Do cats shed their claws?

Have you ever seen cat claws or a part of the cat’s claws stuck on its plush toy or scattered at the foot of its scratching post? Cats can’t use the nail clippers on their own. What you are seeing would be the claws shed by the cat. To be more specific, what the cat sheds is not really the claws but the sheath or the hull that covers the claws.

Cats have extraordinary abilities…cats have extraordinary body parts as well. Did you know that your pet cat and the rest of the tribe are the only animals that get around on tip-toe? Cats are digitgrade … they walk on their claws and not on their paws. The claws therefore are one of the extraordinary body parts of cats. Cat owners may hate the pet’s claws as they are become instruments of destruction. Anyone that has kept a cat for a pet would know how these animals love to scratch. The antique door or the priced leather furniture would have the cat’s scratched signature. Claws though are very important for cats. Sheathed claws are harmless but once unsheathed; these razor-sharp paw appendages become lethal hunting and protection tool. Cats use their claws to hunt and to protect themselves from predators. Cats use the claws to climb and to do their balancing act on narrow ledges. It is therefore not surprising if cats would ensure that the cats are kept in good condition. How will a cat maintain the sharpness and the good condition of the claws? Through scratching!

Cats that scratch are not being malicious…cats do not really mean to destroy that owner’s belongings. As mentioned, cats use the claws to walk, to hunt and to fight predators. Claws are used as well to mark the territory. As expected, the claws would suffer from normal wear and tear. When cats scratch, they are either sharpening the claws or trying the remove the worn or ragged edges of the transparent sheath that covers the claws. Cats scratch to shed their claws. Cat owners would then see the claws discarded or shed by the pet and if the paws of the cat are inspected, the owner would see the brand new sharp claws of the pet. Claws regenerate continuously and therefore being shed continuously as well.

Shed claws would not be as troublesome as shed hair. Cat owners would hardly see the claws shed by the pets. Cat owners would not get irritated if some claws are found on the throw pillow or on the favourite spot of the pet on the sofa. What would concern the owners would be the destruction caused by the pet’s effort to shed its claws. Not many cat owners are aware of the true reason why the cat is scratching. As such cat owners would decide to have the pet declawed. Declawing though is an unkind act as aside from the pain the pet would have to suffer, the procedure also leaves the pet defenceless. To allow the pet to naturally shed its claws, owners must provide the pet with a suitable object to scratch. It would not be enough to buy a scratching post for the pet. The owner would still need to entice the pet to use the scratching post every time it needs to shed its claws.

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