A veterinarian discusses cancer as a possible cause of a pinkish red growth in a cat’s paw.

Not all sinister growths on a cat are black or otherwise dark.

There is reason to beware of anything pink or reddish growing on your cat’s paw.

What can possibly cause a pink or reddish growth in a cat’s paw?

“Dermatological disease in cats is much less common than in dogs, but often tends to be more serious,” says Dr. Jules Benson, BVSc, chief veterinary officer with NationwideDVM, a pet insurer company.

“Skin growths are always suspicious for cancerous conditions like fibrosarcoma, or an autoimmune condition like eosinophilic granuloma complex (EGC).

“Your veterinarian will be able to take a biopsy (often just using a needle, initially), and the results of the biopsy will inform their opinion as to appropriate treatment options.”

Cell Pathology

“In some cases, isolated masses can be surgically removed with no further problems,” continues Dr. Benson.

“But the outcome very much depends on the type of cells that make up the mass and how the cells appear to be behaving.

“More aggressive cancers may have lots of forms of the same cell type, indicating rapid growth and activity, while cells that all look the same may indicate a more local and treatable form of disease).”

Two Other Cancers that Can Present As a Pink or Red Growth Involving a Cat’s Paw

  • Squamous cell carcinoma. Older cats are usually affected by this sun-exposure-related tumor that may show as a reddish patch of skin covered with a scab in the early stages.
  • Mast cell tumor. This is not usually aggressive.

A pink or red growth on a cat’s paw doesn’t always mean cancer.

  • Eosinophilic plagues. These raised growths may appear “raw.”
  • Indolent ulcer. These are pink and look like sores.
  • Basal cell tumor. This small firm mass most often affects Persian, Siamese and Himalayan cats.
  • Sebaceous adenoma. This resembles a wart.

If you notice any new pink or red growth on your cat’s paw or anywhere else, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the vet.

Dr. Benson is regularly consulted by many media outlets including ABC, NBC, FOX, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to provide pet health advice to pet parents nationwide.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.