Cat claw is an important anatomy of cat that has many function for movement such as to play, climb, defend itself, and hunt. Cat claws continually growing as cat shed off old claw sheath and replace it with the new claw. It is important for cat owner to take care of cat claws. Disorder in cat’s claw can be damaging and affecting cat in many ways. Cat claw disorder can be caused by many things, either a local traumatic injury or cutting the claw too close to nail bed, and systemic problems such as bacteria and fungus infection, tumor or cancer, or other diseases.
Claw disorders have many forms such as inflammation or abnormality of color and thickness. Most cat claws disorders have excellent prognosis and can be treated in short amount of time. But any claw disorder can be a sign for more severe disease that can be fatal if not treated properly, so it is important for every cat owner to know any sign of claw disorder in cat so that the cat can be given any treatment needed as soon as possible. Here are 4 warning signs of claw disorder in cat that we have to know:
1. Excessive licking of the paw
Cat’s excessive licking means that there is something wrong in the area, it can be an infection, injury, or other problems. So if our cat suddenly licking its paw excessively, we need to be suspicious if there is anything wrong on it. Examine its paws and look if there is any sign of injury, especially in the nail and nail bed area that is harder to see. Check out its claw by gently pressing the paw so it extends its claw, look if there is any change on it.
2. Pain in the feet
Pain in cat’s feet is the second of 4 warning signs of claw disorder in cat. It can be showed by difficulty of walking, limping, or not walking altogether. We can also guess if the pain is light or extremely bad based on the cat behaviour. If it refuses to walk, has a decline of its activities, then we can assume that there is something extremely troubling the cat. We can also suspect any pain if our cat has excessive panting and yelling when it walks or when we touch it especially around the feet area.
3. Swelling or redness around the claw
If you see your cat’s paw or around the claw is swelling or turning red, it is a sign that there is inflammation on there. Inflammation around the claw can be one of 4 warning signs of claw disorder in cat. An inflammation can be caused by many things such as trauma or infection. Inflamed area can also cause pain for cat.
4. Change of claw
Another warning sign cat owner needs to observe of cat claw disorder is the change of claw. Many claw disorder have symptoms like the change of claw’s thickness, such as onychomycosis (fungal infection) that makes the claws become brittle or onychocryptosis that makes the claws thickened and curled. Brittle claws are common in older cats because of the lack of nutrition distribution in aged cat. It is usually come with overgrown claws and can cause some pain. Not only old cat, but a cat with nutritional deficiency can also have a brittle claw. That’s why we always need to pay attention to cat’s diet and nutrition intake. The most severe cat claw-associated disorder, pemphigus foliacelus, cause the claw to be brittle. It is an autoimmune disease that targeting cat’s nail and skin, and it can become fatal if it isn’t treated properly.
Change of claw’s color can also be a sign of disease, such as infection or tumor. It also can be caused of trauma and bleeding on the claw. The most common claw disorder, paronychia, caused painful nail bed inflammation, sometimes with pus, and thick brown nail. It is caused by bacterial infection and affect only one or two claws.
Splitting, deformity, sloughing, and losing claw can also be a sign of any claw disorder. It can be caused by many reasons from trauma to serious disease like tumor or cancer. Sometimes cat can snagged its claws in something that makes the claws break. As long as the issue doesn’t bother the cat and there is no sign of infection or inflammation then it is fine. We can visit the vet to make sure of it.
There are also some claw’s disorders that presents from the birth, like abnormal claw’s size or shape, and some that develops over time like splitting or brittleness. As a cat owner, we need to know if the cat has any of it and if there is any special treatment needed, we can consult it with the vet.
There are many signs and symptoms for cat claw disorders as there are many kinds of them. We already know 4 warning signs of claw disorder in cat, so in the future we can do early suspect if there is any of these warning signs in our cat. Claw disorder in cat can be a sign for either local or systemic problems, minor or severe disease. We also may feel unsure about the signs and the seriousness of the disorder. If you find out that your cat has one or more of the warning signs above, it is better to go to see the vet for more examination.
The vet will be the one to diagnose your cat’s problem and give any treatment needed. It is also important for us as a cat owner to prevent any disease in our cat in the future and to treat it if there is one. Remember that cat owner has an important role to be the first one to discover any change or problem of the cat. That’s why it is important to know these warning signs. Not only to know the warning signs, cat owner also need to be able to notice if there is any problem or change on the cat’s behaviour, so that we can check it out. We can examine our cat regularly every time we groom it, so that we won’t miss any warning signs if there is any disorder in our cat.