20 things you should know about your cat’s claws

20 things you should know about your cat’s claws

A cat’s claws are fundamental to their emotional and physical wellbeing, so it’s vital for kitty owners to assess them on a weekly basis.

Your pussycat’s claws enable them to hunt, scratch and climb, amongst other things.

While younger felines tend to naturally wear their claws down, you’ll still need to regularly check them over, making sure they’re in tip-top condition.

Of course, you can’t protect your puss from every risk. Illness or injury can be unpredictable, which is why it’s so important to secure reliable cover – vet bills stack up quickly.

Go Get It understands that loving owners lead hectic lives. We can help you do a quick pet insurance comparison, finding the best value policy for your kitty.

Take a look at our top claw-care tips!


  1. Start clipping your cat’s nails during kittenhood

It’s best to get kitties used to claw clipping from a young age. Before you attempt it, ask your vet to demonstrate the correct trimming technique on your feline for you.

The paw of a kitten

  1. Take your time trimming

Start by simply placing gentle pressure on each of kitty’s toes, not actually trimming the nails. Reward with treats as you go.

After practising this, you can work your way up to a full nail trimming session, using claw clippers specifically designed for felines.


  1. Press the pads on your cat’s feet for easy access

Softly squeeze your cat’s paws between your thumb and forefinger: this will cause the claws to extend.


  1. Look for the transparent tip

Only trim away the clear tip of a claw and avoid trimming too high up, as you could hit a blood vessel.


  1. Styptic powder or silver nitrate helps healing

If you hit a vessel and bleeding occurs, apply styptic powder or silver nitrate to the affected area, pressing it with cotton wool.

Either treatment can be purchased from your veterinary clinic. Call your vet straightaway if the bleeding fails to cease after a while.


  1. Your cat may have more claws than you think

Many pussycats have four claws per back foot and five claws per front foot. Cats who have extra digits in addition to these are referred to as polydactyl.

A cat laying down with its claws kneading

  1. The fifth front claw is called the dewclaw

The dewclaw is the feline equivalent of the human thumb, providing extra traction and grip.

You can find them on some cats’ inner wrists, positioned slightly higher than the other claws.


  1. Extra claws need trimming

Both dewclaws and extra claws are raised, so could become overgrown without frequent trimming.


  1. Ingrown claws shouldn’t be clipped

When examining your pussycat’s paw, if you’re able to feel or observe a claw growing inwards, take your cat to the vet immediately.

Cutting ingrown claws can cause your kitty pain, and they may need antibiotics or painkillers.


  1. Your cat’s claws grow like nails

Pussycats’ claws grow indefinitely, so must be worn down through physical activity or trimmed.

Outdoor cats often sharpen their claws on hard surfaces, while indoor kitties tend to use scratching posts to keep their talons short and sharp.

A cats paw clinging onto a fence using it's claws

  1. Feline claws shed

Over time, the ends of a cat’s claws wear down and become dull. In order to make way for sharp new points, the old outer sheaths will shed when your kitty scratches on something.


  1. Older cats’ claws need trimming, too

Elderly cats are less active, so will wear their claws down at a slower rate. They’ll need their claws trimmed frequently to combat overgrowth.


  1. Kitties claw for comfort

You’ve likely witnessed your feline extending and retracting their claws, alternating paws whilst purring blissfully; this is called kneading.

Kneading is thought to remind our furballs of their kittenhood, when they would have used the motion on their mum’s tum to stimulate milk production.


  1. Felines walk on their toes

Cats are digitigrade creatures, which means they walk on their toes; good paw and claw health aids mobility.

Make sure your furry pal is covered in case infections or any other medical issues arise. Go Get It will carry out pet insurance comparison to find dependable protection for your cat.


  1. Cats have curled claws

Pussycats’ claws are designed to help them hunt. The clever curls at the ends of their claws help them to capture prey and climb.

A cat chasing a butterfly through grass

  1. All cats can retract their claws

When a cat’s relaxed, their claws become sheathed with fur and skin, leaving only soft little pads on display. If you can still see prominent claws, it’s time for a trim.


  1. You should never declaw your cat

Declawing a cat deprives them of control, balance and a range of pleasurable sensations. It’s a cruel act that can cause kitties to become depressed or aggressive.


  1. Cats’ claws can inflict significant injuries

This is particularly important to note if you have children in the household. Make sure little ones know to handle felines gently, demonstrating the correct way to pet and play.


  1. The front claws are normally the sharpest

Compared to the rear claws, front claws tend to be a little sharper.

It’s worth remembering this when playing with or grooming your cat; make sure exposed or vulnerable areas such as your eyes and arms are difficult to access.


  1. Accept limitations

Some cats simply dislike grooming. Rescue kitties may have suffered serious abuse previously, causing them to panic when confined.

Your comfort matters, too, so if you don’t feel safe trimming an anxious feline’s nails, enlist professional help.

A cat clinging onto a log

Caring for your cat

Taking the time to properly groom your kitty is a great means of bonding, all while assessing their physical and mental health.

However, felines are self-contained creatures: often owners don’t see the signs of impending illness. Veterinary fees aren’t cheap, so make sure you have reliable cover from day one.

Go Get It is here to help. As the UK's only dedicated pet insurance comparison service, we’ll find first-rate cover for your four-legged friend, giving you peace of mind that your pet is protected.

It’s quick and easy – get a quote today.

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