Sphynx Sphinx Cat Paw and Claws
Sphynx Cat Paw and Claws

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Retractable Claws
Claws that can be retracted (drawn back) into their protective sheaths.
Cats’ claws are protractile, but often (incorrectly) described as retractable. At rest, the claw is retracted; muscular action (contraction) protracts the claw out of, rather than retracts it into, its sheath.
Semi-retractile claws still visible when not protracted. They are not completely enclosed in a sheath, often because the sheath is not large enough or is non-existent. (e.g. cheetahs)
The protective sheath is also known as pocket or socket.
When claws are retracted, they will usually not register.
Cf. protractile claws