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Do I Need to Trim My Cat’s Paw Fur? Benefits & Grooming Tips

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

a young polydactyl tortie Maine Coon cat on a dark background

Every cat owner knows that cats love to groom themselves—it even seems like a recreational pastime for cats. Since cats do a fabulous job of grooming on their own, you may wonder if you need to trim your cat’s paw fur. Unless you have a longhaired cat, like the Main Coon, you don’t need to trim your cat’s paw fur unless the fur is causing an issue. Professional groomers may do this to tidy things up, but paw fur serves a purpose.

In this article, we’ll discuss when and why trimming your cat’s paw fur is necessary and when it is not.

hepper cat paw dividerWhat Are the Advantages of Paw Fur?

The fur between your cat’s paw also called the toe tuft, actually serves a purpose. The fur allows cats to stalk their prey quietly by muffling their footsteps. The fur also adds protection for your cat’s paw pads against abrasive surfaces. Paw pads are thick and generally serve this purpose on their own, but there’s no harm in having additional protection. Another advantage of paw fur is it protects the paw pads from extremely hot or cold surfaces.

Usually, only medium to longhaired cats have paw fur, such as the Main Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat. Shorthaired cats typically do not have paw fur.

tortoiseshell maine coon cat
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

When Should I Trim My Cat’s Paw Fur?

Even though we have established the advantages of paw fur, there are times when the fur should be trimmed. For starters, if the fur is long, it may irritate your cat or cause a tickle—this, in turn, could irritate due to your cat constantly licking and pulling on the hair.

Other reasons are if your cat is tracking kitty litter and dirt throughout the home. Dirt, debris, and kitty litter can certainly get caught up in the fur when the fur is long between the paws, which can be irritating to your cat. Long fur between the paws can also cause an imbalance when your cat walks, especially on slick surfaces.

Lastly, you should trim the paw fur if it gets matted. Matted paw fur could cause a skin infection if not addressed, and the mats can also harbor fleas and ticks.

How Do I Trim My Cat’s Paw Fur Safely?

You can trim the paw fur yourself if you feel comfortable; you only need a small pair of rounded scissors to do the job, but be careful not to cut the pads. That said, only trim up to the paw pad’s levels. Some cats retaliate if you touch their paws, and if your cat falls into this category, a professional groomer can take care of it for you.

Maine Coon cat ready for grooming, grooming tools
Image Credit: Kreminska, Shutterstock

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Safe

As a cat owner, it is your responsibility to keep your kitty safe. One way to ensure your cat’s safety is to keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats run the risk of getting injured by another animal, eating something poisonous, or sadly getting run over by a vehicle. Cats love to observe the world around them, and one way to allow your indoor cat to see the outside world with a terrific view is by purchasing a cat window perch. That way, your cat can observe the outside world safely.

Ensure you keep toxic household items out of reach, such as certain plants, and provide your cat with physical and mental stimulation. Cat trees are excellent ways to provide comfort for your kitty. Some cat trees and condos come with a dangling toy, which is also fun for cats.

Lastly, do not overfeed your cat. Some cats are prone to obesity, and feeding the correct amount of complete and balanced cat food will help keep your cat healthy and happy.

hepper single cat paw divider


Cat paw fur, also known as toe tuft, serves a purpose most of the time. However, there are times when it should be trimmed, and knowing when is key. We hope you found this article informative and that you learned when and why to trim your cat’s paw fur. Remember that shorthaired cats usually do not have paw fur, but if you have a medium to longhaired cat, there may be times when trimming the paw fur is warranted.

Featured Image Credit By: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock

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