Cat Horned Paw

Cats horned paw

Cat horned or horny paws are keratin formations that look like horns and protrude from the paws. They may affect several footpads and grow around the claws. Your cat will not feel pain or discomfort when she jumps, walks and climbs if the formations are not located in the weight-bearing areas of her paws. 

However, if the cutaneous formations appear on the plantar surface your cat will experience mobility problems. Your cat may also constantly lick her paws to ease the discomfort. 

Cat horned paw is a common feline skin disease and these keratin formations can grow alone or in multiples and will often appear on the footpads but can also develop on the skin surface including the face.

How to treat cat horned paws

1. Trim the paw 

Trim the horned paw with a sterilized clipper and consider it as just another nail to trim.

2. Schedule your cat for surgery 

If the cutaneous horned paw is making your cat uncomfortable, you should have it removed through surgery. Your vet will excise the base of the lesion so it will not appear again. 

3. Give your cat medication 

Your vet may prescribe Azithromycin or Interferon to your cat to help ease her discomfort.

What causes horned paws in cats?

Horned paws in cats are usually caused by an overgrowth of keratin and can also be caused by a cyst with a build-up of hardened fluid along with dead skin cells. Calluses can also cause the formation of horned paws as well as exposure to radiation from the sunlight, feline leukemia virus, papillomavirus infection and squamous cell carcinoma. Your vet may have to conduct a biopsy and FelV tests to rule out other life-threatening possibilities. 

Can you cut horned paws?

Yes, you can cut horned paws since they have no nerves or blood vessels.  Consult your vet to confirm if what you are about to cut or trim are horned paws and not tumors.

How do I treat my cat’s infected paw?

Treat your cat’s infected paw by cleaning it and rinsing the affected area with warm water at least three times daily especially after your cat used the litter box. Use animal-safe antiseptic sprays to prevent the wound from becoming infected. Avoid using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as it could damage the paw pads. 

Place a protective bootie or sock on the affected paw and secure a tape on the sock to keep it from falling off. Let your cat wear a cone to prevent her from licking the cleaned wound.


Cats can suffer from paw injuries and abnormal paw growths. Cat horned paws are horn-like keratin formations and a common feline skin disease that can cause discomfort and pain if they grow on the plantar surface. The causes of this condition include cysts, calluses, papillomavirus infection and squamous cell carcinoma. 

Image: / Yuliya