Our cat (DMH) came home with a heavy coat of dried paint on one of his paws. It looks like he must have stepped in a roller pan or something like that. I'm pretty sure it is an oil based paint as there is still a strong solvent smell.

So far we've tried vegetable oil, which doesn't seem to touch it, cutting the paint with (rather wimpy) clippers, and also with scissors. The paint is well on its way to drying, and it is hard to cut – so we're worried about cutting him (or getting shredded by him).

Wondering if there are ways to safely remove the paint, if it needs to be removed, and if a trip to the emergency vet is in order?

  • I'm guessing that it is modern paint – I'm in the US, but we don't know where he got into it. I'm more worried that there is a lot of it. It pretty much saturated one hind foot. He seems quite unhappy about it… – dlu Feb 13 '16 at 20:35

In the United States (as you are per your comment) the most significant health concern with modern paints is Volatile organic compound (VOC) in short these are the things in paint, that evaperate so the paint goes from being a liquid to a solid.

In the US there is a current trend to lower and/or eliminate the VOCs as well ref1, ref2. Lead paint has been banned in the US since 1977

As the paint is already dried, your cat is not subject to any additional health risks, while he is "wearing" the dry paint. using solvents to remove it will introduce more VOC's, which would not be good. You don't need to go to the emergency room to have the paint removed. BUT do keep on eye on things, It is going to be annoying and he may cause injury to himself (or may not) trying to remove the paint. If he does then take him to the vet.

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