Where Do a Cat’s Claws Go When They Are Not Being Used?
Cats have a claw on each toe. But you can’t see the claws until they are used to scratch something. When a cat doesn’t need its claws, its toes are bent. The claws are pulled back under the skin on the toes.
When the cat needs its claws, the toes straighten and the claws are pulled out. If claws were always out, they would lose their sharpness when the cat walked on them.
Many predatory mammals have protractile claws that can partially hide inside the animal’s paw, especially the cat family, Felidae, almost all of which members have fully protractible claws. A claw that is retractable is protected from wear and tear.
Most cats and dogs also have a dew claw on the inside of the front paws. It is much less functional than the other claws but does help the cats to grasp prey. Because the dew claw does not touch the ground, it receives less wear and tends to be sharper and longer.