How To Treat And Prevent Ingrown Claws In Cats


Ingrown nails aren’t only peculiar to us humans. It is a common yet overlooked condition in pets, too, including cats. Your cat is likely to suffer from ingrown claws at some point. Her risk of this condition will undoubtedly increase with age.

Ingrown claws can be extremely painful for your cat. If the condition is left untreated, your cat could suffer from sores and infections. In severe cases, ingrown claws can lead to lameness and other severe complications.

Luckily, preventing and treating this condition is easy.  Read more to understand the condition, its causes, treatments, and vital preventive measures to protect your cute companion from the condition.

Why Does My Cat Have Ingrown Claws?

Cats are born with retractable claws that are attached to their compact and round paws.  Their paws are built for easy grabbing, swatting, and pinning their prey. Cats also use their feet for climbing trees and self-defense.

Their claws are strategically attached to the end phalanges. These are the bones that act as cats’ toes. When your cat is relaxed, the nails usually contract to its skin pouches. She can extend them whenever she wants to grab something or attack prey.

Cats’ claws grow continuously, just like human nails. However, their claws are sickle-shaped, unlike ours, which are oval or square-shaped. The claws also have sharp tips. Like with human nails, the claws can grow too long, ultimately damaging the surrounding skin.

Cats with heavy coats and long fur are more susceptible to ingrown claws.  It is hard to notice the condition in these cats unless one looks carefully at their paws. Nails need to be trimmed regularly to prevent them from curving around, consequently digging into the surrounding sensitive skin.

Ingrown claws are particularly common on dewclaws. These are the claws that appear higher on the cats’ legs.  Dewclaws don’t touch the ground, and thus they don’t wear off naturally like other claws.  Your cat is mostly having a problem if the declaws are touching the floor.

What Are The Common Symptoms of Ingrown Claws In Cats?

Several symptoms are associated with ingrown claws in cats. Thicker nails are a common sign of the condition. Cats’ nails should be naturally sharp and thin. They shouldn’t be thick.  Your cat could be having ingrown claws if she has thicker claws.

Unexplainable soreness in the cat’s paw is another sign of ingrown claws. Soreness usually happens when the nails are excessively thick and curved. Moreover, your cat might excessively chew, bite or lick at the toes if she has ingrown claws.

The affected paw is extremely sensitive to touch.  In extreme cases, she might start limping while walking. Her behavior, too, will be affected by the condition. She will become less active because of the pain she is experiencing in her toes. She won’t be playful as usual.

Easy Way To Treat Ingrown Claws In Cats

Ingrown claws are easy to cure, depending on how severe the condition is.  But it is always best to have your cat checked by a vet. An examination is vital, particularly if the cat has a high risk of getting an infection due to the condition.  The vet will also recommend the right treatment option that suits your pet.

Trimming is an ideal way of treating the condition. It nonetheless needs to be done safely by a vet if you find it hard. Please don’t attempt to trim your cat’s claw lest you expose her to infections and lameness in the long-run.

The vet will also safely remove the ingrown claws with clippers. Don’t remove the ingrown nails yourself since you will cause further pain to your cat. Worse still, you could end up damaging her claws permanently.

Fortunately, you can treat ingrown cat claws yourself without seeking help from your vet. First, start with examining her paws for possible signs of the condition. Use clippers to trim the ingrown claws upon identifying them.

Trimming will provide her with instant relief if the condition hasn’t progressed further. Unfortunately, trim won’t offer much comfort if the claws had already started causing open wounds on the paws.

Disinfect the wounds to kill bacteria and germs. Disinfecting helps with keeping possible infections at bay. Do it meticulously to avoid causing further pain and injuries to the cat. Stitch the wounds after cleaning and disinfecting them. Be sure to trim all the claws before stitching the paws.

Regularly clean the paws after treatment.  Try dabbling them with warm water to reduce inflammation and swelling.  Put pet cones on the treated feet to stop the cat from licking or scratching the paws.  Using pet cones is vital for providing the stitched wounds with ample time to heal.

Best Ways To Prevent Ingrown Nails In Cats

Yes, ingrown claws in cats are treatable. Treatment should, however, be the last option.  After all, why let your cute cat suffer from the condition while you can prevent it? Preventing the disease isn’t difficult. Below are easy ways to avoid ingrown nails in cats.

Check Her Paws Regularly

Checking helps with identifying the signs of ingrown claws from the onset. It is a vital step in diagnosing the condition at its early stages. Start with checking the paws.  See whether the claws are protruding while the cat is resting or overly inactive.  Also, check the dewclaws. Do they make contact with the floor as she walks?

Do the claws look curved or sickle-shaped? All these are signs of ingrown claws. Check her behavior from time to time. If she isn’t active as usual, her nails could probably be bothering her.  There could be a severe problem if you notice any abnormalities in her claws.

If she doesn’t show any signs of this condition, then you shouldn’t be worried. Nevertheless, don’t ignore any symptom that points out the possibility of the disease. Instead, embark on fixing the problem before the claws lead to severe complications.

Trim Her Claws Regularly

Trimming is by far the most effective preventive measure for combating ingrown claws among cats. If the nails are scratching the ground, it means they have grown excessively long. Claws aren’t supposed to stick out of the paws.

Trim Ingrown Claws with a Nail Trimmer

If they keep sticking out even when resting, then you should consider trimming them.

You can either cut the claws yourself or have them trimmed by a professional pet groomer.

The latter is the best trimming option, particularly if you have never trimmed nails before.

Follow these steps to trim your cat’s claws safely without taking her to a groomer for trimming.

  • Place the cat on your laps and drape your forearms over her neck. Hold a pair of clippers with one hand. Still, you can use a variety of claw trimmers for trimming based on your preferences.
  • Hold the paw and gently squeeze the cat’s toe to expose its claws.
  • Locate the nerves and the blood vessels at the base of each claw. Cut the nail at least 2 millimeters from the bottom. Avoid cutting at the base lest the cat starts bleeding and ultimately experiencing pain.
  • Make clean cuts while trimming the claws. Meaning your clippers or trimmers must be sharp enough.

Avoid Possible Trigger Factors

Outgrown claws have it causes like other conditions. Avoid any trigger factors that could expose your cat to the condition.  For instance, your cat should not be subjected to harmful environmental conditions.

Your lovely cat has a greater risk of developing ingrown nails if the environment she is living in is either excessively dry or too wet. Inadequate conditions can also increase her risk of getting infections that are attributed to ingrown claws. Plus, they can potentially cause severe complications, which can increase her risk of becoming lame.

Also, avoid mistakes while trimming her claws. Improper trimming can alter the growth of the claws, finally leading to ingrown nails.  In other words, avoid all the possible factors that could expose her to the condition in the long-run.

Restrain Her

Ingrown claws are extremely painful, and they may force your cat to avoid walking. Restrain her as you seek a treatment option for her condition. Restraining helps prevent the worsening of the condition.

Furthermore, it ensures the cat won’t be exposed to infections of the paws. Keep the cat indoors or find a safe place for her. Make the environment suitable for her by providing her with all the essentials, including food and toys.

Call a Vet

Ideally, a vet should be called when your cat has shown clear signs of ingrown claws. Vet checkups, however, are vital for preventing the condition.  The right vet will continuously check the cat for any conditions, including ingrown nails. Therefore, your cat’s chances of suffering from the condition are low if a vet is continually checking her. Ideally, your cat should get checked every month. However, your vet will recommend a suitable checkup schedule that suits you in terms of budget and your cat’s health needs.


Ingrown claws can affect even the cutest and happiest cat. Take action to prevent your lovely cat from being a victim of the condition. Give her the best possible care to keep her safe from this condition.