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klassymarie June 19th, 2010 12:19 PM

New pet owner with a quick question
I got my cat a couple of weeks ago, he's the first pet I've had while not living with my parents, and the first one who's health and wellbeing fall solely on me. That being said, I notices a little while ago that his nails were getting really long and I did some research and watched a lot of videos on how to clip his nails, which I did without problem.

My issue is that while I was doing this I notice one of his claws was split (I did not clip that nail, btw)? I assume I need to take him to the vet over this, right? My question is that is this something that I need to get looked at asap? I haven't really had the opportunity to find a vet yet, I was planning on shopping around for one next week on one of my days off. Is it okay for me to still do that and take him in then? Or should I find one right now for this? I really don't know how serious a split nail is for a cat. He doesn't appear to be in any pain, and he doesn't seem to have a problem when scratch his post.

This is probably a stupid question, but I'd rather ask a stupid question than assume I'm right.

Love4himies June 19th, 2010 12:25 PM

How split is it? just the tip or down to the quick (where the nail turns pink)?

A cat will shed it's claws similar to how children loose their baby teeth. A new one grows up and the old tip falls off.

14+kitties June 19th, 2010 12:28 PM

A cat sheds it's old nails on occasion just as a snake sheds it's skin. It allows new growth to come in better. If you do not see any sign of blood and the kitty is walking normally then you have nothing to worry about. Clip the nail as you have the rest. It may help it come off easier.
No question is a dumb question. I would rather a new pet owner ask a hundred "dumb questions" then not and do something that may jeopardize the health of the pet.
Welcome to Pets. ca. Pics of the new family member would be wonderful!!

hazelrunpack June 19th, 2010 05:55 PM

Welcome to the board, klassymarie! I'll second that request for pics! :D

catlover2 June 19th, 2010 06:26 PM

Welcome, [I]klassymarie[/I], and thanks for your question.
The new nail coming in forces the old one to split down the middle. When cat's scratch on a scratching post this helps pull off the old nail, but there is a point often where one side of the nail has come free and the other is still attached, so looks like the nail has split. Is that how it looks? If so, it will eventually drop off. Usually around the bottom of a scratching post, you can see these nail fragments.
If the cat has caught a nail, say in a screen, and pulled it off prematurely, it's possible it may have damaged it and there may be some redness or some blood at base of nail. If it doesn't bother him to scratch on the post, it's not likely causing him any pain. Usually this type of injury is self-healing, but if it looks [I]puffy and infected[/I], then take him to the vet.
Cats are pretty fastidious about their feet about washing them, and you might observe them chewing at their nails to get the old nail sheath off. :cat:

klassymarie June 19th, 2010 09:57 PM

okay, thanks! I wasn't all that worried since he wasn't in pain, just figured I'd make sure. And I'd love to post pictures of him, as he's gorgeous, is there somewhere particular I'm supposed to do that?

serenamlambe June 19th, 2010 10:03 PM

Here's the link to the photography section, klassymarie:


Can't wait to see pictures of your little man :D

klassymarie June 19th, 2010 10:17 PM

Okay, it took me a minute to figure out how to get them up, but I got it. Char's pictures can be found [URL=""][/URL]

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