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Cats are famous for being self-toilets. If you have a cat, you already know how much time it spends per day cleaning itself. Your furball will continue to lick and groom itself. However, if you see your cat biting its nails excessively, it is obvious that you will ask yourself a question: is it normal for cats to bite their nails?
It is normal for cats to bite their nails. Nail biting as part of a cat’s grooming process. Cats bite their nails to clean them and remove excess dirt, debris or litter deposited in the nails. If your cat’s nail is hanging down, he will bite it to eradicate the falling nail.
So, let’s start with your cat’s nail biting habits, the conditions under which it can be abnormal behavior, and some frequently asked questions.
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Reasons why cats bite their nails
Below, we discuss the top six reasons why your cat might be biting its nails. Although biting your nails is part of the grooming process, sometimes it also indicates an underlying problem with your furry friend. Read on to find out more.
Normal grooming process for cats
Cats love to groom themselves. The cat’s claws are structured in several layers and their growth is from the inside out. Over time, your cat’s claw coats can thicken and wear down. Dirt can also settle in the fingernails.
Therefore, you may find your furry friend biting his nails to get rid of any dirt or dead skin deposited in the nails.
Also, sometimes if your cat’s nail is chipping, you may find him biting his nails to completely remove the broken nail. This ensures that the hanging piece of the nail does not act as an obstacle when the cat is trying to grab something.
Compulsive behavior problem
If your cat has a compulsive behavior problem, he will constantly chew his claws. This biting is extremely different from the regular grooming process, and it is abnormal and excessive.
Like humans, cats can also suffer from anxiety issues for a variety of reasons. They may resort to excessive nail biting as they are unable to cope with anxiety.
Sometimes excessive chewing can damage your cat’s claws and self-harm. Here are some reasons why your cat may become anxious:
● Presence of a new pet in your home
● Your cat does not like being home alone
● Changes in your home environment
● Anything your cat finds irritating and can’t do anything about it
If you find a compulsive behavior problem with your furry friend, you can follow the steps below to relieve your cat and restore harmony.
● If you have a new pet in your home, try separating the cat for a little while, then reintroduce pets again
● Keep a separate litter box, water bowl and food bowl for your cat
● Follow an appropriate feeding routine for your cat
● Organize regular playtime for your cat
● Improve mental stimulation by providing interactive toys for your cat
● Consult a veterinarian and provide your cat with anti-anxiety medication
Sometimes your cat may have an underlying condition that can cause excessive nail biting and chewing. Here are the two main diseases responsible for this behavior of your cat:
Ringworm is a common fungal infection that occurs in cats. This can make your cat’s skin dry and scaly, with red patches appearing on it. Ringworms cause significant discomfort in cats and can therefore lead to excessive nail biting and chewing in your cat.
An autoimmune disease, pemphigus, is responsible for irritating your cat’s skin around the face, paws and ears.
In this case, you should consult a veterinarian at the earliest.
Brittle and thick nails
As cats age, their nails tend to become brittle and thick. Brittle nails tend to fall off often. This can be one of the possible reasons senior cats chew and bite their nails.
Besides old age, your cat may also have brittle and thick nails due to bacterial infections, tumors, or high growth hormone levels. If you notice any signs that your cat is in pain or has difficulty walking, you need to see a veterinarian right away.
Infection in Cats
Cats can easily be infected with yeast or bacteria. Outdoor games can be one of the reasons for these infections. Sometimes exposure to a chemical can also have a detrimental effect on your cat’s paws, ultimately affecting their nails.
Apart from this, if you as a cat owner cut your cat’s nails too short, it can increase the chances of infection as the claws are exposed without the nails.
Lack of scratching posts
Cats love to scratch their nails. So if your cat is indoors most of the time, you need to make sure you have something like a cat tree or a cat scratcher to meet that need.
This will provide your cat with much-needed mental stimulation and keep him calm. This way, your cat will no longer need to bite its nails excessively.
Is it bad for cats to bite their nails?
It is bad for cats to bite their nails if done excessively. It may be a sign of an underlying disease or an anxiety disorder.
Excessive biting can cause self-harm in cats.
What does it mean when cats bite their nails
If your cat habitually bites its nail, this is a cats way of grooming itself, removing the worn outer layer and pulling up the sharp nails underneath.
Sometimes cats can also bite their nails if they are irritated by a condition such as ringworm or pemphigus.
Do cats cut their own nails
Cats may bite and gnaw their nails to remove the worn layers of their claws. However, they cannot cut their nails properly. Most of the time, the layers don’t completely come off.
If the oldest layer is not cut properly, it can cause ingrown toenail problems in your cat. Therefore, it would be helpful if you trim your cat’s claws regularly.
What happens if a cat’s nail comes off
It is extremely painful for your cat if its nail comes off. Many times this can also lead to your hairball crying in pain.
Due to the high blood supply to the base of the nail, the nail that has broken off can cause your cat to bleed for a while. The bleeding usually stops, then it may start again.
If not covered and treated immediately, exposed skin can become vulnerable to various infections that can lead to health problems.
Nail tearing is more common in kittens because their claws are very delicate and they are super energetic.
You must consult a veterinarian to stop the bleeding and apply an appropriate bandage to the affected area.
How to stop a cat from biting its nails
Primarily, cats bite their nails to groom themselves. There is nothing you can do to stop this behavior. However, if your hairball bites its nails for the other reasons described above, you can follow the methods below to prevent it from biting its nails.
Establish a proper routine
It is always advisable to set a proper routine for your car, having set meal times and play times. This will help him stay away from his anxieties.
Caring for multiple pets
If you have multiple cats or pets, your cat may want more attention or be uncomfortable around other pets, leading to stress and anxiety. This ultimately leads to excessive nail biting.
So you should give your cat alone time to calm down and then reintroduce your pets to the cat. Additionally, you should make sure your cat has a separate food and water bowl and a litter box.
Try to sterilize your cat
One of the common reasons for aggressive behavior in cats is during mating season if they are not neutered. This can put your cat under extreme stress, causing her to bite her nails.
Therefore, you can consult a veterinarian and have your cat sterilized. This will reduce its aggressiveness.
Keep your cat busy with enough toys
It is not always possible for us to stay with our cats. Sad, isn’t it! Whether it’s school or work or just a normal outing; Your cat is forced to spend time alone at home.
In this case, you need to make sure you have a facility at home where your cat can play and cool off.
Try investing in cat-safe toys, cat trees, and scratching posts. You can also keep simple items like a box or paper bag to occupy your cat.
All of this will ensure that your cat will have enough activity and reduce stress levels.
Consult your veterinarian
If your cat is excessively biting her nails, you should consider consulting a veterinarian. Your cat may be prescribed anti-anxiety medication, which may help calm her down.
Things to consider
Although it is normal for cats to bite their nails, you should always watch out for abnormal signs that can lead to excessive nail biting.
Often, if your cat has had a toenail pulled out, the only way to tell is by seeing the droplets of blood. It would be helpful if you always look for the signs below:
● Swollen paws
● Pain when touching the injured paw