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Why Your Cat Keeps Getting Its Claws Stuck And How To Stop It!

Cats are easily the second most popular type of pet to keep in North America and Europe with huge numbers of people keeping a family cat in their home.

With so many people having a pet cat in their home, we do see many different questions about caring for a cat with people commonly having problems with their cat getting their claws stuck.

The most common reason that cats keep getting their claws stuck is due to the length of their claws being far too long resulting in the claw getting stuck on fabric or the cat not being able to extend or retract their claws.

This is very common for indoor cats as they have limited access to surfaces that are able to help them wear their claws down to prevent this from happening.

Less common reasons that your cat can keep getting its claws stuck include various types of infection or injury to the paw that prevents them from being able to retract their claw.

This type of injury to the paw is usually obvious and you should be able to see problems with a quick look to confirm that this could be the case.

If you do suspect that your cat’s paw is injured then we would recommend that you book a video call with a veterinarian to have them examine your cat’s paw via the camera on your smartphone to offer their professional opinion on how to move forward.

Why Does My Cat Keep Getting Its Claws Stuck?

Most cats who commonly get their claws stuck have issues with the length of their claws causing a range of issues from their claws getting stuck in carpet to the cat struggling to extend or retract its claws at will.

Damage or trauma to the claw of a cat can cause it to splinter or split causing the claw to get stuck more than it should too but this is usually rare for domestic pet cats.

Some cats just like to get up to mischief and they will play with material in your home, usually curtains or blinds that have a high chance of getting the cats claw stuck in them.

Discouraging this behavior if possible is a good way to go as some people have came home from a long day’s work to notice that their cat is hanging from their window blinds by its stuck claw after playing around without knowing how long it has been stuck there.

Some senior cats can have problems with their claws getting stuck and not being able to extend or retract their claws with this just being part of being an old cat.

This can be more common than some people realize, especially if your cat is your first cat and you have never kept a senior cat before.

Unfortunately, there is usually no reliable way to prevent this from happening but you can often give your cat a little tap on its stuck claw to help the cat retract it if it is obvious that the other claws on the paw are retracted or partially retracted but one is stuck.

What Do You Do If Your Cat’s Claw Is Stuck?

Most cats will have issues with their claws getting stuck due to the length of their claws so trying to trim the claw or even file it down slightly can prevent your cat’s claw from getting stuck.

It your cats claw is damaged or its paw is injured causing the claw to sit differently on the paw then you should seek advice from a veterinarian on how to deal with the issue as soon as possible.

Issues with claw length causing a cat’s claw to get stuck are far more common with indoor cats than outdoor cats as they don’t have access to the surfaces they would naturally use to keep their claw length in check.

You can pick up a scratching post for your cat to scratch its claws against when they get to long to help prevent their claws from getting too long and ending up getting stuck though with most scratching posts being cheap.

Some cheap cat nail clippers are a great investment for anyone who does keep an indoor cat though and they are well worth their $5-$10 price tag.

Even if you do get a scratching post, your cats claws can still end up long enough to cause problems so the clippers let you keep their nails at a reasonable length.

Please note that you should never use nail clippers designed for use on humans on your pet cat as the way they apply pressure to the nail can cause problems with the claw regrowing correctly and may put the quick of the nail in danger too.

Why Is My Cat Having Trouble Retracting Its Claws?

The most common reasons that a cat will have problems with a stuck claw that they are not able to retract include damage to the claw, damage to the paw, the claw being too long, and old age.

In some situations a cat may randomly not be able to retract a claw on their paw and on rare occurrences, this can be totally normal but if you notice it occurring on a regular basis, you should look for the cause of the problem and try to treat it.

It can be common for outdoor cats to get infections in their paws and although the majority of them cause minimal issues and most people don’t even realize their cat had an infection in their paw, some of they can swell the paw and make it difficult for your cat to retract its claws.

If you do think that this is the reason that your cats claws are stuck then you will usually need to get assistance from a vet to get the correct medical treatment to help your cat heal quickly.

There are some generic over the counter treatments available in some countries but a specialist treatment will always be better.

This is due to parasitic, fungal, and bacterial infections in the paw all being treat much quicker with a specialist treatment that is designed to treat that type of infection rather than a generic treatment that may or may not even be effective against the issue your cat is having.

Does It Hurt Cats When Their Claws Get Stuck?

If your cat gets its nail stuck on your carpet or some other material in your home then it is unlikely that it will hurt the cat in most case and your cat will usually just go about its regular business without issue.

If your cat gets its claw stuck when trying to extend or retract it then this can cause your cat pain and hurt it depending on why they are unable to retract their claws.

If your cat’s claw is not sat correctly, usually being twisted in some way and your cat is unable to retract it then it is highly likely that this type of stuck claw is causing your cat some level of pain.

In most situations, it will be obvious to you that your pet cat is in pain and having problems with its paw helping get your attention.

You can then usually take a quick look at the paw to see the visual indicators of the claw not sitting correctly on your cat’s paw and take the required action.

If your cats claw is stuck due to the paw having some sort of an infection then developed infections that have been left to manifest over time can end up hurting your cat.

The pain is not technically from the stuck claw though but the bacteria, fungus or parasites causing the claw to be stuck causing the pain but these can usually be quickly and easily treat with the correct treatments from your veterinarian.

What To Do If Your Cats Claws Is Catching On Carpet?

If your cats claws are catching on the carpet on a regular basis then it is usually due to the claw being too long to be retracted into the paw correctly.

If this is the case then you will have to trim the length of your cats claw to prevent it from catching on the carpet and other fabric surfaces in your home as well as your clothing in the future.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, cheap cat nail clippers are probably the best way to do this but some people do prefer to use a pet nail file but these tend to be more difficult to use on cats and are usually only really useful on dogs.

This is why we tend to recommend that our readers go with cat nail clippers over a pet nail file if they notice that their cat’s nails are getting too long.

Longer types of carpets or carpet with hooped fibers can be more prone to cat’s claws getting stuck on them too, especially indoor cats as they may use this longer type of carpet as a way to scratch their claws to try and keep them short.

This ends up backfiring on the cat as the surface is not rough enough to file their claws down and they end up stuck with their claw trapped in the carpet.


That brings our article going over what to do if your cat keeps getting its claws stuck to an end and we hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand what they should be doing. The majority of people will simply have to trim the length of their cats claws to prevent them from getting stuck with this being a quick, easy, and cheap fix but other people may need a trip to the vets if their cats claws are damaged or their paw has an infection.