat’s paw pads peeling).
First things first, your fluffy friend might get bacteria on her paws (Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus) from spending a lot of time outside. Different bacteria cause different symptoms, but these two might be responsible for the itching, the scratching, and the peeling.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t overlook diseases that can cause the same reaction. Mites, fleas, worms, fungus, and a bunch of others can cause dryness and peeling.
And, we certainly shouldn’t overlook systemic diseases such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, or heart disease which can affect the appearance of the skin.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on allergies. Poor kitties might be allergic to an array of foods, pollen, dust mites, chemicals, additives, and fragrances. Make sure to rule out allergic reactions before you freak out over the paw pads peeling.
How do I stop my cat’s paw pads from peeling?
1. Hydration, hydration, and more hydration
You’re telling me you have a nighttime routine with cleaners, toners, masks, serums, moisturizers, and specialized creams for the area around your eyes. But, you don’t have a moisturizer for your kitty’s paw pads?!
That’s actually not that weird because most pet parents don’t know they need one!
However, if your kitty’s paws tend to get dry and flaky, you might need to step up your grooming routine. No need to moisturize her paws and paw pads every single day. But, you shouldn’t shy away from creams and serums when you notice some dryness and peeling.
Consult with your vet and choose the best product for your munchkin, and voilà!
2. Manicures and pedicures deserving of a purrincess
You’re wondering why your cat’s paw pads seem to be peeling. But, you don’t remember the last time you helped her groom? Here’s the thing – most cats prefer to take care of themselves alone. They might make you feel like you shouldn’t offer a helping hand (unless you’re looking to get scratched).
But, cats need help cleaning the bacteria and parasites that might reside within the crevices of the beans. And, they certainly need help removing thorns and other sharp things that might have slipped under there. Oh and, don’t even get me started on the fact that they can’t pawsibly trim their own nails.
So, make sure you provide your cat with regular manicures and pedicures to make sure she doesn’t have to deal with peeling paw pads and other (easily solved) problems.
3. Medication and vet consultations when necessary
Oh, you would prefer for these problems to be “beauty-related,” wouldn’t you? But, there are times when our fluffy friends have peeling paw pads because of diseases and allergies. Obviously, a cream or a serum wouldn’t solve irritation and inflammation caused by something other than overgrooming or sunbathing.
So, you might need to schedule an appointment with your vet. And, you might need to provide your fluffer with proper medication to help her deal with her problem.
Depending on the disease she’s battling, she might need to endure a bunch of tests, spend a couple of nights at the vet’s office, or even undergo surgery.
Whatever the case might be, peeling paw pads might have been the symptom that helped you discover, diagnose, and treat her disease on time. And, they should be as good as new the moment that she starts treatment.
With the green light from your vet, you can even apply creams and serums to help speed her recovery. Other than that, make sure you keep a close eye on your fluffer’s paw pads and give them a royal spa treatment from time to time. Good luck!