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Cat Gets Claws Stuck All The Time

A cat’s claws can be a fascinating tool at work and there is just something about the way they use their claws that we humans find intriguing.

Cats’ claws are essential for their survival and there are a few key reasons for this:

  • Hunting and playing, to help them catch and trap prey (real or pretend)
  • Stretching, so they can attach themselves to carpet or furniture and twist and turn their body
  • Climbing, to grip onto trees and other items to keep balance and stop them from falling
  • Scent, to grab onto items and leave their scent to claim their territory
  • Protection, to defend themselves and warn others away (during fights)

As you can see a cat’s claws are a vital part of their physical makeup. It is nearly always best for owners not to intervene with a cat’s claw whenever possible, for kitty’s wellbeing and even health. But there may be certain instances where it is necessary for their welfare to do so.

So what can you do about your cat getting their claws stuck all the time? Your cat is probably getting their claws stuck often because their nails are too long. This is common for indoor and sedentary cats. You can give them scratching posts and toys and encourage them to spend time outside to naturally “file” their claws. As a last resort, you can trim their nails.

It can be very frustrating when a cat keeps getting their claws stuck on sofas, carpet, and other furniture items, and here we will take a closer look at why this may be happening and what you can do to help.

Why Do My Cat’s Claws Keep Getting Stuck?

The key cause of a cat’s claws getting stuck is when their nails are too long. Nails that are too long are less retractable, which is one of the main problems.

This can easily happen at times throughout your cat’s life; however, it is much more common in older age. Healthy adult cats do not usually experience this issue so much, particularly if they go outside.

When cats go about their natural, somewhat active routine their nails are more likely to stay shorter. Climbing trees, stretching out on the carpet and hunting prey (to name but a few activities) means those claws get a lot of use.

When a claw is well used, it effectively gets filed down “naturally”. You shouldn’t have to worry about intervening with a cat’s claws if they are being used correctly.

Cats that tend to be far more sedentary are usually more prone to having longer nails and getting caught on things. They’re just not using them enough for the nails to get filed down and remain shorter.

This is a common problem in older cats since they naturally tend to slow down and keep less active in later life.

This can also be an issue for indoor cats since their nails do not come up against rougher elements found in nature; they’re not climbing trees or bouncing around like outdoor cats. Kittens can also experience this problem as they are often kept inside for their first months of life.

What to Do When Your Cat’s Claws Keep Getting Stuck?

Firstly, let’s make it clear that declawing a cat is not a humane option.

Most veterinary professionals will tell you it is inhumane and even unnecessary. Cats don’t simply need claws and use them daily for the reasons we mentioned above, their claws are part of their bone structure.

Declawing is painful and can end up deforming your cat’s paws, causing further lifelong issues and even pain. It is also probably stressful for your cat to have the instinct to use their claws, but not be able to.

There are, however, some things you can do as an owner to try and rectify this issue:


One of the easiest things you can try to do if your cat keeps getting their claws stuck is to provide some assistance. Some cats welcome a little bit of help from their loving owner when they get caught up.

You must be gentle when doing so, but by slowly prying the claws away you can solve this problem in the short term. If need be, lift your cat a little so it is easier to unhook them. If this is an ongoing problem however you may need to take some further steps.


Providing the right type of toys can make all the difference. Scratching posts and pads can be very helpful to cats that have long nails and keep getting stuck.

Most cats seem to intuitively know what to do when presented with a scratching tool (and it’s easy to teach those that are confused) and it can really help to keep their nails short and filed so they do not get stuck regularly.

These types of toys are particularly important for indoor cats since they do not have the means to keep their nails short via the natural outside surroundings.

Time Outdoors

Allowing your cat some time outdoors can help considerably with keeping nails short and filed.

Even if you have a mostly indoor cat, allowing them time outside in a run or enclosure is not only good for their nails but can help cure boredom and provide mental stimulus.


Trimming your cat’s nails is usually a last option for nail sticking problems. If your cat seems to continually get stuck and they are not able to prevent this themselves via other means it may be time for a trim.

To be clear, this does not mean declawing but refers to trimming only the sharp edges and filing the nail down so it does not get so caught on items.

Some owners choose to take on this task themselves. It can be quite a tricky process to carry out on cats and therefore we strongly advise taking your cat to a veterinary professional who will be able to retrain your cat correctly and prevent possible injuries from occurring.

A professional also knows to what point it is safe to cut your cat’s nails and will be able to leave enough nail for your cat’s natural abilities and peace of mind.

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