Can Siamese Cats Retract Their Claws?


Yes, Siamese cats can retract their claws! In fact, all breeds of domestic cats can retract their claws; even some big cats like lions and tigers also have the ability to do so. 

That being said, Siamese cats’ claws don’t retract all the way; therefore, there will always be a tiny bit of claw peaking out through their paws. 

I often hear little tappy taps across the kitchen floor as both Batman and Robyn make their way through the house. However, their claws are not always extended, and if your Siamese kitties are, it may point to an underlying problem. 


Why do cats have retractable claws?

Believe it or not, cats were not gifted with retractable claws just to scratch up your favorite armchair or play tic tac toe on your arm. There are actually quite a few reasons why Siamese cats can extend their claws at any given time.

1. Hunting

The main reason kitty cats have sharp claws is that they need them for hunting. Since cats are carnivores, they need to eat other animals to survive. 

Of course, if they’re indoor domestic cats, chances are they won’t have to hunt for their dinner. But in the wild, they would have used their sharp claws to grab hold of their prey and keep them within their grip

Retracting their claws also allows them to stalk their prey almost silently. There is more chance their prey will hear them coming if they’re running towards them with claws tapping on the floor like a little tap dancer. 

2. Climbing

Ever noticed that cats love climbing trees? Well, they would be able to do that without the use of their claws. They are perfectly designed to grip the tree bark, making it super quick and easy for them to ascent. They need to do this in order to escape from potential predators. 

However, if you’re thinking, “If cats are such good climbers, why do they always get stuck in trees?!” I was also curious as to why this was, so after a little google, I found out that their claws curve backward, making it hard for them to climb down. This is why they have to go down butt-first!

3. Self Defence

Since they’re more than likely not trained in the art of karate, Siamese cats have to find other ways to defend themselves. This is where their sharp and pointy claws come in. If pursued or scared by a predator, they can use their claws to say, “Back off!”

This is one of the many, many reasons you should never declaw your cat. Not only is it incredibly painful and traumatic for them, but it also leaves them completely defenseless if they ever escaped outside and came across a wild animal. They wouldn’t even be able to climb a tree to escape!


Can all cats retract their claws?

Cheetahs are the only species of cat that are not able to retract their claws. Since they’re the fastest land animal in the world, they don’t really need to stalk their prey beforehand; they just need to move quickly. Always having their claws provides traction when they run.


Do cats know when to not use their claws?

Not all cats know that using their claws is bad. So, If your Siamese doesn’t know what they are doing is wrong, how will they change?

Let your kitty know that sometimes, their claws arent a suitable accessory. If your Siamese goes to swipe you with her claws out, simply ignore her and walk away!

It’s also a good to re-think playtime aswell. For cats, playtime is fun because they see it through a hunter’s eyes; hence, why their claws come out during play. 

Of course, you’re not their next catch, and you don’t want to be scratched. A way that I found works is to let your Siamese know that they’ve hurt you. 

Once their claw catches you, give a loud cry in pain, and they’re guaranteed to be surprised. If they continue to do it, simply walk away, coming back only when they have calmed down. If they do it one more time, gather all their toys and inform them that playtime is over.

They’ll soon realize they have done something wrong. 


Why can’t my cat retract its claws?

If your cat struggles to retract its claws, this can cause them a huge amount of discomfort. There are a few reasons why their claws may always be out:

1. Old Age

Cats learn how to retract their claws at around four weeks of age. As they get older and their memories slowly dwindle, they may forget about this habit completely. They may lose the ability to retract their claws altogether, and as they become less mobile, they will wear down their claws less and less. 

This can cause a handful of problems for your old-age pensioner. Not only will their claws catch on the carpet, in the curtains, on clothes, etc., they may also start to curl up and break the paw pad. 

Thus, you may need to lend a helping paw when they age by trimming their nails for them. 

2. Infection or Disease

Your Siamese may be having a hard time retracting their claws due to bacteria, infection, or disease. Since their paws spend a reasonable amount of time on the floor, it’s only natural they will be exposed to certain bacterias. 

However, if you catch the infection fast, these conditions can easily be treated with antibiotics. 

3. Trauma

The leading cause for cats not being able to retract their claws is trauma. This may happen if their claws get trapped indoors if they have fights with other cats, or due to road accidents. 

Frostbite and chemical burns can also cause trauma. 

Other reasons your Siamese isn’t retracting their claws include:

  • They are/feel like playing
  • They lack socialization as kittens
  • When they are sick
  • If they feel threatened or insecure

How do I make my Siamese cat’s claws less sharp?

If your Siamese isn’t retracting their claws due to a lack of socialization rather than a medical condition, there are a few things you can do make their claws less sharp.

1. Get A Cat Scratcher 

I can’t stress this point enough, get your Siamese a cat scratcher! Not only will this keep their claws in check, but it’ll also stop them from scratching your furniture to bits. 

If there’s a specific place in the house that your cat likes to scratch, cover it with tinfoil and place the cat scratcher next to it. This will tell them “here, not there.” 

There is actually an art to buying the perfect cat scratcher, and I myself have gone through many trying to find Batman and Robyn the perfect one. 

If you’re in the market for a new scratcher, follow these guidelines:

  • The scratching post should be two inches taller than your Siamese when they stretch out.
  • The post should be stable enough to have your Siamese leaping and climbing on it without moving. One that sways and rocks will just put them off it altogether. The same goes for door-hanging scratchers; your Siamese knows that doors move, so they won’t use them. 
  • If your Siamese enjoys scratching the side of your couch, get a vertical scratcher. If they enjoy scratching your chairs cushions, get a horizontal one. If you can, get one that has both.

2. Trim Their Nails

If your Siamese cat’s nails are too long, they won’t be able to retract them. If they’re not using their scratching post or going outside, it’s up to you to keep their nails in check.

When I suggest trimming their nails at home, believe me, I know it’s not an easy task. Batman absolutely hates getting his nails cut, so I have to take him to a professional groomer half the time. He is, however, getting better with patience from both our and his side!

3. Ask Your Vet For Advice

If all else fails, give your vet a call. They may be able to provide you with a few tips on how you can help control the situation. If your Siamese isn’t retracting their claws at all, you should definitely call your vet.

Should my cat retract its claws?

Unless you’ve got a cheetah at home, your cat’s nails should never fully be out all of the time. Since their nails are full of nerves, so if they happen to get trapped in something, they can suffer trauma and a whole amount of pain.

Unless your cat is old (as it is normal for cats to forget how to retract their nails with age), you should contact your vet for advice. It could be down to a lack of socialization when young or due to infection and disease. 

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