by Eve Atton
(winnipeg, mb, canada)
Over night my cat, Ace, lost all but one claw on his front paws. I was able to located 3 out of the 7. Ace is an 8 year old, indoor, neutered cat.
No blood on his paw, no infection, no swelling. He didn’t eat today and is taking it easy, looking annoyed.
I put cold a cold compress on his paw, but he just won’t tolerate it. What causes that?
He is a vivid scratcher on wood and furniture and to clip his nail is a task that I avoid as much as I can.
Will the claws grow back? Is there an underlying medical condition that causes it?
I just recently got laid off and waiting for my first EI check, taking him to the vet right now is not an option for another 3-4 weeks.
Please help. thank you, I am very concerned.
Hi Eve… thanks for visiting and asking. My best to Ace.
It is possible for a cat to lose a whole claw under certain relatively extreme circumstances such as a jump that went wring or a fight. Perhaps a claw can be broken or even ripped out.
This would normally apply to one individual claw. But to lose a number of claws without blood and to find them as has happened here strongly indicates that Ace is simply shedding an outer sheath of claw during scratching.
Claw sheath – Photo by
Ivers McGraw (FLickr)
This is totally normal and is one reason why cats scratch. I often find the outer whole sheaths of my lady cat’s claws on the carpet.
The outer sheath of a claw looks like a claw but is hollow and about two thirds to three quarters of the entire length of a claw.
What goes against my assessment is that you positively say that Ace has lost his claws. Can you see claws? He may not like you fiddling around with his claws and as they are retracted it can be a little hard to see them sometimes.
Cat claw sheath
by Alice Wiegand (Lyzzy)
I would double check. All his claws should be in place and a little sharper!
If not please get back and make a comment. As there in no blood or infection, on the face of it, there is not need for a vet.
I have checked the best books on cat health that I have and there is no references to a cat losing its claws through an underlying medical condition in any of them. This supports my assessment.
As Ace is a passionate scratcher (good for him) it is likely that an outer sheath will be sloughed off from time to time.
All should be well but please make a comment if you think I am wide of the mark in my assessment.