Do Cat Claws Grow Back – Tips For Safe Trimming


A cats habit of clawing and scratching the furniture can be a particular bother, especially if you have leather furniture. If your cats are anything like ours, it can seem impossible to stop their clawing and scratching. We’ve tried cardboard scratchers, plastic corner-covers for couches, pheromone diffusers, and just about everything else we could think of. Do you know what worked? Trimming my tabby’s claws. That got me wondering, do cat claws grow back?

Yes, cat claws will grow back. Trimming is necessary for healthy claws and reduces injuries in cats. Cat claws that are cut too short may be sensitive. In general, cat claws grow back relatively quickly. 

Not every cat needs their claws trimmed, and they might need special care to help their claws grow back if they are damaged in an accident or an injury.

How Long Does It Take For A Cat’s Claw To Grow Back

Every cat is a little different, just like every person is a little different. Cats’ claws grow in at slightly different rates depending on their age, breed, diet, and natural growth rate.

It also depends a lot on how often their claws are trimmed and how frequently your cat uses their claws. A cat that’s always scratching cardboard, furniture, and carpets is likely wearing down their claws and slowing growth in the process.

Of course, a cat that loves to scratch may have naturally fast-growing claws!

For most cats, their claws will be back to normal about two weeks after trimming. It could take a little longer if your cat’s claws were broken off instead of trimmed. It can also take longer if your cat’s paw was injured.

If your cats’ paws are ever injured, you should consult with your vet, not only about how long it will take for the claws to grow back, but also about the best care options for your cat in the meantime. Your cat may also need extra trimming for a while to help make sure their claws grow back correctly.

Do Cat Claws Need To Be Trimmed

While your furniture will likely appreciate it if you keep your cats’ claws trimmed, it’s not necessary. Trimming your cats’ claws is a matter of personal preference and what keeps you, and your cats, most comfortable.

It’s a good idea to trim cats that are chronic scratchers, especially if you’re living in a rental home since trimmed claws cut down on the damage your cat can do to your home.

But you may want to keep your cats’ claws trimmed for other reasons as well. For one thing, it’s much less likely that you’ll get an accidental scratch during playtime if your cat’s claws are well-trimmed. We always pay attention for a little extra prick at playtime to see when our cat’s claws need a good trim.  

 You may also want to keep your cats’ claws trimmed if you notice that they can’t keep their claws completely velveted, or they have poor claw control.

In particular, young cats might struggle with relaxing their claws, leading to getting stuck in furniture and toys and calling for help from you and your other cats! Several of our cats have gone through this phase, and some never quite outgrow it.

Other cats have exceedingly long claws that can’t be velveted easily. In this case, trimming their claws might keep your cat more comfortable. However, cats with naturally over-long claws can often have faster-growing claws, so you may need to trim them more often.

All that said, if you and your cat are perfectly happy with their natural claws trimming isn’t a requirement. 

Can A Cat’s Nail Fall Off

It’s always a little frightening the first few times you see what appears to be a whole cat claw lying on the floor. There is good news though, pretty much every cat owner will see one of those seemingly whole claws at some point, and they aren’t a sign that something is wrong with your cat.

Your cats’ claws naturally grow and shed over time. Some cats shed the outer layer of their claws more often, particularly if they frequently use their claws and need to replace the damaged keratin. Other cats will rarely shed the outer layer of their claw or shed in smaller, less-noticeable, pieces.

Most of the time, your cat won’t lose a claw or have their claw fall off. However, there are a few rare instances when your cat does tear out a claw through accident or injury. We’ll talk about that in the next section.

You can usually tell if your cat is missing a claw pretty quickly. Shedding the outer layer of their claws doesn’t hurt but breaking or losing a claw usually does. They’ll likely start limping or behave differently. If you suspect your cat has an injured claw, you should treat it like any other injury and take them to a vet for treatment.

If going to your vet isn’t an option; you should still call and consult with them on your best treatment options in the meantime.

What Happens When A Cat Loses A Claw

Just like you might break a fingernail or accidentally trim your fingernails too short, your cat can injure or break their claws. They can even lose a claw entirely in a bad accident. Of course, when this happens to your favorite feline, it can be a very concerning time.

Fortunately, your cat’s claws will usually grow back with time.

The most common signs of an injured or town out claw are limping, holding their paw off the ground, or continually licking at their paw. There may also be bleeding, but you should see a vet immediately if the bleeding is bad or gets worse over time.

In rare cases, a torn claw may become infected, and you might notice swelling around their paw, or even pus coming from the injury. You should immediately take your cat to the vet if you notice any of these more concerning signs.

It would help if you also looked for bright red paw pads or excess warmth in your cat’s paw. Both are additional signs that their claw wound may have become infected and needs immediate medical care.

Do Declawed Cats’ Claws Grow Back

You may be wondering if your declawed cat’s claws will grow back over time, just like a broken, trimmed, or injured claw will usually grow back.

Most of the time, no. Declawing a cat removed the growth bed for the claw, preventing the claw from regenerating. A properly declawed cat will not experience claw growth. However, they can still have some pain in their paws and may need additional care and support as they get older.

In some rare cases, declawed cats will have some or all of their claws grow back. Unfortunately, that growth isn’t always healthy or normal since scar tissue from the declawing procedure can often interfere with proper development. Your cat’s claws may also struggle to grow if their claws’ normal channel has been removed.

Often when declawed cats see claw growth, it’s ingrown claws that need to be seen and treated by a vet.

You should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you suspect your declawed cat may have some claw growth to monitor the growth and determine if another procedure may be necessary to protect their paws from future damage.

Why Do Cats Try To Pull Their Claws Out

It’s common for your cats to look like they are pulling on their claws, almost like they’re trying to pull out their own claws while they are grooming. That can be incredibly concerning the first time you see it, or anytime after your cat has injured their claws.

While it looks concerning, the good news is that your cat isn’t trying to pull out their claws or hurting themselves.

Instead, biting and pulling on their claws is one way to encourage the claw’s outer layer to shed. That eliminates the excess (and possibly itchy) claw so that the healthier and sharper sheath is exposed.

However, you should still closely monitor your cat and check on their claws if they start grooming their paws excessively. Something else may be wrong, and you can’t know unless you check.

So, to wrap up quickly. Cats’ claws do grow back. They may grow back more slowly after an injury and need extra care. Declawed cats’ claws shouldn’t grow back, but a small percentage do. If your declawed cat’s claws start growing, you should seek veterinary care immediately.

Don’t worry too much about shed claws and claw grooming, unless your cat is grooming more than normal. If your cat starts grooming more, check for signs of infection and monitor your cat for any other symptoms.

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