Why should your cat’s claws be trimmed regularly?

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The natural shape of a cat’s claw is what makes it sharp. When your cat is “sharpening” his claws on a tree, scratching post, or unfortunate piece of furniture, what he is actually doing is removing the worn outer layer of the claw and exposing sharp new claw underneath.

The normal, relaxed position of the claw is retracted inside the nail sheath. Cats protrude their claws when excited or fearful, or when they need to climb or grab something, which enables them to stalk prey more silently, as well as avoid abrasion. Indoor cats especially have fewer opportunities for natural wearing down of their nails.

Once the nails become too long, they can get caught on upholstery or in blankets. Older cats often don’t shed the outer layers of nail as well and it is possible for their claws to become so overgrown that they curve in and puncture the paw pads.

Trimming your cat’s nails regularly will make him more fun to play with, as you will be less likely to leave an over-exuberant play session with an armful of scratches. It will also protect family members and visitors from being injured by a fearful cat, or a cat who jump from their arms or laps unexpectedly.

If you start working with your cat as a kitten, you can gain his confidence and trust to allow you to handle and trim his nails regularly.

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