Teach a Cat to Retract Claws

How to Teach a Cat to Retract Claws? – 7 Simple Ways


How to teach a cat to retract claws – A cat has sharp claws, and they hurt the person when they rake across the skin. The cat’s claws can cause damage to furniture, carpets, and curtains. If your cat is not retracting its claws, you can train them to do so. A cat owner can teach them to retract their claws through playing.

When a cat approaches an individual with unsheathed claws, you must make a high-yelping sound and immediately stop the game. It is mimicry or noise which another cat makes. This mimicry is a way to teach your cat that its claws hurt an individual. And, this training is suitable and works only when a cat willingly unsheathes its claws.

If your cat’s claws always look unscathed, it may suffer from some infection or injury. A cat learns to retract their claws after about four weeks. After they get the claws, you have to take some essential steps and teach them to retract their claws.

Are cat claws retractable?

A cat’s claws only have long nails, but their long nails are a part of their bones. You can also say that a cat’s nail extends a cat’s bones. As we know, a cat does not have a thumb, so cats use their claws to capture the prey animals. They catch the prey species through their claws only. Now, you can take the example of climbing through a fence. When a cat tries to climb through its claws, it provides them the grip to climb.

A cat also uses their claws to mark the surfaces. Apart from leaving the marking for others, they use their claws to claim their territory. A cat is a digitigrade animal. A digitigrade animal walks or runs on its toes, making them walk silently. If you do not sheathe your cat’s claws, then, when they walk on rigid surfaces, they will make a click-clack sound. These cats retract their claws when they feel no need for them.

Can a cat retract their back claws?

A study by the Journal of Morphology states that cats use their plantaris muscle for retracting their claws. Now, you must be thinking about the plantaris muscle. A plantaris muscle is a small and critical muscle, and the cat has this plantaris muscle along the calf.

In cats, if they flex their plantaris muscle, they will be able to sheathe their claws as well. A cat can also retract their back claws, but cats rarely feel the need to retract the claws. All the digitigrade animals walk and run on their toes, and so is a cat. Cats use their rear claws to protect themselves from hunting prey and predatory animals.

Why does a cat retract their paws?

A cat can unsheathe their claws for several reasons, and some are below.


It is pervasive that a cat likes to climb from high places. Climbing from high places gives them an elevated vantage point to the cats. The cats can check for all the threats and prey animals by this. Suppose your cat likes to sleep in a closet then. It shows that a rabbit can jump this high. However, when a cat climbs a fence or trees, they need more scrambling and dexterity. A cat has dewclaws on its front paws which provides them with traction.


Felines have a standard behavior of scratching something, and it is the most common instinctive behavior in a cat as well. The Canadian Journal of Zoology study says that it is also a form of marking in cats. The cats mark their areas by scratching the stair carpets and furniture. You can help them in controlling this behavior. Instead of the furniture and other things, you can give them some thermals to scratch or give them some scratching posts.


When a cat pounces upon a prey animal, it cannot bite them from its neck. So, these cats use their claws to catch and hold them. They also use their claws to tear out the flesh of the rodents and the birds.


Cats use their teeth and their claws in self-defense. A study by the Veterinary Clinics Small Animal Practice says that a cat’s claws are a sign of fear in cats. You must have seen a cat lying on its back. The cats lie on their back because they want access to all four claws. When they lie down on the floor, they do not lie because they request a belly rub from you but to access all four paws. When lying in this position, a cat can fight back or face the problem if danger comes to them. Whenever a cat feels insecure, they unsheathe their claws. Unsheathing of the claws indicates the insecurity and fear in a cat.

How does a cat learn to retract its claws?

After the cats take birth, they unsheathe their claws before becoming four weeks old. These cats completely unsheathe their claws for the first four weeks after their birth. It further enables the cat to get milk from its mother. After about one month, the cats can retract their claws. Almost every cat instinctively retracts its claws and all the cruciality of its claws, especially its front claws.

They protect their front claws from damage. A cat learns to protect their claws from danger from its mother and older cats. Through playing, the cats learn to retract their claws. The cats learn almost everything, including retracting their claws from their mother only. Their mothers let them know the exact time when they unsheathed their claws. If your kitten is hurting their playmates, you can chastise their claws.

Why does my cat not know how to retract their claws?

When the cats are in their kittenhood period, they learn to retract their claws. It is a rare condition if a cat does not know the skill of retracting its claws in adulthood. If a cat does not retract their claws and is in their adulthood, they are physically incapable of doing it. They also do not do it when they willingly do not want to.

Old age

When cats become older, they also become less active in their daily routine. The cats will become incapable of wearing down their claws naturally. When a cat gets more senior day by day, they lose their flexibility. Losing flexibility also leads the cats to lose the ability to retract their claws.

When a cat ages, its joints, and muscles become stiffer. This stiffness affects their plantaris as well. Retracting claws is very painful for an old cat. When a cat flexes their plantaris, they experience discomfort in their daily life routine. It happens because their muscles get seized up, which makes it hard to turn the plantaris and retract their paws.


When it has a leg injury or foot injury, a rabbit cannot retract their claws. Suppose your cat has permanent unsheathed claws then, you will notice that your cat is masking a limp. A study by the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association says that the injuries in the plantaris of a cat are very pervasive. The cats may injure themselves and their tendons while jumping and running. Apart from this, a cat can injure themselves and their plantaris when they injure their calf muscle.

An injury in the calf muscle impacts the plantaris of the cats. You can take your example. For instance, if you twist your ankle and pull off the calf muscle, you will not be able to flex your ankle. From this, you can understand the process. It applies similarly to a cat as well. When a cat gets some injury on its plantaris, it cannot retract its claws.


A rabbit struggles to retract their claws when they have some bacterial or fungal infection. It mostly happens when a cat turns their claws because of some injury orbiting, and these injuries make it very painful for the cats. Below are a few widespread infections that prevent claw retraction in cats.

Onychomycosis – Onychomycosis is a fungal infection in cats. It affects the tissue around the nail bed.

Paronychia – Paronychia is a nail disorder in cats, and it leads a cat to inflammation of the skin around the claw.

How to train a cat to retract its claws?

The method and teaching your cat to retract its claws depends upon the cause. For instance, some cats can not physically retract their claws. Suppose your cat refuses to retract their claws, you can give them some training. But the training can be a very lengthy procedure if your rabbit is going through some psychological problems.

Why is my cat not retracting its claws while playing?

When a cat plays with the toys, it stimulates its hunting instincts and provides the cat with exercises. When your cat becomes very excited while playing games, it can unsheathe its claws. Below are some ways to teach your cat to retract their claws when they are playing.

  1. In the first step, you can play with your cat. When your cat is approaching you with unsheathed claws, you should allow them to do that.
  2. Whenever you see your cat coming to you with its claws, you have to make a yelping sound with a high pitch.
  3. In the next stage, you can stand up and turn your back to your cat. The rabbits will cease to play for at least thirty seconds.
  4. You have to repeat the same process. When your cat unsheathes the rabbit’s claws again, you have to stop playing with them for at least one minute to two minutes.
  5. You can give your cat one more chance by repeating the same process.
  6. Even after all these tricks, your cat unsheathes their claws again, and you can repeat the process in further 24 hours.
  7. In the end, it will send a message to your cat. The unnecessary unsheathing of the claws will bring the fun.

Why is my cat not retracting its claws around others?

If your cat frequently unsheathes their claws around other people and animals. It suggests that the cat feels insecure and is very afraid of something. Suppose your other pets feel uncomfortable with your new pet, then you have to reintroduce your new pet with the others. It is better to keep your other pets separate in the beginning days but give them some space to interact.

Make a barrier between the two. It will allow the pets to communicate with each other but from different locations. You have to feed your pets together but make a separate place to provide them. After some days, when the pets understand between them, you can allow them to live together. After a few days, you can free the pets to roam here and there when they know each other perfectly.

When they make a good bond with each other, the cat will automatically retract their paws just like other cats. It also means that the reintroduction trick became successful. It will be visible to you through their bond, and it shows that both the animals learned their existence at the same place. It is a matter of concern when some new individuals enter their house. It also includes new babies and new pets. Cats feel very nervous about the new environment and feel worried about the intentions of the infiltrators.

Why should I declaw my cat?

When your cat refuses you from retracting its claws, you can take more drastic and strict action. You can declaw your cat, and the process is scientifically known as onychectomy. It is a very controversial procedure, and the vet generally does not do this. Most of the vets refuse to do declawing in the cats. It is not a simple-looking manicure, but it is a process in which the veterinarians cut the top of their bone.

And it is a reason why it is painful for the rabbits and why cats refuse to do this declawing process in the cats. You should also be aware that a cat is a digitigrade animal, so they struggle to balance while running and walking after going through the declawing process.

But you should consider their pain if you consider declawing your cat’s claws. Instead of declawing, you can consider fitting your cat with claw tips. These fittings are plastic caps that adjust on the cat’s claws. The plastic fits at the end of their blunt edges. A claw tip will not prevent a cat from retracting its claws in the future.

How to trim a cat’s claw?

You can follow these steps if you want to trim your cat’s claws. Below are the steps for trimming the claws of the cats.

  1. In the very first step, you have to buy nail clippers. You will need nail clippers as scissors can not cut the keratin because it is too tough for the scissors.
  2. Before you will do their nail cutting, make your cat familiar with the sound of the nail clippers. If they are familiar with the sound, they will be fearless.
  3. Also, a duty of yours includes making them feel comfortable and calm. Massage is one of the best elements to calm your cat quickly. When the cats feel relaxed, you will easily handle the cat.
  4. Now, see the tip of their tail and cut it. But it would be best if you were alert that you do not cut the rabbit’s nails too deep. If you cut their nails deeply, their nails will start bleeding. So, do not cut their nails too deep.
  5. Clip their nails at the end.

Why do cats extend their claws when somebody pets them?

Suppose your cat is extending their claws when you are petting them. It shows a sign of happiness in the cats. When your cat feels relaxed, the cat extends its claws. It is a sign of relaxation in the cats.

They will also assemble another body language such as purring, etc. if the cats extend their claws and scratch the blankets and the furniture. It can be a sign of a warning, rather than petting their body again if they are in aggressive mode. It would be best if you let them do anything they want.

Why is my cat kneading?

Kneading is a process in which a cat makes repetitive and rhythmic motions. In this process, the cats push their paws into and out. The cats knead because of the following reason. Below are a few reasons that suggest the reason behind kneading.

  1. Through the help of kneading, they prepare a space for their sleep.
  2. The cats knead when they give birth to their babies.
  3. They also use the kneading motion when they want to mark their territory.
  4. These cats also indicate their willingness to mate with their partner through kneading.
  5. When they have been through some challenging and stressful situations, they feel relaxed.
  6. They also knead when they stretch their muscles after taking a nap.
  7. During nursing, they knead to stimulate the flow of the milk.

Final words

The article is about how to teach a cat to retract its claws. Cats are feline animals who have a similar behavior of scratching. A cat also uses their claws to catch their prey animals. Other than this, the cats use their claws to climb high places as it provides grip to the cats. Cats use their claws to catch prey animals. They also use their claws to jump from high places and stroll without making crusty sounds on hard floors. You can make them retract their claws while they play.