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First Aid for Torn Footpads in Cat

How to treat a wounded cat pad depends on the nature of the injury. If it bleeds heavily or is a puncture wound, take your cat to the vet immediately. That’s also true if the wound swells, or if your cat can’t walk and appears in obvious pain. You probably can handle a minor paw scrape on your own, if your cat cooperates.”Footpad in Cats”

Footpad Injury in Cats

How to Handle Torn Foot Pads in cats:

1. Clean the wound: Look for debris or foreign objects such as glass or metal shards that may be lodged in the pad. If the foreign object is located where you can easily grasp it with tweezers, gently remove it. Swishing the paw in cool water may help dislodge tiny particles. If the debris is lodged deeply, leave it alone. Digging too deep will only worsen the injury and cause pain. Deep-seated foreign bodies need to be extracted only by your veterinarian, who can sedate the cat to make the procedure more comfortable. Use mild antibacterial soap or betadine to disinfect the wound.

2. To control bleeding: apply pressure to the wound with a clean towel. Minor tears will stop bleeding in a matter of minutes; however, deeper wounds take longer to stabilize. Also, bleeding may reoccur when walks on the leg. If you cannot stop the bleeding within 10-15 minutes, take your cat to the emergency veterinary clinic.

3. Contain the wound by applying a bandage: Use gauze pads to cushion the bottom of the foot and absorb blood. The gauze padding will also decrease the pain of walking on the foot. To keep gauze in place, wrap the entire foot in a self-sticking product. It is important to cover the paw from the toes up to and including the ankle (tarsus) or wrist (carpus). Covering the toes will prevent swelling of the digits. Extension of the bandage above the ankle or wrist joint will prevent the bandage from slipping off. Make sure the bandage is not too tight. You should be able to insert 2 fingers between the bandage and the leg.

4. Change the bandage daily: If your cat chews at the bandage, spray it with an anti-lick product such as bitter apple. Keep the bandage dry by taping a plastic bag over it when your catwalks on wet grass. Pay close attention during bandage changes. If the toes become swollen or dusky or if you notice a foul odor or moist discharge, consult your veterinarian. These signs may indicate compromised circulation or an infection that could result in permanent damage to the foot. If the wound continues to bleed or gapes open after 3 days, visit your veterinarian, who can provide high-powered antibiotics and pain medication to promote faster healing.

How to Handle Burned Foot Pads in Cats
In addition to cuts and punctures, cats often injure their footpads when exposed to extreme temperatures or chemicals. Even though foot pads are tough, they can burn on a scorching sidewalk in the middle of the summer or on icy surfaces during the winter. If your cat licks at their feet or limps after a summertime or wintertime stroll, soothe their pads by soaking the foot in room temperature water. If the pads become discolored or if the tissue under the pad becomes exposed, contact your veterinarian. Severe burns need to be debrided and treated professionally.

Minor Injuries
If your cat suffered a small scrape or cut, wash it with warm water a few times daily. Use an antiseptic salve or spray recommended for felines on the injury. You want to ensure bacteria doesn’t enter the cut. Avoid hydrogen peroxide, as it can cause tissue damage. Keep your cat indoors, and clean his litter box after every use. If he shares the box with other cats, isolate him and give him his own box until the cut heals. You can try putting a little bootie on him to protect his foot, carefully taping it to his leg. However, he almost certainly won’t like it and probably will spend the bulk of his time trying to get it off. If the wound hasn’t healed within a week, take him to the vet.

Veterinary Care
Your vet will examine your cat’s footpad to determine the nature of the wound. Most wounds are evident upon examination, but some require closer attention. A foreign object can embed itself in your cat’s footpad, so your vet might have to sedate your cat to remove it. She’ll clean out any wound with antiseptics and apply a bandage. She might prescribe antibiotics to combat potential infections. If an injury is severe, such as loss of part of the footpad, surgery might be required after initial treatment. That involves grafting part of another pad — such as those tiny pads on the wrist — onto the footpad

Bandaging and Rebandaging
If your cat’s paw is bandaged, you must change the bandage every few days. That’s true for almost any foot injury, whether moderate or severe. Because cats sweat from the footpads, moisture will affect the bandage. Without regular bandage changing, this moisture can cause infection and slow the healing rate. If you don’t feel capable of changing the bandage on your own, take your pet to the vet to have it done. Your vet can show you how to wrap and change the bandage and provide you with the necessary materials. Certain antibacterial bandages are available that lessen changing frequency, but they cost considerably more than standard bandages.

Elizabethan Collar
Your vet likely will recommend putting an Elizabethan collar on your cat so he can’t chew on the bandage. While dog owners refer to this collar as the “cone of shame” — since their pleading eyes show their pets can’t imagine what they did to deserve this — with felines it’s more the “cone of annoyance.” If your cat must wear an Elizabethan collar while his injury heals, it’s probably best to confine him to a certain area rather than allow him the run of the house. Otherwise, you might have a hard time catching him because he’s so annoyed at having to wear the device on his head.