Keeping your cat's claws nice and trimmed all the time is a difficult chore, especially if your cat doesn't like his or her paws handled. Without proper care, your cat's claws could end up ingrown. These ingrown claws can be both painful and a health hazard. Here are some things you should know about your cat and ingrown claws, including what causes them, how to prevent them, and when to get veterinary help.
What Are the Signs of an Ingrown Claw?
The most noticeable sign that your cat is suffering from an ingrown claw is that he or she will be limping or favoring a paw. You may also notice paw swelling and your cat may frequently stop and lick or bite his or her toes. The claws will likely be large and noticeable and possibly even curved over into the foot pad.
How Do Cats Get Ingrown Claws?
Cat claws grow continuously and must be trimmed down to prevent overgrowth. Cats naturally keep their claws short by either running around on different ground material or by clawing rough surfaces. However, if your cat is inactive or doesn't have access to the outdoors or a scratching surface, then the claws will likely grow too long. Dewclaws, in particular, are prone to overgrow because they don't touch the ground when your cat walks.
How Can Ingrown Claws be Prevented?
If your cat does not have access to different surfaces or is not active, then you should provide him or her with something to scratch. You can choose a commercially made scratching post or any rough surface that your cat can sink the claws into. If your cat doesn't take to the scratching surface, then you must trim the nails regularly.
What Is the Treatment for Ingrown Claws?
Usually, cutting back the nail before it punctures the foot pad is enough to temporarily fix the problem until the claws grow out again. If your cat is bleeding, then that is a sign that he or she needs medical attention to prevent infection. In cases where a certain claw or toe is malformed and causes frequent problems, then that particular claw can be removed for health reasons.
Your cat's claws should never grow so long that they curve back into the paw pads. Whenever possible, trim your cat's claws before they cause a problem. If you can't do the trimming yourself, then you can take your cat to a groomer or veterinarian's office for help. If your cat's claws end up becoming ingrown, then it's best not to treat them yourself. Take your cat to a veterinarian at a clinic such as Sylvan Corner Pet Hospital to have them removed and your cat treated against possible infection.