Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Cat Claw Sheath or Help I Found a Claw

It's disconcerting to find a cat claw sheath on the carpet or perhaps stuck in furniture. I know the first time I found one, I wondered if my cat had pulled off a claw. But a cat's claws are meant to shed the outer covering so they stay sharp.

The claw sheath drops off as new claws grow underneath. 


Cat Claw Sheath: What Is It?

Cats use their claws for climbing, defense, and grooming. Cats claws are comprised of layers, and as the cat's claw grows, the outer layer loses its blood supply. When that happens, the cat sheds the outer layer, which is what you find on the carpet or in the sofa cushions. It's a natural process and essential for cats.

It's also why cats claw furniture, carpets, trees, and whatever else they can find. I'm not sure if it itches or just feels funny, but cats seem to know when they need to shed off those claw sheaths. They start scratching. That's why it's essential to supply your cats with YOUR chosen clawing surface. If it's up to them, you know they're going to choose the sofa, the recliner, your favorite chair, or even your leg.

Using an Appropriate Scratching Surface

It's kind of hit or miss with cats as to what appeals to them for a scratching post (surprise, surprise). Our boys have their unique preferences. Rocky, who was feral or at least on his own for a long time in the woods, loves to claw tree trunks on the property. He'll leap onto the rim of the compost pile, stretch out, and claw away at a pine tree growing behind the pile.

We're not so lucky with Shy Boy, Groucho, and Whitey, who enjoy clawing the pine posts on our porch railing. The naughty boys splintered and destroyed several posts.

Indoors, we have two designated "scratching posts" for the cats. One is a post my husband built from old lumber and a piece of remnant industrial carpeting. The second scratcher is a toy called the Turbo Scratcher. It is a plastic round disk about the size of a dinner plate with a ping pong ball that rolls around a track on the outside of the scratching surface. The scratching surface is made of recycled corrugated cardboard and is replaceable.

Our cats LOVE the Turbo Scratcher. Rocky comes inside and uses it (as well as his pine trees); Pierre, Micawber, Genghis Khan, and any other cat who finds it loves it too. Perhaps it's the catnip the company includes with the toy. It acts to attract the cats over to the Turbo Scratcher.

The inner disks do get messy and you will find bits of cardboard around the house, but it is worth it to save your couches. We have one chair that the cats continue to try to scratch but fortunately, it is in the living room and we usually see them and can shout at them to scatter them away from the chair.

The Turbo Scratcher remains their favorite scratching toy and at around $12 each with replacement disks under $5, you can't beat the price.

If you're finding claw sheaths around the house,  don't worry. It's just your cat doing what cats do naturally - shed their claws. Give them a good surface that YOU choose so they can scratch away and don't worry.

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