A cat’s claws are not like human nails even though they are both made of Keratin. The claws of cats can be extended and retracted with the aid of specialized muscles, ligaments and tendons within the body of cats. This explains why a cat’s claws are barely visible most of the time. This post is all about the anatomy of a cat claw.
A normal cat seldom extends her cat claws except when she needs to grab something or she is in a full out stretch. A cat will also release the little daggers when he is purring!
Here is a rough cat diagram for you to see get a good understanding of your cat. The cat nail (white area, AKA cat claw) the quick (pink area) and the claw’s cuticle are the basics of the cat claw structure as seen on any average house-cat.
Contrary to what most people think, a cat’s claws aren’t entirely out of sight even when retracted, the tip of her claws never go in, they’re always there, just hidden under her fur.
The claw of a cat also known as Talons is a scythe-shaped appendage attached to their toe’s end bone. Looking closely at a cat’s claw, you should be able to notice the pink interior of its claw – this area is known as the quick. The quick is responsible for supplying blood to a cat’s claws, and is made up of nerves, tissues and blood vessels. Unlike the nails of humans, the claws of cats grow directly from their bone.
The claws of a cat helps to perform the following functions to include climbing, scratching, digging, walking, balance, self defense and clutching down on prey.
If and when a cat chooses to use her claws, she pulls a tendon which immediately extends her claws to full length. The movement of the claws of a cat extending and retracting is quite similar to when humans stretch out or fold their fingers. The foot bone of a cat – its phalanges and metacarpal bone are equivalent to the bones in the hands of humans.
Declawing your cat will have a terrible effect on the feline as she’s a digitigrade. When cats walk, they do so on the tip of their toes/claws. Cats that are declawed will have a hard time balancing normally and walking properly. Other serious problems associated with declawing are: Bleeding, Infection, Bone protrusion into the pad of the paw, Lameness, Behavioral problems as litter box lapses and biting.
And by the way, there are better alternatives to declawing you should consider. It may cost you a few dollars to get any of these tools, but trust me, you and your cat will greatly benefit from it:
- You can get your cat a scratching post and work to encourage your kitty to use the tool for scratching instead of your costly furniture.
- A cat scratcher lounge is also a perfect alternative as it provides your kitty with a comfortable place to rest and scratch.
A cat’s claws are an essential part of her body.
- Cat's Choice Sisal Rope Scratch Post
- Price: $62.99
- MaxScratch Oversized Cat Scratching Post and Perch
- Price: $119.99
- Under Table Cat Scratching Pole
- Price: $49.99
- Cat's Choice Tilted Scratching Post
- Price: $54.99
There really is no point declawing your cat's talons, but if you feel something needs to be done to save your furniture, then trimming should be done instead and only once in a while, as the claws of cats get worn out on their own from constant walking and claw chewing. A kitty cat has claws to help her play and enjoy her natural instinct of scratching. Understanding the anatomy of your kitty cat claws can help you understand why she acts the way she does and has such feline tendencies!