Ginger's paws are amazing tools. These built-in slippers allow her to walk silently and cross a variety of terrain, as well as hunt prey. Not only do her pads indicate her coat color, they also help her mark territory and sweat.
Paw Pad Color
If Ginger's paw pads are pink, chances are she's a ginger. Paw pad color typically indicates the color of a cat's coat. Most black cats have black paw pads, many grey cats have grey paw pads, and multi-colored cats tend to have paw pads that reflect the colors in their coats. The pigment that colors Ginger's coat also colors her skin, and since paw pads are skin over tissue and fat, they'll be similarly colored to the rest of Ginger -- if they're healthy.
Healthy Paw Pads
A cat's paw pads help her hunt and navigate a variety of terrain. If her pads are healthy, they'll be clear of litter or other debris sticking to them or between her toes. Ginger's pads should also be free of cuts, abrasions or inflammation. If she walks in areas where there are chemicals or other potentially harmful solutions, wipe her paws clean to keep them from getting irritated and minimize the chance she'll ingest something that disagrees with her.
If Ginger's paw pads have suddenly turned pink or purplish, take a good look at them. Look for signs such as redness or swelling, small solid masses, discharge or inflammation of the tissue around her nail. Although unusual, a cat's paws can become inflamed from a condition known as pododermatitis, otherwise known as pillow foot. Pododermatitis is often caused by fungal, bacterial or parasitic infections, although other causes can include cancer, poor grooming, depressed thyroid levels and environmental irritants.
If you suspect that Ginger's pink paws aren't color-related, the vet should check them to be sure. If she's developed pododermatitis, it's usually a straightforward treatment regimen you can administer at home. She may need her affected paws soaked and bandaged. Medication is sometimes necessary, and may include antibiotics or steroids.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.