Cats are fastidious creatures—they are very conscious about their cleanliness. Their habit of meticulous grooming is a good thing but what if they do it in excess. Compulsive grooming—cat licking paw, cat chewing on feet, cat licking legs, and overall cat scratching excessively—is a sign that there is something wrong with your cat.
We love our feline friends and want the best for them. Seeing them in pain is excruciating for us cat owners. Therefore, watching your cat licking paws a lot, biting and chewing on feet, and licking their legs, one may ponder: Why do cats bite their paws? Why do cats lick their paws?
Cat Licking Paw
Cat licking paw is not an unusual thing. Cats groom themselves by licking with their tongue and rubbing and scratching with their paws. Sometimes, cats lick their paws and rub their skin to clean their coat. This is quite normal.
But it is not normal if a cat keeps licking her paws, often biting and chewing on them. Cat licking paws a lot is your cue that there is something wrong with her, and you need to take her to a vet.
If you have spotted your cat licking paws a lot, you should keep on reading this article as we are going to address: Why do cats lick their paws? Why do cats bite their paws? And why do cats lick their paws after eating?
Why Do Cats Lick Their Paws?
Have you been observing your cat licking paw all the time? Are you worried about your cat’s compulsive paw licking behavior? Have you been wondering what could possibly be the underlying reason for your cat licking paw? Well, stop wondering and have a look at the following potential causes of cat licking paw.
After watching your cat licking paws a lot, the first thing you should do is check the concerned paw for any signs of injury. Cats often lick their injured parts to ease the pain and heal the injuries. You should look for wounds, pebbles, splinters, glass stuck in the paw pads. If you fail to find any signs of injury or discomfort, you should look carefully for any swelling or bruises. Cats are mischievous creatures. They love to jump off high places, so there is a probability that your furball might have bruised her foot or pulled a muscle while jumping.
Swollen Paws in Cats
Swollen paws in cats are discomforting, and you should get your cat with swollen paws to a vet. There could be various reasons behind the swollen paw of your cat. It could be some insect bite, nail overgrowth, injuries or infections, etc.
Mostly the swelling is very minute and it is hard to tell the difference between a normal cat paw and a swollen cat paw. So how will you know if your cats’ paws are swollen?
Undoubtedly, it is hard to identify swollen paws in cats. But if you find your cat licking paw, you should carefully look if the concerned paw is swollen. Here is how to tell if your cat’s paw is swollen or not.
- Wet your cat paws and compare their size
- Cat licking paw
- Cat chewing on feet
- Foul odor from the concerned paw
- Lethargy and reluctance to jump
Fleas, ticks, and mites are often the culprits underlying the excessive cat scratching and licking. Cats are meticulous groomers, so if there is any flea or tick on their paw pads or their coat, they will start licking and scratching excessively, trying to get rid of all traces of parasites.
Therefore, if you find your cat licking paw, you should look for traces of these parasites. You may find flea dirt on your cat’s paw and legs, where she has been excessively licking and scratching.
You should clean her up—remove all ticks and mites—and also rid your home of these parasites and give your cat flea preventive to make sure she stays clear of infestations in the future. Frontline Plus for Cats provides waterproof, fast-acting, long-lasting flea and tick treatment and control for your cat. This product is approved for use on cats and kittens 1.5 lbs and over.
Cat Paw Fungal Infections
Cat licking paw might have fungus infestation. Fungal infections are quite common in cats, especially in cats that live in hot and humid environments or cats with a weak immune system. Yeasts and ringworms are common fungi that infect cat paws. Cat paw fungal infections are irritating and may cause the cat paws to swell and itch. If left untreated, cat paws fungus could spread from infected cats to healthy cats and even humans.
Therefore, if your cat keeps licking paw or chewing on it, you should immediately take her to a vet, who would recommend the best course of treatment—wiping, washing, and topical antifungal creams.
Just like humans develop allergies to certain foods and environmental pollens, cats may also develop allergies, which cause them to itch excessively. These allergens may cause your cat to lick its paws.
Anxiety and Boredom
Cat licking paw might be due to boredom and stress. Having nothing to do, cats often develop compulsive mental disorders. This is more likely in indoor cats that get little to no exercise. Stress and anxiety may also make your cat lick her paws, legs, and maybe chew on her feet. You may see your cat licking paw on the arrival of a guest in the house or when you bring a new four-legged fella into your house.
Therefore, responsible cat parents have to ensure that their indoor cats get ample daily exercise and an interactive play session with them. You may also want to bring some toys for your feline fella to give her something to keep her engaged.
Why Do Cats Bite Their Paws?
Cat licking and biting at the same spot continuously means that there is something wrong—she is probably experiencing pain and discomfort in that specific area. Therefore, cat licking paw and cat biting paw means that her paw is hurting. If you have not been able to pin down what has been causing the discomfort and making your cat lick her paws excessively, you should ring your vet and make an appointment.
Why Do Cats Lick Their Paws After Eating?
Is your cat licking paw after finishing the meal? It is not uncommon for cats to lick their paws and groom their face after having a meal—especially wet food that gets splattered around the mouth.
Cats are flexible creatures, but there are places like their nose, ears, and back of the head where their tongue cannot reach. To groom such places, cats use their paws. They lick their paws, and when it is dampened, they use it as a washcloth to wipe their face and other areas of their body. Cat licking paw may also be trying to just clean her paw that may have collected dirt.
Now that you have learned about the cat licking paw, you may be interested in learning why do cats drool.