Cat Paw Pads Turning Black – Why?

Cat’s small pads are susceptible and contain a large number of nerve endings.

Thanks to the pads’ sensitivity, cats can sense the texture of surfaces and vibrations, which allows them to estimate the distance to their prey.

Cat paw pads turning black – why

The paw pads are resistant to harsh environmental conditions, but they are very sensitive to high and low temperatures.

Whenever soft pads get contact with the surface of hot asphalt or icy sidewalk, they damaged quickly.

Some owners of cats noticed how the pads of their pets turned black: what could it be?

And why is this happening? Let’s try to figure it out.

Fungal Infections

Fungal spores, which cause various lesions of the skin and claws in cats, are ubiquitous.

One of the symptoms of a fungal infection is skin peeling. Different types of fungi can cause very similar symptoms.

The diagnosis – on which the appointment of therapy depends, can only be made based on the tests’ results.

Mechanical tissue damage can be why the paw pads of the cat turn black and peel off. At-risk are free-range pets. An infection often gets into the wound, which significantly complicates the treatment.

Burn Or Frostbite

Sudden temperature changes have an extremely negative effect on skin conditions.

In cold weather, cats try to stay close to heat sources and may accidentally burn the pads on the stove or heater just turned off.

Frostbite threatens a pet with free access to the street.

Of course, it rarely comes to tissue necrosis, but slight peeling is a common occurrence on the paws of a “walking” cat.

Improper Nail Care

Cat claws can cause severe damage to the interior.

A haircut or patching is a common and even recommended action, far from being practical.

In any case, this injury makes the claw and its base more vulnerable to infections, including fungal infections.

The disease can spread to nearby areas – interdigital spaces and paw pads.

One of the symptoms of diseases is the peeling or blackening of the skin.

The owner is quite capable of protecting the pet from many misfortunes.

According to statistics, an animal can get most of the diseases and injuries on the street, so it is undesirable to let the cat out into the street.

Good immunity can cope with many infections.

But it is unnecessary to stuff the animal with vitamin supplements: the best option is a balanced diet.


Gangrene is a particular type of necrosis of part or all of an organ that acquires a gray-brown or black color under environmental factors or microbes.

In cats, gangrene of the skin and adjacent tissues, auricle, udder, external genital organs, lungs, intestines, fingers, feet, and tail is more common.

The main etiological factors of gangrene are the same as in necrosis. They can be exogenous or endogenous.

Depending on the cause that caused tissue necrosis, gangrene is divided into traumatic, thermal, chemical, intoxication, infectious, neurotrophic, and diabetic.

Each of the listed types of infection has its characteristics of pathogenesis and specific signs.

External causes that lead to gangrene include:

  • Bruises of the third and fourth degrees, accompanied by crushing and rupture of tissues, especially blood vessels and nerves
  • The prolonged squeezing of a part of the body or organ when lying on a hard floor (bedsores)
  • Tight bandages or plaster bandages
  • Thermal burns and frostbite of the third and fourth degrees
  • Exposure to acids, alkalis, and other chemicals
  • Infringement of the intestine in the hernial ring or with volvulus
  • Infection with pathogenic microbes – pathogens of anaerobic infection are hazardous

Internal causes include:

  • Blockage or rupture of blood vessels (thromboembolism), especially when collaterals are absent
  • Vasospasm in chronic ergot poisoning
  • Violation of innervation (vasomotor, trophic) and endocrine system function

The onset of gangrene is facilitated by heart and vascular failure, profuse blood loss, weakening of the body from metabolic disorders, starvation, and severe illnesses.


Lack of vitamins and minerals often manifests itself in cat’s pads turning black.

Despite the seeming ease of the problem, it is not recommended to stuff your pet with vitamin complexes on your own: you need to exclude other diseases.

A secondary infection can significantly worsen the animal’s condition, complicate the disease’s diagnosis, and delay treatment.

If your cat has paw pads, first of all, you need to pay attention to the litter for the toilet.

Some types of clay fillers can mechanically damage the pads’ skin.

In contrast, a variety of dyes and fragrances in others can cause an allergic reaction.

The best litter for cat litter is ordinary earth or sand, but their use at home is impossible.

Another reason for the blackening of the skin on the pads is the pet’s excessive hygiene.

Shampoos and other cosmetics can be a provoking factor.

Reasons cat paw pads are turning black

It is not recommended to wash a pet that does not have access to the street – the cat does an excellent job of caring for the most luxurious fur coat.

The exception is representatives of all breeds of sphinxes, whose skin has a much larger sweat and sebaceous glands.

An allergic reaction is possible to household chemicals.

Cats are curious and will enthusiastically walk around a bathtub or sink that has been polished with dish soap.

Allergy treatment is always complex, often long-term, and is selected individually.

It is tough to cure an animal independently, without examination by a qualified veterinarian and tests.


If the pads on the paws of a cat turn black, this may be the initial stage of plasmacytic pododermatitis.

The nature of the disease has not been finally established.

There are assumptions that it occurs in connection with impaired functioning of the immune system.

The pathogenic bacteria (streptococci, E. coli, and others) may have triggered the pathological process.

To diagnose the disease, you will need to pass several tests, according to the results of which the veterinarian will prescribe treatment.

It will take at least two months.

Final Words

Freedom of movement is essential for a cat. It gets a lot of stress when it experiences discomfort in its limbs, even the passive ones.

And suppose an active kitten experiences pain and discomfort in the paws’.

In that case, a highly nervous mental state complicated the kitten’s condition.

Show the animal to the veterinarian immediately, as soon as you find that your cat’s pads are becoming black.