Scratching is a normal behavior for cats. When a cat is anxious, happy, excited, or frustrated they will release pent up emotion by extending their claws and scratching. Monthly nail clipping will both reduce the risk of damage to your home as well as potential health problems for your cat.
Let's discuss the anatomy of your cat's claws.
When paws are relaxed, the cat’s claws are in a natural "retracted" position. The claw is an extension of the distal phalanx bone, which is the last digit on the cat’s toe. There are tendons and ligaments attached to the bones of the toe and when the cat is relaxed, the tendons naturally shorten and the distal phalanx is ‘pulled’ back so that the claws are not seen. When the claws are visible, the digital flexor tendon and the superficial flexor tendon extend the distal phalanx thus extending the claw so they are visible. When extended, the cat can grab onto things such as scratching posts, trees, carpet, and your favorite piece of furniture while stretching.
Cat claws grow in layers
Eventually the outer layer, known as the sheath, is shed much like a snake skin. This is another reason a cat scratches, to ‘slough off’ the old sheath, which exposes a new sharp claw. This also is usually what is happening when you notice your cat biting and pulling on his back claws.
Health risks due to lack of cat nail clipping
A cat with nails that are not regularly trimmed is at risk for getting them caught in fabric or carpet and subsequently twisting and spraining their paw or leg. Trimming nails can prevent painful broken claws and costly veterinary bills.
Human's are also at risk from sharp claws which easily cause deep scratches and run the risk of serious infection. Remember, they use those same claws to dig around in their litter box and cover their feces.
Ingrown toenails is a serious and painful result of untrimmed nails curling and imbedding itself in the cat's paw pad, causing pain and infection. Ingrown toenails will affect your cat's gait which then compromise the normal mechanics of its feet, altering the legs, hips and spine. Costly veterinary bills can quickly arise for treatment to correct movement and infections.
Frequency of Nail Trims
The NCGIA recommends nail trims every four weeks from a professional master cat groomer . However, your cat may require trimming more or less often depending on diet, age, metabolism, and level of exercise. Contact FancyPants Cat Grooming to book your recurring monthly In-Home nail clipping service.
Nail trims can be booked as a stand alone service, and will include a complimentary ear cleanse and comb out.