Cat's claws are a fascinating part of our furry friends. Today, we explore why cats have them and some of their quirks.
Claws Are Not Nails
Cat's claws are different from human nails. Our nails are level and rest on top of our fingers and toes, giving protection. Cats' claws, by comparison, come out of the front of their toes. They also serve as a tool to catch and hold prey, tear meat from bones, and for climbing.
Cats normally have five clawed front paws and four on rear paws. Some cats have extra ones, and this is called polydactyl. Their innermost and shortest claws on the front paws that could be comparable to human thumbs are called the dewclaws. They help cats hold their prey.
Cats Are Digitigrade Walkers
Cats walk on their toe; this is referred to as being digitigrade. In contrast, humans are plantigrade walkers—the sole is the walking surface. It is because of this that if cats are declawed, they can have a problem balancing.
Felines Can Withdraw Their Front Claws
Contrary to what many people think about their feline's claws, they do not sheath completely into the paws. When a cat's claws are in a resting position, they are up off the ground, relaxing in the fur around the toes. If you look closely at a feline with retracted nails, you can see nail tips extending from the fur. It's a bit easier to see this in a sphynx cat that does not have fur.
When a cat needs to utilize its claws, a ligament will extend them outward and downward. The process of retraction and extension of a feline's claws are similar to when humans flex point their toes and bend their ankles back.
This ability to retract the claws makes it so that when a cat is walking, the claws aren't touching the ground. This minimizes damage on the claws and helps keep their strength. This also means that cats can stroll quietly, making them capable of slipping up on their prey. This is why usually, cats' rear claws don't require cutting as frequently—they get worn down as they walk.
Cat Claws Are Curved
Cats have claws that curve in the tips. This helps them in capturing and holding onto prey and in other activities such as climbing. However, this also contributes to the dangers of nails being stuck in carpeting, subsequently injuring their toes.
A Feline's Claws Grow Throughout Their Life
Cats' claws expand continually, similar to human nails. Felines might grind them down via walking or when attacking prey. The claws' outer sheaths, which pall gradually, are lost when a pet cat scrapes at things. As cats grow older, they might not sharpen their nails down as they used to, causing the demand for more constant claw trimmings.
If you need to know how to properly trim your cats' claws, you may check out this guide. Did we miss some awesome cat claw facts that you know? Share it with KittyNook by putting it in the comments below!