View Full Version : Cat's Claws

May 17th 06, 07:56 AM

The cat's claws are unique in the animal kingdom in design and
function. Many mammals have claws, with the primary function as an aid
in digging and climbing, and for added traction. The claws of these
animals are continuously growing, like our own finger nails, and are
kept from growing too long through their use.

Cats, however, have evolved a very specific use for their claws,
comparable to birds of prey. Although their agile climbing abilities
are greatly supported by them, and the claws are also frequently used
to maintain good traction, the main purpose, especially for the claws
of the front paws, is to get a good grip onto their prey, and ability
to hold on to it. The design of the cat's claws demonstrates this very
nicely. The shape of the claws is sickle-like with a needle sharp-tip.
To maintain the sharp tip, cats are able to retract their claws into a
skin pouch while walking to avoid wear and tear. Of course the cat's
claws grow and renew themselves continuously, but not like a human's
fingernails or the claws of dogs. For a better understanding, envision
the cat's claws to be built very much like an onion. The claw grows
within, whilst the outer, worn layers are shed. The outer layer will
loosen from the cuticle and fall off, a process which is supported by
the cat's scratching behaviour, leaving behind paper-thin claw contours
(husks) at her favorite scratching post.

Because the cat's claws are such "weapons" many care givers like to
clip their companion cats' claws to avoid injury to themselves, or
destruction of furniture. This process, however, severely interrupts
the claws natural renewal cycle. By clipping the tip of the claws the
outer layers to be shed often accumulate alongside the claws and under
the cuticle, frequently resulting in an infection of the nail bed. An
accumulation of old layers on clipped claws often gives the appearance
of brittle claws, which care givers often remedy by lubricating the
claws with oil. The oil will soak through the entire horny tissue of
the claw, gluing the layers together. Subsequently, the claws will grow
into large, dull stumps, often causing discomfort to the cat.
Avoid clipping a cat's claws altogether. To avoid injury, reduce
unnecessary handling of the cat, and have cuddle and stoke sessions on
the cats terms. Dont pick up a cat that dislikes being picked up. Play
with toys attached to a stick or suspended from a string. Provide the
cat with suitable scratching locations and objects to avoid damage to
your furnishings.

Keep in mind that it was your choice to invite a predator into your
home as a companion animal. Respect the cat for who she is and handle
her accordingly. This way, injury should be rare and only accidental.
If you must clip a cat's claws because of young children in the house,
check the claws regularly for infection, and remove old, built-up
layers with your nails.

Otherwise a cat's claws needs little attention besides the occasional
removal of waxy debris from around the cuticle. Do not lubricate a cats
claws with oil! Instead make sure your cat receives all necessary fatty
acids and high quality protein through her diet for healthy claws.


stan beck
May 17th 06, 01:00 PM
Cats in the wild -- much different than domestic, IMHO


The most adorable Kitten Pictures on the net!

P No Gree G O
May 17th 06, 01:47 PM
stan beck wrote:

> Cats in the wild -- much different than domestic, IMHO
> Stan
> www.Kitten-Pictures.com
> The most adorable Kitten Pictures on the net!

I never clip the claws of my indoor-only cats and they are no problem.
They use their many scratching surfaces to groom themselves and they
have learned to retract their claws when in contact with humans.

May 17th 06, 05:08 PM

"stan beck" > wrote:

> I think this all can be boiled down to a simple principle -- and that
> is this: Think about what the animal would eat in the wild and try not
> to stray from it. It's best not to disturb what God set in motion.
> Stan


"stan beck" > wrote:

> Again, what do cats naturally do in the wild -- if they fast naturally,
> then fasting is good. If they don't, then it's not.
> Stan


"stan beck" > writes:

> Cats in the wild -- much different than domestic, IMHO
> Stan

So is it a good "principle" to "try not to stray from" "what the animal
(does) in the wild" and is what cats do "naturally in the wild" "good" for
domestic cats? Or are "Cats in the wild -- much different than domestic"

There seems to be an incongruity here. But hay, who am I to judge? I don't
like domestic cats but I love my two cats. Now that's incongruent. :^)