Why Does My Cat Keep Licking Its Paw?

If your cat is licking his paw often, there might be something wrong. However, this behavior may also be nothing to worry about. Either way, it’s important to take the time to try to figure out the underlying cause of this paw licking and determine when it’s time to go to the vet, too.

Cat licking paw

6 Reasons Why Your Cat’s Licking Their Paw

In this article, we’ll explain some of the most common reasons why your cat might be obsessively licking his paw. Read through this information to get a better idea of what’s going on with your cat and what you can do to help.

6 reasons why your cat is licking their paw include, but aren’t limited to:

Allergies

When your cat has allergies, he may be more prone to licking and chewing on his skin. This is because the allergies cause itchy rashes that feel some relief when your cat licks them. However, the licking behavior usually causes the rash to become aggravated, which makes the situation worse overall.

This symptom is most commonly associated with food allergies that cause skin problems. However, cats may also lick their paws obsessively if they have seasonal allergies, pollen allergies, or contact allergies, depending on the individual cat and situation.

Pain

Pain is one of the most common causes of licking any part of the body constantly, including the paws. If your cat is in pain, he may focus on licking his sore paw because he feels like it will give him some comfort or relief.

Look for any signs of a problem with your cat’s paw. If he will let you touch it, check to see if it can be gently moved around or if there is pain associated with movement. You can use this information to figure out when your cat needs to see a veterinarian for the pain in his paw.

Anxiety

If your cat has a lot of anxiety or stress, you may notice him chewing or licking his paw more frequently. This is because he is looking for a release from his anxiety, similarly to how humans may bite their fingernails when they feel anxious.

If your cat is so anxious that he can’t stop licking his paws, it’s probably time to ask a vet for more information. Your cat may need to be on anxiety medications to help manage his stress levels and give him a better overall quality of life as well.

Boredom

Similarly to anxiety, your cat may start licking his paws out of boredom. This happens when your cat isn’t receiving enough mental stimulation throughout the day. A cat who is bored will find something to do, even if that means chewing or licking on his own paws until the fur falls off.

You can reduce the risk of this problem by giving your cat lots of toys to play with and places to climb. Although your cat should not be allowed access to his toys without supervision, he can climb on a cat tower as much as he likes throughout the day even if no one is at home.

Injury

Acute injury or trauma to the foot, leg, or paw pad may cause your cat to lick the paw obsessively as well. If you think your cat may have an injury, try to get a closer look at the paw in question. If you see bleeding or notice anything unusual, you may need to take your cat to the vet.

Some cats may easily cut their paw pads when they walk on surfaces they should not be on. Your cat may also potentially break or sprain a bone, or could develop a variety of other acute injuries.

Fleas

Finally, a flea infestation may lead to more licking and chewing of the paws as well. Although you may notice other signs of fleas before you see your cat licking his paw obsessively, this is still an indicator that there could be some parasites you need to deal with.

If your cat has fleas, you will be able to see them by parting your cat’s fur and looking closely at his skin. Check in several spots on his body for fleas or flea dirt. Be sure to use a cat-safe flea medication to deal with this problem.

Talk to a Vet for More Information on Your Cat’s Paw Licking

Now that you know more about some of the most common causes of paw licking in cats, you can decide whether or not to take your cat to the vet. Most of the problems that are listed above do require at least some vet care to help them heal, but some can be handled at home on your own.

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you’re still not sure what could be causing your cat to lick his paw so much, be sure to go to the vet as soon as possible. The vet can give you more accurate information and a correct diagnosis as well. Our team members at The Village Vets are happy to help you find the cause for why your cat’s licking their paw and develop the best treatment option.

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.