How did this cat get a claw in her eye?

NEWS/OPINION-COVENTRY, UK: Coventry veterinarian Simon Pudsey had never seen it before he said; a one-year-old cat with an ‘entire’ claw stuck in one of her eyes. The cat, Rey, was at the veterinary clinic for flea treatment, deworming and a checkup and Rey’s owner, Matt, asked Simon to have a look at his cat’s eye because he said it was slightly sore.

Simon immediately saw something very puzzling, the sharp white tip of something starting to emerge after he applied a little pressure to the eye. He then noticed what he described as “an entire cat’s claw – completely intact”.

You can see what he’s referring to in the photograph below. And I think that Simon, the veterinarian, has got this completely wrong because what he was looking at was not a whole claw from a cat but the sheath of a claw. You probably know that cats remove the oute layer of their claws when they scratch. This sharpens up to claw and gets rid of the outer sheath. The claw then regrows and so the cycle restarts.

Simon, Rey and the claw sheath removed from her eye
Simon, Rey and the claw sheath removed from her eye. Collage: PoC. Photos (cleaned up) unattributed. Probably Coventry Live online newspaper.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

So what we see is a hollow claw sheath. It is not the claw itself, fully intact. This is the first thing that Simon has unfortunately got wrong in my opinion if the report from Coventry Live is accurate. Secondly, he doesn’t know how it got into the cat’s eye but I can speculate that the claw sheath got into Rey’s eye when Rey was scratching the side of her face perhaps near her eye and the claw sheath broke off because it was loose and entered her eye as she blinked. It would have been a combination of events and purely coincidental.

But the result has nothing to do with a cat fight or a complete cat’s claw being lodged in this cat’s eye. It’s a simple accident but highly unusual and I’m not surprised that Simon had never seen before. I just think that his bemusement at seeing it was slightly odd without being unfairly critical of him.

P.S. I suspect that the claw sheath as stuck between the eyeball and the eye socket.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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