Humans frequently regard nail-biting as a nervous behavior or simple poor habit. At worst, it is viewed as rude or unsanitary. Cats bite their nails for what reason? Although it’s typically accepted as normal, it might occasionally give rise to concerns for the reasons we’ll go over below. Cats regularly chew on their claws as part of grooming; after all, your cat likes to be clean. However, excessive biting might indicate a deeper issue. It could be a behavioral problem brought on by anxiety or stress.
However, it might also be a medical problem that calls for a trip to the vet. In either case, you should keep an eye on such behavior because, if left unchecked, it could result in more serious issues. Learn why cats bite their nails and why you should be concerned by reading on.
Do cats trim their own nails?
Cats will naturally groom their own nails, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trimming them. When you use a trimmer to cut down your cat’s nails, you are essentially dulling them or reducing the sharpness of them. Cats won’t do this on their own. In fact, cats will scratch cat posts and furniture in an attempt to sharpen their nails even more.
Over time, a cat’s nails will regenerate new layers, causing the outer layer to fall off and reveal a fresh nail. Sometimes cats will bite or chew at their nails to help get this outer layer off.
So to answer the question “Do cats trim their own nails?” the answer is no. You still have to trim their nails with a clipper if you don’t want them to be so sharp.
Why do cats bite their nails?
Claw Biting and Chewing is Normal (Usually)
Cats enjoy grooming. Cleaning their paws and getting in “between the toes,” as it were, is a part of that procedure. In order to get rid of extra dirt and debris like sand or litter, cats will chew on and bite their claws and toes. This is especially apparent in cats who prefer being outside.
The Best of the Discerning Cat
The biological makeup of cat claws is also unique. Layers of work are done. The nail’s outer layer will therefore eventually deteriorate and tear. Cats occasionally chew their claws to help get rid of the nail’s outer covering. A brand-new layer with more clarity and luster is waiting below. The biting technique complements other techniques. Your cat may use scratching poles, tree bark from outside, or even your beloved sofa to wear their nails down or keep them sharp. Cats prefer to maintain their nails tidy, neat, and at a good length in general.
When Should You Be Concerned?
It’s important to note that you might not always see your cat chewing. Your cat isn’t always in plain sight. Additionally, some cats want a little secrecy when grooming. However, if your cat, who is generally healthy, lacks access to appropriate clawing equipment, it can turn to excessive chewing. Try a top-notch scratching post or a horizontal scratching board to solve this simple issue (different strokes for different cats).
There are circumstances where nail-biting is abnormal outside of this simple cure. It can be a symptom of one or more illnesses that require immediate care. The usual explanation for excessive nail-biting is a psychological or behavioral issue. So let’s examine some typical problems and potential fixes.
What medical issues cause abnormal claw-biting?
Medical conditions can take many different forms, just like they do in humans and animals alike. It’s advisable to let a veterinarian give advice on the best course of action for any medical problem. But it’s important to be aware of your options. Your cat may have one of the following issues, ranging from infections to pre-existing conditions:
An autoimmune condition known as pemphigus affects a cat’s skin. There are five main subtypes that it falls under. The kind of pemphigus foliaceus that is most frequently connected to cats. It appears as irritation in delicate regions of the body, including the vaginal region, paws, and the face (eyelids, nostrils, and ears). On the toenail beds, lesions develop and leave behind unpleasant, crusty regions. The cat will want to lick or clear these, which will draw excessive attention from its claws.
Feline dermatophytosis is a rather typical skin condition. It has nothing to do with worms despite its common name. It is a fungus that was brought on by soil. The fungus are frequently eliminated by regular grooming. But once the fungus establishes itself, it will harm keratin-rich tissues like hair and nails. Additionally, the fungus may infect and irritate the skin. Ringworm that is left untreated results in hair loss, scales, infected claws, and ingrown nails, all of which necessitate frequent grooming.
3. Other Infections
Additionally, bacterial or yeast infections that affect the paws might afflict cats. Many things can be suddenly activated. Additionally, some breeds have a hereditary predisposition to particular diseases; Persians, for example, are prone to a variety of illnesses, including infections. Cats may also be sensitive to cleaners or chemicals used on household surfaces.
4. Nail Problems in Old Cats
Older cats may experience hormonal imbalances that cause their nails to be excessively thick or brittle. Additionally, they could experience tumors and malignant growths. Always ask a veterinarian for guidance. Most problems are fixable, especially if they are caught early.
Nail Biting Due to Behavioral Problems
Many behavioral problems are likely caused by stress or anxiety. Sometimes the culprit is utter boredom or even loneliness. In addition to over-grooming, you could experience pica, a compulsive eating problem, and hair loss (or, more precisely, hair pulling). PICA patients (human and feline) obsessively consume non-food items such as fabric, paper, cardboard, etc.
Does your cat suddenly become quieter or talk more? Does it now hide when it didn’t before, or has it stopped eating? These other characteristics can occasionally be signs that something is awry. Most of the time, taking one or more of the following steps can assist to make things better:
1. Reduce stress.
Cats frequently seek comfort in secure areas. A high perch or a cat carrier that is separated and stress-free is one of the first things you can offer. If your cat is stressed out, you might also consider buying a pheromone diffuser to help.
2. Monitor the Interaction Between Cats
You might need to reintroduce the cat if they appear to be provoking fear or aggressiveness in the other cat. Conflicting cats fight over resources that are shared. Try several water bottles and litter boxes. Around items, cats are sensitive to the odours of other cats.
3. Provide Stimulation
A cat who is bored is a cat that might act out. Cats that live indoors tend to have this more frequently. In this situation, you should make an effort to create a setting in your home that mimics natural phenomena. Here, you can use cat trees, hideaways, closed cat boxes, high surfaces for climbing and walking on, and even cat toys.
Additionally, it will be more crucial to promote playtime. To help your cat burn off any excess energy, make sure you provide them with adequate high-intensity playtime. However, if you don’t encourage healthy play, your cat can start to playfully attack you at inconvenient moments.
4. Maintain a Strong Routine
It may sound a little strange, but establishing and maintaining a schedule is advantageous to both you and your cat. Set up a routine where you feed your cat each day at the same time. Every day at the same time, spend a certain amount of time playing with your cat.
5. Consult a Vet About Medication
In severe situations, ask your veterinarian about medication. A TCA or SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) may be equally effective for treating depression in cats as it is for people. Cats are surprisingly prone to anxiety, particularly when their environment changes. It’s better to be safe than sorry because anxious cats can be dangerous to both themselves and other people in the house.