Splinters in Cats

Cats can occasionally get a splinter, thorn or shard of glass, due to their protective fur, most often the paws are affected but they can occur on any part of the body. Obviously, cats who go outside are at greater risk of acquiring a splinter than indoor cats.

How do I know if my cat has a splinter?

In most cases, you will be able to see it poking through the skin.

Symptoms of splinter wounds:

  • Pain
  • Reluctance to bear weight on the affected paw
  • Limping
  • Swelling

While not life-threatening, splinters need to be removed, if they are ignored, an infection can develop.

How to remove a splinter from a cat’s paw

  • Clean the area with antibacterial soap and water.
  • Sterilise tweezers with an antiseptic such as Betadine.
  • Carefully grasp the splinter with the splinters tweezers and slide it out of the paw in the same direction it has entered the skin.
  • Apply antiseptic to the wound after removal.

Difficult to remove splinters

  • It may be necessary to trim the fur so that you can see the area more clearly. Electric clippers or shavers are safest to use, to avoid nicks.
  • If it is difficult to grasp the splinter, apply a warm compress to the area, this can help draw out the splinter.
  • If after attempting to remove the splinter it is still stuck, seek veterinary help. The veterinarian can apply a local anesthetic, make a small incision in the skin to remove it.

If the cat has a large splinter or twig stuck in the skin, do not attempt to remove this at home as it may be lodged in internal organs or arteries. Immediate veterinary care is necessary.

Watch for signs of infection over the next few days.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio