Cat Licked Paint Off Paw

My cat licked paint of her paw. What should I do? We decorate. Our cat is inquisitive. Our cat walks into the paint or falls into the paint. This is what happened to my cat. I was painting the bathroom using solid paint. It is like a slab of butter in a tray. She climbed the bath and slipped. She fell on her side into the paint and ran off leaving a trail of paint paw prints on the carpet and fear in my heart for her health.

I found her, grabbed her and put her in a sink full of water! The paint was water based so it washed off. Some paint is water based and some oil based. The latter is washed off using turps or a specialist paint brush cleaner (but don't do this if it is on your cat). This paint might have lead in it. Lead makes the paint more durable and usually applies to outdoor paints. Lead though is poisonous. Lead is probably banned in many European countries and parts of America in paints at the time of writing this.

So, if your cat licked paint of his or her paw the first question is what kind of paint is it? It might be possible to catch your cat before she licks much off and the paint might be water based. Check the tin.

Lead is listed as a poison (and rightly so). Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook says that lead "previously served as a base for many commercial paints" (i.e. does no longer). Correct. Paints these days should be lead free. This applies to America and Europe I suspect as mentioned. Apparently the USA banned lead paint in 1977!

However, many countries are not at that stage where lead in paint is not used or banned. Cat toys manufactured abroad is one example.

I would check the paint. Is there lead in it. Read the can. In fact if we keep cats there is an argument that we should check the paint before buying it! The paint should be water based and lead free.



If your cat has walked in paint and is licking it off, the first thing to do is to stop him or her licking her paws - obviously. If the paint is water based it can be washed off with water. Water is a solvent and soaking the paws that are covered in paint will dissolve the paint. It can then be washed off.

If the paint is oil based it is more complicated. The same book says that residual [paint] should be saturated in vegetable oil and left for 24 hours. Then wash the area with soap and water. Apply nail polish remover and "follow with a good rinsing" if the "substance is on the feet".

Meanwhile the cat should be prevented from grooming off the paint. An "Elizabethan collar may be required" (one of those plastic collars that vets put around the neck).

Solvents such as turpentine (turps) and gasoline should not be used to remove the paint because they are toxic to the cat and harmful to the skin.

If in doubt see a veterinarian as an emergency. Take the paint can with you.

Diversion: Turbo scratcher cat toy: Furby's First Toy By Furby

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