Why Does My Cat Bite Her Nails

You’ve seen it probably a lot more than you can remember. Your cat biting her nails. You probably already know that when humans bite their nails, there are several possible reasons for that activity. Not all of them are good. Maybe this is why you are asking yourself, why does my cat bite her nails?

In this article, we will look at the reasons why cats engage in this behavior and the things you can do to try to curb the nail biting.

Why Does My Cat Bite Her Nails?

Cats will pull, bite, and chew at their nails from time to time. It is a common activity that consumes time for most cats sometime during a normal day. Typically, the nail biting is nothing to be concerned about. However, there are other reasons why your cat may be biting or chewing its nails that are more of an indication of something more serious going on in your cat’s life.

The nail biting is just the tip of the iceberg in these instances. This means you will have to take some time and put effort into trying to identify what is causing your cat to bite, chew or pull its nails. Once you can find the source of the problem, you will have to find a solution.

The Top Three Reasons Why Cats Chew Nails

There are three primary reasons why cats will gnaw on their nails. Here is a look at what those are:



If you have spent much time around cats, you will know that they take personal grooming very seriously. So much so, that the average cat spends a good portion of each day taking care of its appearance. Part of the grooming ritual includes cleaning their paws and claws.

It is normal for a cat to collect debris, dirt, and even cat litter, on their paws and in their nails. So, when your cat is grooming, cleaning their paw pads and nails are just a natural part of the daily grooming activity.


Over-grooming is an abnormal behavior where cats will chew on nails when they are already short. It is usually a sign that the cat is dealing with stress of some kind. Other signs of over-grooming may include wool sucking, a lack of activity, a loss of appetite, hiding in very small spaces, aggressiveness, excessive vocalization, Pica, or hair pulling.

Not all of these are signs of stress, either. Sometimes cats do these things because they are depressed, do not receive enough attention, have issues with other pets living in the same household, do not have enough playtime or exercise, or are just bored.

Medical Issues

medical issues

There are bacterial and fungal infections that can impact your cat’s health to where they will chew on their nails. Pemphigus is a common genetic autoimmune disease in cats. It concentrates on skin resulting in irritations that cats will suffer from around their paws, behind their ears and on their face.

Ringworm also causes skin irritation, typically around the paws of a cat. Other medical issues that may lead to nail biting include hormonal changes as your cat ages, and even some medications that will harden nails which causes cats to chew on them for relief.

When To Take Your Cat To The Vet

when to take your cat to the vet

Unless you are certain that your cat is chewing on its nails as part of a regular grooming routine, the best way to determine what is happening to your cat is to schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian. The vet will be able to conduct a proper examination and correct diagnosis on what the problem is that has got your cat so interested in chewing, biting, or pulling their nails.

Plus, your vet will be able to proscribe the proper remedy that will help your cat to get over whatever it is that is causing the problem. If you are not sure whether your cat is suffering from a serious issue or just likes to add nail biting to his or her grooming schedule, there are two things you can do the help you decided whether or not to call the vet.

Track How Often Your Cat Engages In This Behaviour

One way to narrow down if your cat is chewing nails more often than normal is to monitor how often you see him or her doing this activity. If you notice a sharp increase in biting or chewing, there may be something other than grooming going on.

Take A Hard Look At Your Cat’s Nails

take a hard look at your cat's nails

Another tell-tale sign is the length and condition of your cat’s nails. To do this you will have to take time to closely examine the nails. If they appear to be at a healthy length, then your cat is most likely just grooming.

If the nails are a little frayed and show signs of regular wear, this should signal to you that your cat is just taking care of normal grooming activity.

How You Can Help Your Cat

Why does my cat bite her nails? Well, by now, you should have a better idea of the possibilities that may contribute to your cat biting her nails. There are things you can do to help your cat, which may or may not curb the activity or restrict it to just a grooming activity.

It really depends on the personality of your cat and the setting it is living within. However, there are a few tips that could be of assistance in dealing with this situation. They include the following:

Trim Your Cat’s Nails Regularly

trim your cat's nails regularly

Your cat is going to groom itself whenever the mood strikes. But you can help keep his or her nails in good condition by choosing a day once a month or every two months where you will trim them. Be sure to purchase proper trimmers from your local pet store and read up on how to do the job correctly.

Once your cat gets used to you doing this for it, the task will be something your cat will look forward to you doing when it is time.

Buy A Scratching Post

buy a scratching post

A scratching post is a great alternative to trimming your cat’s nails. That is because the scratching post will help your cat to naturally wear down their nails. For cats that suffer from stress, a scratching post is good therapy as well.

Provide Mental Stimulation

provide mental stimulation

A bored cat often becomes a stressed cat. Stressed cats get into trouble or harm themselves through over-grooming. One effective tool you can employ to keep your cat happy and stress free is to incorporate a set amount of time daily for playtime. Playtime gives your cat some exercise and will help them to wear down any anxiety or pent-up energy.

Eliminate The Stress

eliminate the stress

By maintaining a structured routine around the house, you can help to keep your kitty calm. Too much activity or changes within the household can stress out a cat. When you follow a routine that includes regular mealtimes, playtime and bedtime, there are no big surprises and your cat can relax.

In Conclusion

If you have been asking yourself, why does my cat bite her nails? You should now have a better understanding of what may be the cause of this activity. By observing your cat daily, you should learn the signs that may indicate that the chewing activity may be because of something other than grooming.

The tips listed above will help you to keep your cat well-groomed and healthy, happy, and stress free!