How to Deal with Cat’s Paw Frostbite?


It is believed that the coat of a cat is a reliable protection against frost. This is far from the case – animals often suffer from hypothermia, and first of all, low temperature causes harm to unprotected parts of the body. In the majority of cases frostbite occurs in cats, therefore, after walking in frosty weather, it is recommended to carefully examine the pet and, if necessary, treat the affected skin.

What Temperature Can an Animal Frostbite its Paws?

Despite their high endurance, cats often suffer from low temperatures, and, first of all, parts of the body that are not covered with hair are subject to frostbite. Also a lot of depends on the breed – the shorter the coat, the higher the risk of serious damage. Veterinarians say that special attention should be paid to hairless breeds. For sphinxes, only a few degrees of frost are enough to circulate in the paw pads.
Siberian breeds and Maine Coons rarely suffer from frost – even at 25 degrees below zero they will feel comfortable. Long thick coat will save from damage and protect from hypothermia.
The masters of short-hair breeds are less fortunate – Siamese or Bengal cats can easily tolerate 10-15 degrees of frost. At lower temperatures, severe frostbite can occur.
Inspection after a Walk, What to Look for?
After a walk in frosty weather, immediately after returning home, you must carefully examine the animal, observe its behavior. If the cat has frostbite, its symptoms are as follows:

frostbite of paw in cat
  1. the animal begins to meow loudly, signs of anxiety will appear (the animal will rush about the apartment, rub its paws on hard surfaces, lick the affected areas)
  2. the skin on the pillows will change color – immediately after the walk they turn pale, but after a few hours they turn red;
  3. blisters, swelling, swelling will appear on the frost-bitten areas, with serious damage, the skin begins to peel off;
  4. areas affected by frostbite are reminiscent of a thermal burn;
  5. it is easy to determine the boundaries between the tissues that started to die and healthy skin;
  6. the temperature is much lower than normal (in severe cases, this threatens with hypothermia or even a malfunction of the internal organs);
  7. the paw pads lose sensitivity, they are cool and hard to the touch.

Veterinarians warn that if you don’t immediately give your pet help, a malfunction in the life-critical systems will begin, and irreversible processes will develop. If frostbite is serious, it is better not to hesitate to consult a veterinarian who will determine the degree of tissue damage and prescribe the necessary treatment.

Treatment of Affected Areas

If the cat has frostbitten paw and the damage is not serious, you can help the animal yourself. Apply a cotton swab soaked in warm water to the affected area (treatment with saline will be more effective). Continue the procedure until the pads get a normal shade (usually half an hour is enough).

It is strictly forbidden to try to restore the sensitivity of the affected areas by rubbing. Mechanical exposure will cause pain and threatens to damage the skin, the appearance of irritation or serious injury.

paw frostbite in cat

The next stage is an increase in body temperature. It is recommended to do this gradually – sharp temperature changes are no less dangerous for an animal than frostbite. The easiest option is to use warm heating pads, and it is recommended to increase the temperature of the water in them gradually.

After normalizing the temperature, it is recommended to treat the affected skin with anti-inflammatory and regenerating drugs.

In case of serious damage to the paws, it is recommended to immediately show the pet to veterinarians. The cat’s severe frostbite is indicated by prolonged trembling of the body, convulsions, and the formation of scabs or watery blisters. A sharp increase in temperature against the background of an oppressed state is a sign of blood poisoning caused by hypothermia. In this case, it is forbidden to try to refuse any help to the pet – it is recommended to immediately go to the veterinary clinic.

To avoid the harmful effects of frost on sensitive areas of the body of a pet, it is recommended to abandon walking or use warm overalls in cold weather. If the problem could not be avoided, it is better not to refuse the help of a specialist – self-medication threatens serious consequences for the pet and even death.

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