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One of the main and interesting features of cats is their retractable claws. We know that most cats do it but is it even possible for cats that are somewhat rare. This must have made you question can Siamese cats retract their claws?
Siamese cats can retract their claws. Like some other cats, they cannot retract their claws out completely. They leave some portion of it out at all times.
This article will help you understand everything about retractable claws, when and why it happens, how to teach a cat to retract its claws, and a lot more.
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Can All Cats Retract Their Claws
All cats that belong to the Felis catus (true cat) family can retract their claws for hunting, climbing trees, and so on. The cats with retractable claws include domestic or household cats and wild or great cats like lions and tigers.
An exception to this rule is cheetahs. Their claws need to be ready at all times to be on the go. Cheetah’s claws help them from slipping while running at high speeds. However, their claws are still partially retractable, as even they require rest.
At What Age Do Cats Retract Their Claws
Kittens begin to take their very basic and rudimentary steps of walking after 18 days. They learn to retract their claws after 27 days or around four weeks. They then slowly develop the confidence to use their claws as self-defense, groom themselves, stretch, balance, and explore the world around them.
Most cats tend to retract learn instinctively that they need to take care of their claws not to hurt themselves or other cats around them.
Why Does My Cat Keep Retracting His Claws?
You probably think that cats only use their sharp claws to scratch your favorite armchair or sofa. But there are many more reasons why cats have retractable claws. Let’s look at some of the reasons.
To Climb Trees
Cats’ claws provide them with a grip to hold onto objects or things they decide to climb. It also helps maintain balance so that they do not fall off. Their claws are curved backward, which also helps them to climb down easily.
Climbing is an excellent way for them to escape their predator.
They may take some time to master climbing up and down of objects, but they are pretty quick and not easily chasable once they learn it.
Thus, if you observe your cat retract its claws near an object or thing, it’s probably because they are learning to climb on that object.
Injury, Infection, or Disease
If your little pet’s claws are always unsheathed, it may be possible due to some underlying infection or disease. You can check with your vet for more information.
Wild cats use their retractable claws to catch prey. It helps them not slip, and it makes it easier to take a grip of the prey.
Your cat may also use its claws as a defense against bigger animals like hawks, raccoons, and coyotes. Their claws act as an instinctual defense to protect them from danger and harm to themselves.
Thus, it is not a great idea to completely cut down its claws as they would then lose their ability to escape when a predator is near. It is best to keep trimming them. You can even talk to your vet about this to ensure you are doing the best for your little feline friend.
To Reduce Wear and Tear of Claws
When cats are walking, they retract their claws to ensure their claws do not experience any abrasions and retain their sharpness.
Can Cats Lose The Ability To Retract Their Claws
Older cats develop problems like arthritis, and therefore it is very much possible for them to lose their ability to retract their claws. Older and senior cats also lose their ability to retract their claws due to a lack of flexibility.
Thus, make sure as your little cat gets older, you keep trimming its nails so that it isn’t uncomfortable for them and that it doesn’t get in the way of furniture or any other objects at home.
Why Are My Cats Claws Not Retracting
Here are some reasons that explain why your cat may not retract its claws
● Trauma is a leading factor that explains why your cat may not be able to retract its claws.
● They are very likely to retract their claw if they have had a road accident, an injury to their claw, or a chemical burn, frostbite.
● Your cat’s claws are not retracting due to some bacterial or viral infection like paronychia. This can be treated with some antibiotics.
● Another reason could be because of a tumor or an autoimmune disorder.
● Your cat may be getting older, which is why their claws are more fragile; thus, they may not retract.
How To Teach A Cat To Retract Claws
If your cat doesn’t have a physical problem that holds it back from retracting its claws, you can train them to do so. Let’s look at the steps
- Allow your little cat to have its claws unsheathed
If you are in any way trying to stop them from retracting their claws, they might learn never to retract them. Thus encouraging unsheathing will help them learn to retract their claws.
- If they unsheath their claw, do not play with them for a few hours
If they refuse to unsheath their claws, try not to encourage the behavior by not playing with them or giving them too much attention for some hours. They will learn to make an association between the two.
- Turn your back on your cat and stop playing for 20-30 seconds
Turning your back on your cat for a brief period will make your cat lean more towards you and may even cause them to retract their claws. You can then reward them with praise or a treat once they do it.
Things To Consider
The thing to keep in mind is to be consistent with your training practice. Take some time out every day and do it regularly. If you do it sporadically, your cat might not learn to make associations and pick up training cues demonstrated along the way.
Also, make sure to keep rewarding your cat with a treat or praise every time they retract their claws. This will increase their tendency to do it over and over again.
If your kitty has an underlying infection or disease, make sure to get it checked with your vet to get that treated as soon as possible.