Nail and Claw Disorders in Cats

Nail and nail bed disorders may refer to any abnormality or disease that affects the claws or the surrounding area. The disorders are generally known as dystrophies. One type of nail disorder, paronychia, is an infection that causes inflammation of the tissue around the nail or claw. Onychomycosis, or fungal infection, can also occur in and around the nail bed.

Cats may exhibit extremely brittle nails (onychorrhexis), or have nails that separate, peel, and slough excessively (onychomadesis). Most nail or nail bed disorders have an excellent treatment prognosis and can be remedied in a relatively short amount of time.

Common signs of nail or nail bed disorders can include:

  • Licking at the paws
  • Lameness, difficulty walking
  • Pain in the feet
  • Swelling or redness of the tissues surrounding the nails
  • Nail plate deformity (the part of the nail that overlays the nail bed)
  • Abnormal nail color