Feline Toenail Problems

Written by andrea marsh
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Cats claws are vital to their health. Cats use their claws to catch pray, to scratch themselves and to help them climb. The outer layer of a cat's claw is called a sheath. When the cat claws something he files down the sheath. Although cat toenail problems are rare, they do happen. If you notice your animal limping, you should check his feet to make sure there is no problem with the claws. You should always take your animal to the vet when he has a problem.

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Torn Toenails

If your cat is limping and has blood on her paw check to see if he has a torn toenail. Although not common because feline's toenails are so durable, it does occasionally happen. Nails can get snagged on carpeting, or in the outdoors on rough surfaces. Torn toenails are painful for the feline. If left untreated, a torn toenail can become infected. Your best bet is to take your cat to the vet for treatment and not try to treat the nail yourself. Normally, the vet will remove the nail and bandage it until the nail heals. A vet may also prescribe an antibiotic ointment or pill to combat any infection that might incur.

Declawed Toenails

Declawing is very common among feline owners and can cause your animal lots of problems. Many vets refuse to declaw cats because they view it as inhumane. Declawing your cat can make her upset and lifeless. Declawing throws cats off balance as they use their claws for balance when walking. If a declawed cat has trouble walking, the cat may end up with spinal problems. If you are worried about your cat clawing your furniture, there are many techniques you can use to get the cat to scratch some other object. Putting a scratching post against your couch may seem counter-intuitive, but the cat will scratch the post instead of your nice furniture. There are also different products on the market that you can put on your feline's nails to prevent them from clawing your things. Always speak with your vet before making any permanent changes to your animal.

Ingrown Toenails

Like human nails, cat nails can sometimes become ingrown. The nail will grow curved into the pad of the paw causing pain to the animal. This problem happens mainly in older cats. You may be able to clip the nail yourself to prevent it from growing farther into the paw, but most often it's best to take the cat to the vet to make sure there is no infection in the nail or paw. To prevent ingrown toenails, you should trim your cat's claws regularly.


Cat claw problems are rare but felines occasionally can pick up infections in their claws. A cat will mainly pick up an infection in his claw if they already have some type of trauma in the claw and walks on something that has a germ. Neosporin can generally clear up any type of infection but you should go to your vet to have your cat examined.


To prevent your cat's claws from having any problems you should trim her nails regularly. If you start trimming your cat's claws when she is a kitten you should have no problem. Cat claws should be trimmed weekly. Gently squeeze your cat's paw and her nails will pop out. The clipper should be placed perpendicular to the nail and then cut from top to bottom in one cut. When cutting the nail, stay away from the "quick" or the pink part of the nail. If you cut into the "quick" you can cause your cat a lot of pain and possibly bleeding. If you are unsure of how to cut your cat's nails consult your veterinarian.

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