You’re playing with your kitty, and you’re tickling her toe beans. You notice that her paw pads have changed. Why and how did the change happen? What does this change mean for your cat’s health?

Generally speaking, the color of a cat’s paws is related to its fur color. As they age, they can lose pigment in their paw pads. 

We’ll explore what colors a cat’s paw can be and what they mean for your kitty’s overall health. We’ll also dive into the common diseases that are associated with the cat’s paws, which many cat owners may overlook.

Why Are My Cat’s Paw Pads Different Colors?

As coat color directly affects your kitty cat’s paw pad color, let’s talk about what colors of fur correspond to colors of the toe beans.  Most often, a cat with black fur has black paws. A tuxedo cat usually has a mix of pink and black on their paw pads. A white cat’s paws will be pink. A tortoiseshell or calico will reflect the colors of their coat.

In the event your precious kitty gets out and or lost, the unique pattern of the colors on her paw pads can be used to help identify your fur baby.

Why Are My Cat’s Paws Turning Pink?

If your cat is a coat color that can have pink paws, there is probably no need to be concerned. If your cat had a change in color, it could be a possibility there is an issue. What can cause a cat’s paw pads to change color like that? Vitamin deficiency can cause a lack of pigmentation. This is often a sign of age.

Taking your kitty cat to the vet will help you to identify and treat any deficiencies found. Common issues are often over-supplementation, which leads to deficiencies. This can be caused by your cat’s diet.  Phosphorus, iron, zinc, and copper are all important for your cat’s health in the right amounts. 

Why Are My Cat’s Paws Turning White?

When your cat’s paws turn white, it can be a sign of illness. Commonly the health concerns for this symptom are anemia, parasites, and dehydration. Depending on other symptoms your cat may have, there are different methods of treatment.

If your cat is dehydrated, you can get them to drink water or for severe dehydration, take them to the vet. Anemia and parasites require a veterinarian ‘s diagnosis to determine treatment as the causes can vary.

Cat Paw Infection

Let’s talk about the types, causes, and treatment of a cat paw infection. The most common cause of infection to the paw is a break in the skin like a cut or scrape. As a cat uses a litter box, they are in contact with fecal matter and bacteria every time they use the cat box. If they have a cut or scrape and bacteria enter the wound, there is a possibility of infection.

The second most common type of infection is fungal. Yeast is fairly common in a cat’s paw in small amounts. With repetitive grooming and or stepping in some water, that dark warm space between the toe beans becomes a breeding ground for that yeast. 

Treatment for the infection depends on the type. A fungal infection would require medication. For a bacterial infection from an injury, cleaning the wound and then dosing with an antibiotic is the usual method of healing the infection.

What Other Paw Pad Diseases Are most Common?

Pillow foot or Plasma Cell Pododermatitis, is the condition in which the paw pads become inflamed from the introduction of plasma cells outside of the bloodstream. This is understood to be an autoimmune disease. For more information, follow this link here

 Another common issue is eosinophilic granuloma complex, a disease in which a cat’s body mistakes harmless foreign materials to be parasitic. This causes the immune system to overreact.

Symptoms include ulcerated lumps that can cause walking to be painful. 

Cancer is sadly fairly common in cats as a species. On the paw pad, a cat can develop a carcinoma. This is a cancerous growth that can cause painful ulcers and sores. This may cause limping and no desire to walk or play.

Autoimmune skin diseases under the umbrella term pemphigus are fairly common in older cats but can affect younger kitties. Symptoms are cracked skin of the paw pads, ulcers, swollen pads, bleeding easily from small wounds, and lameness, among others. 

Interesting Things About Your Cat’s Paw

The anatomy of a cat’s paw is unique to them. Cats use their paws to gather information about the world around them. A cat’s paw is exceptionally sensitive, having a lot of nerve endings in the tissue. 

The paw pad is made of nerves and fatty tissue. The shape of a cat’s toes and pads are part of how they are able to be so stealthy. A cat walks on its toes. A fun fact is that while the average cat has five digits on the front paws and four on the rear paws, some cats have more. This is called a polydactyl. It is a genetic condition found in the domestic cat and rarely in wild cats.

Cats are hunters, and as such, their body is designed to maximize the energy spent on the hunt. The paw of a cat is made for stealthy and quick movements. The cat can defend itself using the sharp claws at the end of its toes.

As has been used in this article, term toe beans refer to a cat’s digital pads at the ends of the toes. This is because of the shape of said pads.

Declawing Information

Declawing is the process of removing a cat’s claws. This is a topic up for much debate in the veterinary community as more belief it to be cruel. This is because unlike humans whose nails are grown from the skin, a cat’s claw is grown from the bone. 

The declawing procedure is to amputate the last segment of the digit to remove the claw. This would be like cutting off the tip of a human’s finger. Many now believe this practice to be inhumane, and some countries have begun to outlaw it. Many veterinarians have also elected to not offer it in their practice.

 As with any hotly debated topic, there are those for and against it. As it is still used for medical necessity in the case of injury, declawing can have a positive aspect to it. The general consensus has changed to the belief that cosmetic declawing is wrong rather than this be as widely practiced procedure as it used to be.

Anatomy Of The Cat Paw

The skeletal structure of a cat’s paw is four main segmented digits, much like a human hand minus the thumb. Each digit has a claw protruding from the end with the front paws, also having a small claw commonly called the dewclaw in the inner wrist area. 

Pads are fatty tissue filled sensory zones on a cat’s paw. These are often covered in pigmented skin that correlates to the color of the fur on the cat’s body.  There is a main pad in the center with digital pads and a carpal pad at the joint. 

In Conclusion

The paw of a cat is the first contact the cat had to the surrounding environment. With many nerve endings inside its pads, a cat’s paw is sensitive. Most often, the color of your beloved friend’s paws is directly related to their fur color and the keratin found inside it.  Some color changes can occur and often are a sign of failing health.