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Home > Cats > Does a Cat Need Their Paw Fur Trimmed? Vet Approved Facts & Care Tips

Does a Cat Need Their Paw Fur Trimmed? Vet Approved Facts & Care Tips

adult cat with swollen paw because of the snake bite

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Some cats grow a lot of fur around their paws, especially long-haired cats. Many long-haired dogs have the fur around their feet trimmed, so do cats need it trimmed as well? Cats do not need their paw fur trimmed. They certainly can have their paw fur trimmed, but it is not a requirement for good health and hygiene.

Either way is perfectly acceptable, but many believe that if there is no reason to trim the fur, there is no need to bring clippers near your cat’s feet and risk cutting them. In this article, we’ll examine why certain cat breeds grow longer fur yet don’t need it cut. We’ll also discuss when it may be necessary to trim your cat’s fur and other details for keeping your cat’s paws in good condition.

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Why Do Some Cat Breeds Have Toe Tufts?

Tufts of fur on your long-haired cat’s under paws typically grow to half an inch or more. Two breeds most notably recognized for their longer tufts of hair are the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat. These tufts of fur differ from your cat’s carpal or leg whiskers, which help send additional sensory signals to your cat’s brain. The tufts are just fur—nothing more. They can be trimmed without harming your cat. You should on the contrary never cut cat vibrissae hairs (whiskers).

So why do cats develop tufts in the first place? One likely reason is that the paw tufts allow your cat to walk silently, which is necessary when stalking prey. It also protects against abrasive surfaces, inclement weather, or insects that may bite.

cat paws resting on human feet in bed
Image By: Valeriia Miller, Unsplash

Why Do Some Dogs Need Their Paws Trimmed While Cats Don’t?

Many groomers recommend that dog paws be trimmed regularly. So why do cats not need this same maintenance? A lot of it has to do with size. Most dogs are larger and heavier than cats, so their paws sink deeper into the soil when they step in the dirt. This means that their foot hair collects more debris over time. Many felines are indoor cats, meaning they do not step in enough dirt for their toe tufts to become filthy.

When Is Trimming Needed?

Although trimming is not needed regularly for cats, there may be times when your cat’s furry feet may need to be trimmed. One of the primary reasons for trimming a cat’s toe tufts is that they are dirty. If you notice dirt trails around your house, inspect your cat’s toe tufts. If they are dirty, they may need to be trimmed.

If your cat is licking or yanking on the toe tufts, this could be another sign that they irritate your cat and need to be trimmed. One reason that paw fur may irritate your cat is if it is matted. Matted fur can be painful for cats, so trimming may be necessary if you notice the fur has become tangled.

Pet cat resting in the lap of a teenage girl, with its paw on the palm
Image By: AjayTvm, Shutterstock

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How to Care for Your Cat’s Feet

Keeping their paws healthy is an excellent way to encourage our cats to be active. If your cat’s paws are not well-cared for, your cat may be less inclined to climb, run, or enjoy other activities.

How to Care for Their Paws

  • Keep your floor clean. Cleaning up debris on your floor can prevent it from accumulating between your cat’s toes.
  • Secure household chemicals. If any chemicals spill on the floor and your cat walks through it, this could cause an injury.
  • Check your cat’s paws regularly. Even if your cat is an indoor cat, there is a chance that they have gotten into mischief. Check their paws regularly for wounds, splinters, swelling or ingrown toenails. If you notice any blood, pus, or strange odors, consult your vet immediately.
cat paws
Image By: Jumpstory

How to Care for Their Nails

  • Trim your cat’s nails regularly. Helping your cat grow comfortable with nail trimming can be a slow training process, but it is well worth it.
  • Providing scratching spots. Cats love to scratch, which helps them stretch and mark their territory. You can support your cat’s needs by providing an acceptable place to scratch while sparing your furniture from the claws.

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Conclusion

While cats do not need their paw fur to be regularly trimmed, there may be instances where it is necessary. By paying attention to your cat’s paws, you will be able to provide them with the care they need, whether trimming their fur or their nails. If you ever struggle to care for your cat’s paws, contact your veterinarian or a professional groomer for assistance.


Featured Image Credit: Vovantarakan, Shutterstock

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