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Splinters in Cats

Splinters in cats

Cats can occasionally get a splinter, thorn or shard of glass, due to their protective fur, most often the paws are affected but they can occur on any part of the body. Obviously, cats who go outside are at greater risk of acquiring a splinter than indoor cats.

How do I know if my cat has a splinter?

You should be able to see it poking through the skin, carefully check between the paws as it could be lodged in there.

Common symptoms of splinter wounds include pain, reluctance to bear weight on the affected paw, limping and possibly swelling.

While not life threatening, splinters need to be removed. If they remain in the skin, an infection can occur, resulting in pain and swelling.

How do I remove a splinter?

  • Clean the area with antibacterial soap and water.
  • Carefully grasp it with some tweezers (which have been wiped down with an antiseptic such as Betadine) and slide it out of the paw in the same direction it has entered the skin. Apply some mild antiseptic such as betadine to the wound after the splinter has been removed.

Difficult to remove splinters:

  • If the splinter is located elsewhere on the body, you may need to trim away some of the fur so that you can see the area more clearly. Electric clippers or shavers are safest to use, to avoid nicks.
  • If it is difficult to grasp the splinter, apply a warm compress to the area, this can help draw out the splinter.
  • If after attempting to draw out the splinter it is still stuck under the skin, you will need to take your cat to a veterinarian. He may need to make a small incision in the skin to remove it.

If your cat has a large splinter or twig stuck in the skin, do not attempt to remove this at home as it may be lodged in internal organs or arteries. Immediate veterinary care is necessary.

Watch for signs of infection over the next few days.