Click here to learn more.
Cat owners expect to find discarded fur and even the occasional
whisker around the house, but it can be disconcerting to find a
kitty’s claw stuck to the sofa or a scratching post.
Dr. Roy Brenton Smith, DVM, of the Central Texas
Cat Clinic and president elect of the
American Association of Feline Practitioners, has certainly seen his share of owners who are thrown by the experience. “They come in with the claw — upset that something bad happened,” says Dr. Smith.
The good news is that the process is natural and actually beneficial for a cat. Claws are essential for felines, who use them for defense, climbing and hunting.
According to Dr. Smith, when this happens, the nail has grown beyond the blood supply, so the outside sheath is discarded to make room for a newer, sharper version. He estimates that this happens to each claw about every two to three months in the average housecat.
In addition to honing their nails, scratching also helps cats to shed old claw sheaths. Felines who never scratch can require medical attention for nails that have grown so long that they curl under and pierce the
This is why owners need to provide
adequate clawing surfaces, such as a sturdy scratching post.
Clipping also aids the shedding process — cutting the excess nail off means that cats don’t have to do as much scratching.
But even with regular nail trimming, kitties can still feel the need to scratch. “There is definitely a psychological reason why
cats do this,” says Dr. Smith. “There is a look on their face of enjoyment. When they are happy, they really get their claws into it. It’s part of their environmental enrichment.”
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Miles the German Shepherd mix puppy is
resting comfortably at an animal shelter
after he was rescued from a dumpster.
Want to add years to your senior pet's life? Make sure he eats right, is in
shape, and stays mentally and physically…
Should you adopt an FIV-positive cat?
Gepetto was left behind life on the streets
and now enjoys the comforts of…
You have a dog. You love your dog. You
adore your dog. But what if the feeling
isn't mutual? How can you tell?
Some senior cats struggle to digest fat
and protein. That’s why as many felines
age, their diets need to evolve, too.
The tobacco-colored Havana Brown is a playful and curious cat who loves spending quality time with his family.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.