Cats with Horned Paws — It’s a Thing

It took about three years for Jane to become comfortable enough to allow me to pick her up. In fact, she is a bit of a mysery. Most days she hides out downstairs. We didn’t discover there was a name for her breed (Nebelung) until last year when I answered trivia on FreeKibbleKat which sounded a lot like a description of our fluffball. We just keep finding things out about our old cat Jane.

Yesterday’s discovery was something Miklos had noticed long ago but somehow forgot to mention.

a cinnamon Jane roll

You can’t tell from here, and you can barely tell from up close… which is why I haven’t got a more recent picture. That’s a two-person job.

Jane has horned paws. They’re on every toe pad on both front paws. This link will explain more, and keep in mind, Jane is not a polydactyl (6-toed) cat, but just a regular old cat with what looks like nails growing in a mirror image out of her paw pads toward her other claws. Just weird. I’ll get pictures and update this post later.

Cat with horned paws, obscured by fluffiness

[UPDATE March 28, 2016] This is about the best shot I can get of her paws years later… and this shot is from 2009. :/ Still going to keep trying. She doesn’t love us touching her paws apparently.

I don’t know if they bother her, but they might, since she walks very lightly. Apparently you can clip them and they don’t have a blood supply. As long as you clean them it should be fine. I might wait until Jane’s a bit more sleepy to do that, however. I’m scared of having to wait another three years to get to pet her again.

Miklos says he noticed this a long time ago. Jane is almost 12, I have known her almost five years and have just learned this now. Proof positive that I’m not one of those canoodling-her-cats-all-day cat ladies. For now.

fluffy grey cat with bright green eyes

I’m wondering now how common this is. Does your cat have horned paws too?

About Nikki

I've been writing since I was in kindergarten where I Crayola-markered an epic tale of a tiger and a balloon on a stack of lined papers folded into a booklet and stapled along the edge (carefully, and by my teacher). I love DIY, sewing, folksy music, animals and getting out to look at and listen to nature.
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  2. My cat, Asti, had these. I would try to keep them clipped, but she would gnaw at them in a very distressing way. She would get her teeth right into them and pull, and it would make a snapping noise. I would have to shout, “Kitten, stop chewing your toes!”

    I thought they were callouses, caused by letting her nails get too long so that they irritated her paw pads. I never knew paw horns were a thing, I thought it was something I did wrong!

    • You know what’s odd? Our yellow lab has a thing called hyperkeratosis where these little hard “feathers” grow on the pawpads of overweight or older dogs. (She needed a diet this winter but she is only 4.) Unlike Jane’s horned paws these seem to affect her walking, probably because of all the weight on her feet. I read you can trim them off but Casey looked nervous so I’ll have to take her to the vet and get it done. How strange that we have two animals with these conditions I never heard of while I was growing up. As for Jane, if I try to trim those horned paws it is a deathwish.

  3. My Nebelung just developed those recently. They are on all front toes and only a few back toes. She’s four and a half years old. I’ll have to chat with my vet about them on Monday.

    • Maybe your vet can show you how to clip them, if your cat is willing to let you do that. We need to take our horned paw kitty to the groomer. I think after a while they do affect her walking so we have to remember to check every so often. PS, Nebelungs rock!!

  4. I just brought my Siamese ragdoll cat to the vet for other minor issues and they gave her a “Mani pedi” for $15 which controlled her horned paws. They were like carabeeners, or lobster claws, getting caught in everything!
    Not an issue really. And cheap to get done by the vet. She’s happier now.

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