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Dry Paw Pads

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello, all; hopefully someone's had and solved this problem.

Tiny is my three-year-old tabby cat. Every winter since I adopted him at nine months old, he's had this problem. His paw pads will gradually get looking exactly like my hands do when I have dry skin; and eventually they'll crack and I'll find one or two little smudges of blood on the porcelain of the bathtub where he waits for me to finish my shower.

This has got to stop. It's not fun for him and it could lead to infection. He's very fastidious about keeping his paws clean, so I'm not as worried as I could be; but still, that could be part of the problem--he licks those paws as carefully as he licks the rest of himself, and that might be contributing to the dry-skin problem.

What I've tried so far is the same thing I do when I get dry skin--putting some Vaseline on my hands--but of course that has only limited effectiveness, since Tiny walks on those paws, and licks them besides. I don't really want him to ingest too much Vaseline, anyhow.

Is there an alternative? I don't want to wait every year for winter to be over. Poor Tiny should have some relief for his dry paw pads...

Diet: Purina Naturals (I can't afford much better, so I figured at least I can stay away from bone-meal crap)
Litter: Clumping litter, unscented, in a big deep litter pan
Health conditions: None.
Tiny is neutered, has his claws (which are clipped regularly), and is an indoor cat. He weighs twelve pounds and is near his ideal weight (so no, he's not actually tiny). He is active and generally confident, but afraid of thunderstorms, noises, and sudden movements. As an ex-stray, he is a one-person cat.

Any advice?
post #2 of 6
Look up sphynx safe lotions. Some people have problems with them getting dry skin in the winter so they'll be sure to have found a safe alternative. Obviously nothing with essential oils and you have to be careful what vitamins are in it. Mostly what I'm seeing listed are various "natural" lotions that have less additives and no fragrance, or baby lotion.

Can you get a humidifier? There are some cool mist ones that aren't too loud. It would benefit you and Tiny.

You may try getting him a fish oil supplement to help his skin and coat.

Make sure you wash his feet before you apply anything since that can help prevent infection.

Does the litter have any clumping additives in it? Baking soda, maybe? Though unscented, if there's other additives they may be irritating his feet and making him lick more to try to relieve that. It may be worth trying a different litter to see if it helps - hypoallergenic options are Yesterday's News, Tidy Cat Breeze (look for coupons on either of these), and the Smart Cat Box - the latter uses safflower seed and you can easily make a cheap DIY version if you have a drill or dremel around, you could even use something else besides safflower seeds.

Do you have carpet? If so, do you put anything on it (even just plain baking soda) and when was last cleaned?
post #3 of 6
You can get a hygrometer relatively inexpensively online (try amazon) and make sure the humidity in your home is at least 30%. Most agree 45% is ideal. Vaseline is actually not a bad idea, and I see no harm as only a thin layer is needed or useful.

I agree w/ the excellent recommendations regarding litter and surfaces, although I'd prefer getting a good complete food w/ enough fat over supplementing with oils.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hm, is there a better food I might switch to? I can't really afford better than mid-range food, but I know the stuff I'm using has filler in it. I wonder if some scrambled eggs might help? There's the question of whether he'd eat them, of course; he's one of those cats who looks at anything new with extreme suspicion.

The litter does have baking soda in it. I could switch to litter without baking soda and see whether that helps...
post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by Callista View Post
The litter does have baking soda in it. I could switch to litter without baking soda and see whether that helps...
I figured it was something like this. Baking soda can actually irritate skin and burn their feet a bit with frequent contact. I've read of others on here having problems with it because its the combination of urine+baking soda. I hope changing this alone helps.

Where do you have to shop? If you have any farm supply/feed stores or a Costco better foods can be found there for the same or less than you pay now.

I don't know if the eggs would have enough fatty acids to make a difference. Generally store bought factory farm eggs are lower in them then a free range (truly free range, not just a tiny yard) chicken egg. And the cost per how much you'd need to feed would add up to be more than a fish oil supplement would.
post #6 of 6
My only experience w/ dry/cracked paws is in a dog, and then I got mushers wax. She still licked it off & still has dry/cracked paw pads. Sorry I can't be of more help!
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