Your cat’s paws are amazing. Their paw pads contain large concentrations of nerve receptors that aid in balance and hunting. All of these nerve receptors mean that your kitty’s paws are incredibly sensitive. The soft pads of cat paws are sensitive to pressure, pain, and most importantly as the summer months arrive, temperature. Outdoor cats’ paws can be badly burnt and can even have nerve damage from excessively hot pavement or other surfaces. Here’s how to keep your outdoor cat’s paws safe without cooping them up inside for the next few months.
1. Toughen Your Cat’s Paws
Most outdoor cats will have paw pads that are more resilient than an indoor cat’s, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help them out. By providing your outdoor cat with a rough scratching post or outdoor cat condo, you are giving them a surface to rub their paws on and toughen them up.
2. Keep Your Kitty On Grass (If Possible)
While not an option for everyone, if you have the space to have a contained outdoor area for your cat that is exclusively on grass and other heat reflective surfaces, use it! Making sure your cat does not have access to burning hot pavement is the easiest way to prevent paw pad damage, although we know this is not an option for everyone.
3. Give Your Cat A Pavement Free Chill Zone
Make sure your outdoor cat has a safe and shady resting area near your home. There are lots of cooling pads on the market for dogs that your outdoor cat may take a liking to as well. Giving your cat this cool safety net will not only keep their paws safe, but help combat heat stroke and dehydration as well.
4. Use Paw Wax
Your cat may not like the idea of you grabbing their paws and rubbing a balm on them, but it beats burns and cracks from hot surfaces. Paw balms like this are non-toxic and can be used for dogs as well. It is really useful in the winter too when there is salt and lots of ice on the ground.
5. Clean and Check Your Cat’s Paws Frequently
Be sure to check your outdoor cat’s paw pads daily for any signs of damage or stuck debris between toes. Gently wipe her feet and reapply paw balm as needed. This type of paw care should be done by everyone, not just those with outdoor cats. Our cats rely on their paws for so many things, so we have to keep them in tip top shape.
It is vital to keep tabs on your outdoor cat during the hot summer months. If there are any heat advisories, be sure to bring your cat in not just to protect his paws, but also his life. What do you do to take care of your outdoor cat’s paws? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.