My cat Hunter (10 year old neutered male with chronic sinus infections and no teeth due to stomatitis) grows these calluses on his paw pads. He's grown these calluses since I've had him (5 months old). None of our other cats have them.

Why do they show up and is there any harm in removing them?

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  • if you ever learn more about his condition i would be most happy to know as my cats suffers from the same condition. thx!
    – Vahx
    Jun 18 '15 at 12:14
  • So I know this is years later but do any of these cats limp from these callouses? Do the cats lift their paw in the air so they aren’t putting weight on the paw? My Persian cat has a rough paw & it looks like it causes discomfort from it. The vet couldn’t see any cuts or bites but he still received an antibiotic & an ant inflammatory for it but it came back. Sep 8 at 16:37

There a few possibilities. As he's been getting them for 10 years, I think we can probably rule out Squamous Cell Carcinoma in his paws, amongst other cancer options, but non-cancerous possibles include:

  1. Cutaneous horn - Which may be linked to some serious issues, but can be benign. They can be removed surgically and should be looked at by a vet for underlying causes.

  2. Fibroma - Which is benign, but you can remove it surgically if it's causing discomfort. A biopsy would be needed to confirm, though I don't think it's common to get on the pad.

  3. Hyperkeratosis - In cats, this could be caused by pemphigus foliaceus resulting in increased keratin at the foot pad, but there could well be other reasons for it (people are calling it "horned paw"). Also should have vet intercession to deal with, if necessary.

There are some more dangerous causes as well though, as I noted, the history would suggest extremely unlikely. It may also be none of the above as well, it's really hard to say, but increased keratin from one reason or another seems pretty likely.

On the long story short front... You shouldn't remove it yourself.

  • Thanks, this is a much better answer than I found when googling it myself! Also the vet said it wasn't anything to worry about, so I guess his are benign.
    – Zaralynda
    Dec 22 '14 at 16:54
  • @Zaralynda - Probably just excessive keratin, grows and wears down, grows again, kind of thing.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 22 '14 at 18:03
  • My cat has the same issue, he's had it all his life now (5 years) and i never really knew what it was, 1 vet never saw it before, another said he had heard of it and it wasn't anything to worry about altho no tests were done. They do grow pretty fast, first vet removed them once and after 6 months they were about as long as they are in OP's picture. I tend to cut them shorter myself whenever the cat lets me, never to the flesh tho. would this 'callus' break off on its own if they are to long? we never really tried
    – Vahx
    Jun 18 '15 at 12:07

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