cat claws

Why Do Cat Claws Have To Be So Sharp? Murder Mittens

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Modern Furniture For Cats

Anyone who has ever had a kitty cat understands what murder mittens are. But the actual anatomy of cat claws and why they are the way there are might surprise you. This post is all about why do cat claws have to be so sharp? Murder mittens.

Why Do Cat Claws Have To Be So Sharp?

Domestic cats evolved from the Felidae family, a group of wild animals. These animals like cheetahs, panthers and leopards all have big claws. These claws are needed for two main reasons; climbing and hunting. So a domestic cat has a genetic build like it’s family. A house cat also has a need to climb and have toys that model prey, such as a mouse. The reason a cat needs a scratching post is not to sharpen his claws though.

When a cat scratches a cardboard cat scratcher, your furniture or a sisal pole, he is actually trying to ‘shed’ the top layer of his claw. Guess what is underneath waiting to grow through? A pointy little jaguar that is like a little seedling waiting to sprout through! When your cat scratches his post, he is at first dulling his nail. Then it will eventually fall off. Next, murder mitten.

So on the one hand your cat is helping his natural instinct to have a mouse dagger ready and available at any time, but is not sharpening his nails the way one might initially think.

“The “sharpening” of the claw is actually the removal of those worn outer sheaths.  As the new inner claw reaches full development, the outer sheath becomes a little loose and a little uncomfortable.  The cat keeps working on something like tree bark, or your furniture, until he gets it pried off, and he’s ready to rumble again.”

Kennet Veterinary Clinic

If you would like to learn more about why a cat’s claws grow in bending down fashion, I highly recommend watching the video below. In addition, check out our blog The Anatomy Of A Cat Claw.

My cat Finnegan received a pack of SmartyKat mice from my Mom when she came to visit us. (smart move to bring the pet a treat BTW 😉 My cat LOVES these mice and I am almost embarrassed he never had them before.

The reason he loves them so much is the soft squishy sensation they make on his claws.

Much like a real mouse, piercing the toy fills his need to hunt prey and murder it with his razor like claws.

I highly recommend these mice!

As a bonus, the tails is another body part he can dissect. He literally chews their tails off so they are naked mice. He frequently pulls them out of his toy box and flings them across the floor, then chases.

SmartyKat mice are sold on Amazon for $5.33. This includes a pack of 10.

Having cat scratchers available is a must for feline owners. Any cat lover knows the importance of giving your pet the chance to ‘pierce’ and scratch cat attracting material. Unfortunately, the fabric on your couch or chair might also be attractive, IF he doesn’t have options. Giving him options will greatly reduce any furniture shredding issues.

Cat scratches that are vertical and stand at least 30″ high are usually the preferred choice for a feline. You can read up on this in my blog The Ideal Scratching Post For Cats.

Having claws for a kitty cat is a necessity. Declawing is not an option. Hopefully you had a chance to see the video I put above as Kyle does a great job explaining why, declawing is not an option. This post is also a great reference for tips on keeping your kitty cat’s claws managed: How To Keep Your Cat From Scratching Your (Without Declawing)

Concluding Thoughts

So the next time those little murder mittens accidentally squeeze your leg a little too tight, think of it as a natural drive, a gesture your cat feels like his authentic self. The fleshy skin on your leg resembles a mouse or other murder mitten prey. Just be sure to gently replace your leg with a toy that will give your cat the outlet she needs. Cat scratchers and poles will also greatly reduce those dagger hugs.

Lisa bio photo

Lisa Illman

Lisa is the owner of Kritter Kommunity and the inventor of the @KritterKondo cat enclosure. She is owned by her mischievous and adorable kitty cat, Finnegan. He has his own Facebook too.

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