Why is My Cat Licking Its Paws? Understanding Causes and Solutions

When you notice your cat spending a bit more time than usual licking its paws, it might leave you wondering if this is normal behavior or a sign of something more. Cats are known for their grooming habits, but excessive paw licking could indicate various issues, ranging from simple discomfort to more serious health concerns. This blog aims to shed light on why your cat may be licking its paws and what steps you can take to address it. If you find yourself concerned about your cat’s health or need more information, Brown Veterinary Hospital in Terre Haute, IN, is here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at (812) 645-0715 to speak with our team or request an appointment.

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What Causes Excessive Paw Licking in Cats?

Cats lick their paws for many reasons, from grooming to self-soothing, but when the behavior becomes excessive, it’s time to take a closer look. Here are some common causes behind this behavior:


Allergies are a frequent culprit behind excessive paw licking. Cats can be allergic to a variety of things, including certain foods, pollen, mold, or household cleaners. These allergies can cause their paws to itch, leading them to lick them more often to soothe the irritation.

Injuries or Infections

Physical injuries such as cuts, thorns, or splinters lodged in your cat’s paws can cause discomfort and lead to excessive licking as they try to heal the wound. Similarly, infections, whether bacterial, fungal, or yeast, can make the paws an itchy and uncomfortable spot that your cat will lick excessively.

Stress or Anxiety

Cats often lick their paws as a self-soothing behavior when they’re stressed or anxious. Changes in the environment, such as moving to a new home, the arrival of a new pet, or even changes in your household routine, can stress your cat and trigger this behavior.


Parasites like fleas or mites can also lead to excessive paw licking. These tiny critters can cause a lot of discomforts, making your cat lick their paws more often in an attempt to get rid of them.

How Can You Help Your Cat?

Identifying the cause of your cat’s excessive paw licking is the first step toward helping them. Here’s what you can do:

Schedule a Veterinary Visit

The best way to get to the bottom of why your cat is licking its paws excessively is to request an appointment with Brown Veterinary Hospital. Our team can conduct a thorough examination to determine the cause and recommend the best course of action.

Keep an Eye on Their Environment

Pay attention to changes in your cat’s environment that could be causing stress or introducing allergens. Keeping your home clean and minimizing changes in their routine can help reduce stress-related licking.

Consider Their Diet

If you suspect food allergies might be the cause, discuss with our team the possibility of changing your cat’s diet. We can recommend hypoallergenic food options that may alleviate the issue.

Flea and Parasite Prevention

Regularly treating your cat for fleas and other parasites is essential. Our team can suggest effective products that will keep these pests at bay and reduce the itching and discomfort that leads to excessive licking.

Provide Comfort and Distraction

Offer your cat plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied and reduce boredom or anxiety. Sometimes, simply providing more attention and playtime can reduce stress-related behaviors.

The Importance of Professional Guidance

While it’s tempting to try and solve your cat’s paw licking problem on your own, it’s important to seek professional advice. Brown Veterinary Hospital is equipped to diagnose and treat the underlying causes of your cat’s discomfort. By understanding what’s prompting this behavior, we can offer tailored solutions that will provide relief and improve your cat’s quality of life.

If you’ve noticed your cat licking its paws more than usual, it could be a sign that something’s amiss. Whether it’s allergies, stress, parasites, or something else, the first step to helping your cat is understanding the cause. At Brown Veterinary Hospital, we’re committed to providing your cat with the care they need to live a happy, healthy life. For more information or to make an appointment, please call us at (812) 645-0715. Your cat’s health is our top priority, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

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About Brown Veterinary Hospital

We are here to serve as your partner in keeping your four-legged family member healthy, ensuring you have all the tools you need to provide them with a lifetime of outstanding care. Our animal hospital in Terre Haute offers a full range of services to nurture and extend your pet’s life, from wellness and preventative care to critical care, exotic pet care, and dermatology.