Your Cat’s Paws and Claws

How much do you know about your cat’s paws and claws?

Cats stand or walk on its digits, or toes. Unlike the dog and horse, the cat walks or runs by moving first the front and back legs on one side, then the front and back legs on the other side. Only the camel and the giraffe move in a similar way. Most cats have 18 nails (five on each front foot and four on each rear foot). However, a condition called polydactyly, in which cats have supernumerary digits, is quite common.

paws and claws

Cat’s Paw Pads

You can help keep your cat’s paws clean by keeping your floors and other surfaces free of debris and household chemicals.

If you see any cuts, sores, splinters or swelling your cat may need medication.   Blood, pus or an unusual odor may be an indication that an infection going on. Another clue is obsessive cleaning, limping or favoring one leg. If that is the case, schedule an appointment right away.

Long-haired cats may have hair sprouting in between their toes, we can help to trim it fast and easy.

Cat’s Claws

Cats’ nails grow in layers, so when cats “sharpen” their claws on a scratching post, they are removing the older layers to expose the sharper new ones. However, when cats don’t successfully remove it, this can lead to ingrown nails that can become extremely painful and can lead to nasty infections.


A cat’s claw grows right out of his distal phalanx. Unlike our fingernails, which are only connected to flesh, a cat’s claws are connected directly to the bone. When a cat is declawed, the entire distal phalanx is amputated in order to keep the claws from growing back again. The potential complications of declawing such as pain, behavior changes, and an increased likelihood of biting are deemed by most to outweigh the benefits to the owners.  Cats accrue no significant benefits of the procedure.  Remember nail-trimming is a fast and effective alternative to declawing.

We recommend a nail-trimming every ten days to two weeks. Ask us how to trim your cat claws and we’ll be happy to show you or come in and we’ll take care of it.

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