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Common Injury in Kittens – Torn Claws

By Colleen Williams
published: May 19, 2016 - updated: April 13, 2022 • 2 min. read
torn claw

Key Takeaways

  • Kittens’ claws get torn in curtains, carpets, and toys.
  • Torn claws can be a problem if the wound becomes infected.
  • Symptoms are excessively licking one paw or having blood or pus coming from the wound.
  • Vets may treat seriously torn paws with stitches and antibiotics.
  • Prevent torn paws by trimming claws about once per month.

Kittens are naturally very feisty and playful, but also delicate and young. This can often lead to minor but painful injuries like torn or ripped claws. This ailment isn’t very serious, but complications can arise if the wound gets infected.

Causes of a torn claw

Claws can get caught or tangled in carpets, curtains, slipcovers, or toys. Kittens’ claws especially are fragile yet sharp. Keeping your kitten’s claws trimmed is one way to avoid torn claws. Most claws will grow back on their own, but keep an eye on your kittens’ paws as claws can grow in crooked and become ingrown. Also watch for signs of infection, as mentioned below.



If your kitten is limping slightly or excessively licking one paw, they could have a torn claw. Looking directly at the affected paw, if there is any pus or blood seeping from the wound or it appears swollen, make an appointment with your vet – these are signs of infection.

Treatment for torn cat claws

Torn claws that aren’t too severe will regrow on their own as long as they don’t become infected. Protective booties and socks can be purchased at pet supply stores, although you can make your own at home:

  1. Gently clean the wound once or twice a day with warm water.
  2. If the paw is bleeding after the initial tear, applying a small amount of cornstarch or flour to the site can stop it.
  3. If your kitten won’t leave the wound alone, you can make a temporary bandage using a sock and some medical tape. Slide the sock on your cat’s affected leg and use tape to ensure it stays in place. If your kitten stubbornly refuses to let the wound heal, consider purchasing a plastic cone collar, available at pet supply stores. Animal-safe antiseptic sprays are also available if your pet appears to be in pain.
  4. If bleeding is heavy or hasn’t eased up after a day or two, see a vet. Wounds that discharge pus and appear swollen have most likely become infected – this can lead to serious complications, so seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

Veterinary treatment for infected or severely torn claws involves antibiotics or stitches to close the wound. Sometimes a temporary bandage will be applied to prevent the infection from worsening.


Keep your kittens’ claws trimmed regularly – about once every month, as needed. Provide scratching posts if you notice your pet kneading or clawing at carpets or curtains. Avoid having carpets with loose weave until your kitten is fully used to using a scratching post.

Torn claws are a relatively common and uncomplicated ailment among kittens. However, if they become infected, it can put your kitten in a lot of pain. Try and keep the wound clean, applying an at-home temporary bandage. Watch the wound carefully for signs of infection and make an appointment with your vet if it hasn’t healed within a week.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical diagnosis, condition, or treatment options.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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