What is the quick on a cat claw?
When you examine your cat’s claw, you may be able to see the pink interior of the nail. This is called the quick, and it is the nerve and blood supply to the nail. The thick skin around the base of the claw serves as the sheath that it retracts into. The claw grows directly from the distal phalanx, or the last bone of the toe.
Unlike human nails, a cat’s nail grows directly from the bone. The quick is made up of tissue, nerves and blood vessels that feed from the bone into the nail. When trimming your cat’s nails, it is important to avoid cutting too close to the quick. Fortunately, most cats’ nails are not pigmented, and it is easy to see where the quick begins.
If you cannot see the quick clearly, use sharp nail trimmers and take off only the sharp, curved tip of the nail. If your trimmers are not sharp, they will pinch when they cut and sometimes shred the nail. If you do accidentally trim the quick, it may bleed. If this happens, it is important not to panic. It will stop bleeding on its own, or you can use a product like styptic powder to stop the bleeding yourself. Soothe your cat by talking softly and petting him. If your cat becomes stressed, frightened or aggressive, discontinue trimming his nails altogether.
Claws are an important part of a cat’s health and well-being. Keeping them trimmed regularly will save your furniture and skin from damage. Be patient and calm, because the sooner you start working with your cat to get used to the process, the sooner you will gain his confidence and trust. Developing this bond will allow you to handle and trim his nails regularly.