Domestic Cat Claw Protractile Claw
Protractile Cat Claws

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Protractile Claw
Claw that can be protracted (extended) from its protective sheath.
Cats’ claws are protractile, but often (incorrectly) described as retractile. At rest, the claw is retracted; muscular action (contraction) protracts the claw out of, rather than retracts it into, its sheath.
When the muscles in the toe are relaxed, the claw is sheathed. When the muscles are contracted, the ligament attached to the claw forces it out of the sheath.
When claws are not protracted, they will usually not register.
Also known as protractible.
Cf. retractile claw