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Kittens make the BEST pillows.

“What you want, lady?”

Angelo has a dirty little secret: he’s a toe sucker. And by “toe sucker”, what I mean is that he pulls one of his back legs forward and he nurses on one of his toe pads. And he is SO happy and purrs SO loud while he’s doing it that I just want to snatch him up and cover his sweet face with kisses. I’ve had kittens who nurse on their own midsection and kittens who nurse on a litter mate’s midsection, but I’ve never had a toe sucker before. He never does it long – maybe a couple of minutes – and sometimes Ferdinand comes over and joins in. Sucking on Angelo’s toe pad, that is, not his own.

Mariette is not impressed with this behavior.

Bath time for Mariette.

Orlando checks out the goings-on in the neighborhood.

And up in the sky.

Angelo is so smug that he doesn’t even care that I told y’all his dirty little secret.

Dennis is studiously ignoring me.

Orlando, sporting the Hot! New! One-Ear-Folded-Over Style.


Last week, we discovered that Tommy has Plasma Cell Pododermatitis, which is commonly known as Pillow Paw or Pillow Foot. To be honest, we didn’t realize that there was something big going on with his paws – we thought that the cold weather was making them dry and cracked, and had been putting coconut oil on them. In retrospect, we should have noticed that his pads were swollen and soft, rather than the firm paw pads cats usually have. Luckily, the vet was willing to research, and told us that Tommy has a textbook case of it (though not nearly as bad as some of the pictures I’ve seen online; Google at your own peril.)

It’s an autoimmune issue – which might be related to the Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex he also has. There might be a link to FIV, but not in Tommy’s case – he’s been tested and is negative.

I tell you all of this so that I can tell you I’ve been singing “Mushy Paw, Mushy Paw, What are they feeding you?” (to the tune of Smelly Cat) to Tommy, and then he looks at me like this:


2013: Why drink fresh water out of the water bowl when you’ve got an entire pond of water that tastes like catfish poop?
2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: They feel cartilage-y, like human ears.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



3-6-14 — 20 Comments

  1. Toe sucker! And not even his front paw so it’s like sucking his thumb! And he lets his brother suck his toe too? Oh my gosh! That is the silliest, cutest, weirdest thing I’ve ever heard!
    Poor Tommy! Is there a treatment? I am completely NOT surprised that you sing that to him! LOL I just wonder if we’re going to see it on a singing cat app soon. 🙂

  2. Ted and Martha over at 50 Kittens have a staff cat who has Pillow Foot… Reggie, maybe? IIRC, they started feeding him duck and pea food and he’s was o.k. after one episode. They may have advice for you, Robyn.

  3. Oh Tommy you poor thing. Hopefully it’s not too painful for him.

    Honestly, the sight of a stretched kitten taking a sunbath just makes me drowsy. I want that kind of life. Or the time to sneak up and snorgle their bellies while they’re sleeping.

  4. My Lily used to suck her tail. It was ADORABLE. At the vet’s suggestion, I broke her of the habit (it makes them susceptible to infections and skin issues. Broke my heart, but she accepted lots of snuggles instead.

  5. Yes indeed, our cat Reggie was dx’d with pillow foot a few years ago. The vet did recommend that we put him on limited ingredient food and it cleared up. But quite a while later, we realized the LIF was giving him diarrhea and we took him off of it. Never had pillow foot again, so I think it was a coincidence that it went away with the food. Unfortunately, they don’t know that much about it!

  6. Here’s hoping Ambassador Tommy gets better soon so he can go back to being the great go-between among Fosters and Permanent Residents!

    Regarding Angelo sucking his toe and kneading: I’m currently typing this from the afterlife as I am D-E-D dead from the cute!

  7. Toe sucker….haven’t had one of those. But love the new folded ear look! 🙂

    So is Tommy making that face about the song….or the singing?? MOL

  8. My cousin had a cat that was a toe sucker… on his back paw as well. The sound of it DROVE HER NUTS! She liked hearing the purring, but the constant sucking noise got him banned from their bedroom at night, lol.

  9. Condolences to Tommy the Great. Meanwhile, are the Players perhaps a touch too big to be introduced to the Permanents? Just wondering if they’ll get to be out and about before heading off to Petsmart.

  10. I had a toe sucking cat! When I was 10 years old, we adopted a pair of brother kittens at Easter time. The smaller brother sucked the toes on one of his hind legs while he made biscuits. He also sucked Barbie’s toes. He was a strange little dude.

  11. Poor Tommy. Are you sure no one’s been sucking on HIS toes?

    Question for you/your readers: Any suggestions on how to deter a cat from using the doggie door? Expensive electronic “coded” doors/collars aren’t an option right now.

    I need the dog to be able to get in and out, because she’s old and her bladder/bowel control isn’t what it could be, and I don’t like leaving her outside all day long (especially now that it’s getting to be summer here). Attempts to keep the cat and/or dog locked up so that they can/can’t get to the doggie door have been fraught with ridiculousness (and I now need to replace two interior doors from where they’ve been clawed/chewed clean through).

    Suggestions welcome!

    (PS I miss coming here! I just don’t have the time lately… )c: I mentioned you recently to a friend in need, though, so if you hear from a Lisa in the NOLA area, she’s from me! xoxo)

  12. Had a cat w/ the Oesinophilic thing. She was on steroids forever which allowed her to have only occasional flare-ups instead of constant.

  13. He sucks his toes because they’re made of CANDY CORN!! (Yanno, cause he’s so sweet? ;P )

    Sending as many kisses as Stinkerbelle will allow for her mancat!