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Why does my cat try to pull her claws out?

My family and I learned a lot throughout the years of cat rescue. During the last 30 years, I have rescued and adopted many cats of all ages. I found that I knew nothing about caring for cats, and I am still learning. Our family has learned a lot from these wise creatures. In the beginning, I knew nothing about the life of a cat. 

As we adopted our first female cat, I found it was a fantastic animal and fascinating to watch. I found out that cats are wise and intelligent critters, and humans could learn a lot about life as a whole if they were to live with a cat. I saw my cat pulling at her nails one day, but I did not think about it until much later. 

I just assumed that this was a normal thing that cats do. I was partly correct. I did not realize that there could also be underlying medical problems causing a cat to pull at its nails. Fortunately, my cats never faced severe issues because they pulled at their nails. None of my cats showed this action on a routine basis. This action was random and rare for members of our cat family. 

Cats do some pretty weird things that I could not quite understand. And, at the time, I did not overthink the cat’s actions. I did not have the time to delve into the habits of felines for a few years. As with humans, cats have a good reason for their many actions. I learned about felines through reading and speaking with our veterinarian. No one is ever too wise or old to keep learning new and exciting things. 

It is up to you to keep a close eye on your cat and seek medical opinions as issues arise. So, if you live with a cat and you notice them doing strange things like pulling at their nails, do a bit of research to find out the whys and wherefores in the life of cats. If this continues, seek medical help.

Why Does My Cat Try To Pull Her Nails Out? 

The feline is perhaps one of the world’s most independent household pets. If you provide your cat with the essentials such as fresh food, fresh filtered water, a clean litter pan, some toys, a warm bed or blanket, and throw in some quality playtime and attention, your cat will do the rest. 

The cat is one of the world’s cleanest animals. They are meticulous in their hygiene. Unless your cat is sick or very aged, they do not require much help in the personal hygiene department. Cats do very well taking care of their individual hygiene needs. 

If you have never had a manicure, you should go for one and find out how heavenly a manicure is when performed by a professional. I discovered that having a manicure and pedicure has nothing to do with luxury. I bet my cats already knew this aspect. You are not the only one who believes that a manicure is an essential necessity of life. Part of your cat’s hygiene care is a good cat manicure several times a year. My bet is that you have seen your cat giving herself a manicure, and you did not realize what she was doing.

Professional nail care is all about good nail and cuticle hygiene. You can keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed and clean. However, you cannot do as good a job as a professional at your local nail salon. This professional keeps your nails hygienically clean, trimmed, and attractive. You, your vet, or a professional pet groomer needs to be your pet’s nail professional.

No, a cat does not require all you require during a professional manicure and pedicure. But, your cat could use a bit of help to keep its nails trimmed. You can do this a few times a year. If you are squeamish about cutting your cat’s nails, make an appointment with your vet, and the vet technician can do this for your cat.

The vet technician can teach you how to trim your cat’s nails if you are up to the task. Trimming your cat’s nails is not a hard thing to do if you have a cooperative cat. However, some cats fight tooth and nail if you touch their paws, which leaves you no option but to seek the services of your vet. 

The fee is affordable and does not break your bank account. Your cat will appreciate what you did for them. If you notice your cat one day pulling at its nails, you have failed to do your job, trimming your kitty’s nails. Your kitty probably became tired of waiting for your help, and she is giving herself a manicure. 

Your vet will caution you to not cut your cat’s nails too short. There is a vein that runs down the center of the nail. If you cut the nail too short, you can cut into this vein, and it will bleed and hurt. You learn how to cut a nail, so you miss this vein. This would be like you cutting into the quick of your nail. Never cut cat nails with human nail cutters or scissors. Buy a pair of cat nail cutters at the pet store.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Try To Pull Their Claws Out?

When you notice your cat pulling at its claws, it is usually a regular routine in your cat’s life and very normal. If you do not keep your cat’s nails trimmed, they must try to do it themselves. However, sometimes, when your cat starts pulling at its nails frequently, it may not be solely for the sake of needing a manicure. 

The claws of a cat are the same as your fingernails and toenails. The reason why you may see your cat pulling at its claws is that the cat is actually cutting their nails with its teeth. They do not have the luxury of using nail clippers. Cats may pull at their claws if, 

  • Someone tore a nail off.
  • The nails become weak.
  • The nail is damaged.
  • The cat has an underlying health issue that has yet to be diagnosed.

When I find out that a cat owner is taking their cat to be declawed or has already had their cat declawed, it makes me sick to my stomach, and my skin crawl. I can hardly stand to hear what happened. Cat owners do this to keep the cat from possibly scratching up their possessions. In my personal opinion, if cat owners are worried about cats scratching up their possessions, then that individual should not have cats. I said possibly, because not every cat scratches things such as furniture. Besides, there are better options like having the vet apply nail caps or buying a few scratching boards and placing these around the house. A spray bottle with water also deters cats from scratching furniture.

The vet I took my cats for many years told me that having a cat declawed equals having all of your fingers and toes amputated. Please do not do this to your beautiful cat as I have heard it is a painful procedure. Once the cat’s claws are removed, the cat can no longer do the following things or may find it difficult at the least. The scary thing is they have a difficult time defending themselves.

  • Hunting is a natural instinct and pastime for cats. Declawed cats can attempt to hunt, but it is unlikely they catch what they are pursuing. 
  • Climbing up high is naturally fun for a cat. While a declawed cat can climb, it has an increased risk for injuries from falls because they do not have claws to help them hang onto anything or catch themselves should they slip and fall. 
  • A declawed cat has little chance to defend itself against a predator. 
  • Cats use their claws to help communicate with other animals and humans. 
  • A cat cannot scratch itself sufficiently without claws.

Can you imagine having to attend to a nagging itch, and you have no way to do it?

  • Claws allow a cat to grip hold of toys, cat trees, food, and more. 

Cat nails are the same as your nails. The nails can break off, become damaged and brittle, and weaken. It is rare to see a cat pull out its claws. Cats know what they are doing when it comes to nail hygiene. However, it is better if you give them some professional help. 

Abnormal Reasons for Pulling Claws

  • A disease of the claws such as dermatosis
  • Inflammation of the skin under the claw
  • A traumatic injury
  • A bacterial, parasitic, or fungal infection. 
  • Abnormal growth of the nail such as cancer affecting the claw

Should I Get My Cat To Stop Pulling Their Claws Out?

I have to ask,  

“Why would you try to get your cat to stop pulling its claws, a normal action?” 

However, if you notice that your cat is frequently pulling at its claws, please make an appointment at the vet to determine if your cat has a health issue. This frequent action could be something as simple as anxiety or one of the following. 

  • Bulimia
  • Dizzy spells
  • Excessive licking
  • Parasites
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Excess hormone growth