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My cat has a strange overgrown claw

September 6th, 2009, 11:07 PM
The thumb claw on my cat's right paw has either grown out or is just unable to be retracted. I drew a very basic picture with paint. This picture is when the paw is at rest (with none of the claws flexed) but the one on the thumb is jutted out as far as it would be if it were flexed.

The pic is a little out of proportion. Her claw is no bigger than normal, although it seems a bit wider (maybe from being curled back into itself almost). The white is the white pigment in a claw and the gray is the translucent part. The tip isn't very sharp and doesn't seem to be digging back into her paw pad yet. There's a little black part before the pink and Mitzie (the cat) doesn't like me touching it. It looks kind of flakey and seems to have grown out of her paw and I'm not sure if it's dried blood or something else.

She doesn't seem to be expressing much discomfort. She is licking her paws a lot but not too much more than usual and she doesn't seem to be focusing on the specific area.

I am planning to call the vet first thing Tuesday (of course I discovered something like this on Labour Day). I don't really think this requires an emergency appointment but I'm still very worried. I might not be able to get her there for a few days and am wondering if I should do something in the meantime.

Any thoughts? I would really appreciate any help anyone can give or maybe stories of similar situations.

She's my first pet and I'm like, bawling when I see her calmly sleeping on my bed. She probably thinks I've lost my mind.

September 6th, 2009, 11:23 PM
Any way you can post an actual picture of it?

The thumb claws don't actually retract like the rest of the claws do, they are always sitting along the side of the leg - much like a dogs dew claw

From your description I'm assuming the claw is white, so the pink if it is pale in colour is natural tissue surrounding the quick, the black just above that is also either tissue or dirt. The tissue does tend to get dry & a bit flakey when the claws need clipping.

If the tip is not sharp & she's washing that area it's likely she needs her claws clipped, as when they grow too long it starts to irritate or hurt if they can't sharpen or chew it off.

Is there any sign of infection? Is the skin red, sore, irritated, any pus around the claw or foot? Is she walking on the foot normally? Is the area around the claw abnormally warm/hot?

September 7th, 2009, 12:29 AM
She's walking okay, although maybe a little more carefully than I usually see her walking. I managed to snap a few pictures.

Sorry if some of the pics are slightly out of focus, my cat is not a fan of the having her paw photographed.

This is the first picture. It's actually of the same claw on her other paw for comparisons. This is what I usually expect to see.

This is what her other paw looks like at rest. It looks different.

Some close ups of the paw. The part that worries me is how wide it is and that little darkened area underneath the pink quick.

That darkened area (upon closer inspection not quite black) looks kind of gross and I don't really know if it's puss or something else. =(

Anyone have any insights?

September 7th, 2009, 12:50 AM
The nail itself is definately in need of a trim given the length & dullness of the tip, the slightly off colour as well as the thickening of the enamel indicates that too. The brown stuff from the pics looks like normal dead tissue and/or dirt.

Have you touched the sides of nail itself? Any painful reaction or oozing?

The angle the nail is sticking out is a bit concerning, is the base of the nail swollen?

How old is Mitzie?

September 7th, 2009, 01:35 AM
She didn't seem to like it when I touched the nail directly and now she's hiding under my bed (probably from my excessive attention to her paw). I'm not sure if that was out of pain or if she's just protective of her claws.

There's no oozing or pus (the nail seems dry) but the base, now that you mention it, does seem a tad swollen. That might be what's keeping the nail sticking out like that? The nail doesn't seem much longer than it usually is but it's not being retracted properly.

Could that be an urgent problem or would I be able to wait a few days for the vet visit?

September 7th, 2009, 01:51 AM
If she's eating, drinking, using the litterbox normally, not bleeding or oozing anything else, breathing normally, not constantly never-ending chewing it and is walking well enough to get to all the necessary areas ie food, litterbox & bed she'll be okay until Tues when you can get her in.

The area around the base of the nail being swollen plus the thickening of the nail itself is likely the reason the nail is sticking out a bit. She may have a small infection in the foot or it's just a reaction to the overgrowth. Does the rest of her paw seem swollen or just around the nail base?

Is she indoor only or does she go outside? If she goes out, keep her in until she's seen the vet just to be sure she doesn't catch the claw on something outside.

September 7th, 2009, 02:17 AM
k, thanks a lot. She seems to be doing alright. If she starts chewing on it I'll take more action.

and no, she's a fully inside cat and the rest of her paw seems okay. I'll keep an extra eye on her in the meantime.

September 7th, 2009, 06:02 AM
definitley needs a trim, when trimed it will thin out, all that excess needs to be shedded off, you can trim your cats nails, when you do trim back leaving a bit before the quick. It looks like maybe because it is long it got caught on something and that pulled it out of place. I would make sure to get it looked at on tues. To see if there is an injury and, or infection, the vet will likely trim it back for you, perhaps he can show you how, good luck! I dont think it is very serious and kitty will probably be just fine,

September 7th, 2009, 07:15 AM
Puddles "thumb" claws are like that and she needs to get her nails trimmed every 2 months at least. I have the vet do it as he has to trim it quite close to the quick, otherwise we would be there every month.