For the most part, the biting and chewing of claws is a perfectly normal behavior in cats, and if you notice your cat doing this, there is usually nothing to be overly concerned about. Cats are fastidious groomers, constantly licking and cleaning themselves, and chewing their nails is just one other aspect of this practice of self-grooming. They may chew on their nails to shorten them and chew and lick around them to clean any loose dirt or debris.
The 3 Tips if Your Cat Bites Their Nails
Routine chewing, licking, and pulling on and around the claws are a part of your cat’s normal self-grooming habit, and since their paws are in constant contact with the floor, they are prone to getting dirt, hair, dust, and debris stuck around them. Sometimes licking may not be enough to dislodge these things, and you may notice your cat pulling or tugging at their claws to free up the stuck debris.
Sometimes, normal self-grooming may morph into obsessive behavior, manifesting in excessive licking, scratching, and claw-chewing. This is usually the result of stress, boredom, or loneliness, and your cat may be using chewing their paws as a mechanism for self-soothing. Just like humans who bite their nails when anxious or stressed, the same symptoms may manifest in anxious felines. This stress could be caused by something as simple as wanting to go outside or more obvious reasons, like a new pet in the home or moving to a new house.
Lastly, your cat’s nail-biting may have a physical case, either an injury or an underlying medical condition. They may have cut themselves somewhere on their paw pad, injured a toe, or broken a claw, and this is causing them discomfort. Conversely, it may have been excessive pulling and chewing that caused the injury itself! You’ll need to closely inspect each of your cat’s paws and check for any signs of injury, and they may need to go for a checkup with your vet. If there are no outward signs of injury, there may be an underlying medical cause.