How Many Claws Do Cats Have?

A cat’s claws are one of the reasons why you don’t have a leather couch in your living room and your carpet is probably shredded in some parts. Even though it is a topic that most cat lovers would rather not discuss, it doesn’t make it any less interesting. Every part of your cat has a specific purpose that it should serve especially if the cat was out in the wild and today, we will look at claws and find out just how many claws do cats have.


Cats have a total of 18 claws! Yes, that is a scary number especially for you, your carpet and your furniture but each of those claws is totally necessary.

On their front paws, cats have five claws on each paw. The fifth which is called the Dewclaw serves the same purpose as the human thumb. It helps in improving grip and also when feeding your cat foods like meat on bone or carrots, this helps them to latch on the food securely. Claws present cats with the fancy option of pricking foods like popcorn (though they never do that – at least not intentionally).

The hind paws have four claws on each paw. There is no specific function for the hind paws except during play time and in climbing trees and that is why cats don’t pay much attention to them. Generally, the front paws are sharper and more important to the cat and her survival.

Why Do Cat’s Need Claws Anyway?

Every time you find your cat sharpening her claws against your favorite coffee table or your new couch, the love runs out for a while and you feel angered. It is understandable. You might even have thought of declawing the cat but, while the claws might not be your favorite part on your cat, they are of great value to your cat.

  • For stretching – Cats are quite flexible and stretching is a part of their everyday routine. They need their claws to grip items like carpets so they can twist and stretch and make sure every muscle is well stretched. Stretching also happens to be a lot of fun for the feline. 
  • Playing – Whether it is climbing up trees, playing with their food, climbing up the tree house or playing with their most favorite toy, claws are an essential part of your cat being able to play. The claws are curved to make it easier for the cat to climb and grip stuff which also keeps them from slipping and falling down. 
  • Defense – Every time a cat is threatened and ready to attack, you will always notice it stick out a paw and the claws. Even for your indoor cat, having claws gives the cat confidence knowing she has the tools to protect herself.
  • Communication – Claws can also be used to communicate to other cats and their human owners. For instance, if you notice your cat swatting, it is a clear sign that your cat needs some space at that time.

But What about My Furniture?

That’s a good question! Well, claws are very important to cats but so is your furniture so how do you keep a cat and your furniture and drapes in the same room? There are quite a few remedies that you could use so you, your cat and your furniture all live in harmony.

  • Scratch post – The only reason your cat will damage your property is when trying to keep her claws in their best form. By getting a good scratch post for your cat, you give her a better alternative and it will save your furniture. 
  • Claw trimming – There is a big difference between declawing and trimming your cat’s claws. Trimming the claws is more like trimming your nails. They grow back eventually but they are well managed and there is not much damage done to the furniture or the carpet. 
  • Declawing – Is not only inhuman but, it also leaves your cat defenceless and without one of its most important features for playtime. In this case, the claws don’t grow back and most vets will not even accept to perform the procedure on your cat.

Round Up 

Cat claws might not be the best feature that cats have to offer but they are quite intriguing nonetheless. Even though knowing how many claws do cats have might be unsettling for some cat lovers given the high number and the amount of damage they can inflict in your home, it is also nice to know that there is some common ground that can keep both you and your cat happy.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: