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On August 25th, 2016

Why Is My Cat Losing Her Claws?

kitten scratching postHave you ever found what looks like your cat's claw in the carpet or scratching post? Don't worry, this is normal and healthy. Cats lose the outer sheath of their claws and reveal a sharper claw.

What causes the claws to fall out?
Scratching helps claw sheaths fall out, which keeps kitty comfortable. Like dog claws, if the sheaths do not shed, they can curl under and pierce the toe pads, causing pain and infection. So like dogs, cats need nail trims.

Is other nail care necessary?
Cutting the nail tips helps cats not scratch as much to lose their claws. Trimming can also prevent tearing nails. If your feline enjoys sitting on your belly and kneading, you know you can benefit from the trims, too! Sharp nails are painful to our tender tummies.

Starting your cat's nail trims as a kitten makes the habit much easier. You can trim the claws yourself or rely on a vet or groomer. But before you trim, be sure you know how to trim safely and are confident. You don't want to cut into kitty's quick.

When the cat's claw grows beyond the blood supply (quick), the outer sheath, or claw husk,  peels off to expose a newer, sharper nail for self-defense, climbing and hunting (even that favorite blue mouse!). Claws from each toe fall out every two to three months. Surprisingly, cats scratch to pull front claw sheaths out, but they bite and pull the rear sheaths. Claw sheaths can be all sizes from a full nail cover to one side or just a tip.

Do cats prefer a special scratching tool?
While cats enjoy stretching up on a carpeted or wooden scratching post, they also add their scent and reveal sharper claws from the exercise. Some cats enjoy a scratching on a flat, horizontal surface, so that's why you might find sheaths in carpets and rugs or cardboard scratchers.

The important take-away about cat claws is that they normally lose the claw sheaths, but check the nails occasionally to see if a trim is necessary or if the claws are too close to the paw pad.

At Wagz 'n Whiskerz Pet Sitting, your pet's health and comfort are our primary concern. We are delighted to care for your cats in their own homes and look closely for any concerns. Call us or visit us online today to schedule daily visits for your pets.

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