Why Do Cats Like Nail Files?

Cats have an almost uncanny attraction to nail files.

It’s no wonder growing up in a household full of cats can be so annoying because cats just like to paw at stuff.

In fact, one cat may get stuck pawing at something for hours.

Fortunately, nail files are available that cats like but don’t require human handling.

See your veterinarian if your cat shows interest in nail files and if your cat doesn’t actually use them, your vet can recommend a nail trimmer or file.

Why Do Cats Like Nail Files?

It’s difficult to pin down any specific reason for cats’ obsession with nail fillings; however, it’s easy to see how some of these factors may come into play.

We can, however, deduce the most likely causes from their reactions to the nail filing.

For those who are fixated upon the act of filing their nails to a fine point, there are several reasons why they might do it.

This is the best we can hope for at present.


The feel of nail files brings some comfort to the cat because they are used to licking their tongue as well.

It’s a strange thought, yet plausible if you think about how cats like to clean themselves as if they were another animal.

It’s more likely that the texture of the file attracts cats to use it with their mouths because it reminds them of their own tongue. Most cats like the smooth texture of the files because it is similar to the softness of their mouths and tongues.

While that thought may seem funny, it’s exactly what your cat is doing.

Your cat may be motivated to lick the nail file because it knows that the result will be pleasurable and comforting, and it has a “reward” attached to it.

When the cat licks the nail file, it is licking off the dust and dirt that is on it.

Mineral deficiency

In addition to the fact that most cats love the taste of nail files, many will eventually grow out of the urge to chew them.

In certain cases, cats’ bodies may be deficient in magnesium and phosphorus and they need more of this mineral in their diets.

If this is the case with your pet, ask your veterinarian about the possibility of a mineral supplement being given regularly.

Iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus may all be lacking in your cat’s diet.

These minerals may be hidden by large amounts of protein or fat in commercial foods; they may be masked by regular use of dewormers; or they may be improperly balanced in an unbalanced food.

If your cat’s water contains chlorine or fluoride (which it does if it’s made from city or well water) his need for minerals will be even greater than it is when he’s drinking from a tap.

The majority of cats will lick, chew, or play with nail files following filing.

While the majority of cats like the taste of nail files, there might be a more severe explanation, such as a mineral deficit. When cats’ bodies are deficient in certain minerals, they may begin to want them.

Nail dust contains traces of zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are often found in fingernails. Most cats will lick, chew or play with nail files.

As though trying to spread their fragrance, they may rub their fur against your freshly shorn fingers; they may also lick your hands as if trying to taste the fresh blood.

Others may stomp on or swat the file around to show their displeasure with your new manicure.

They may even nibble and munch at their own nails if they are missing some of their essential minerals.

After you file your nails, some cats may continue to behave strangely.

Its taste

Cats are attracted to nail files for the chance to get at that flavorful, satisfying and calming substance.

Another reason why cats like nail files are because the claws are sharp and tearing into carpet or upholstery can seem soothing. The scratching motion helps to wear down typically sharp claws and may help cats with joint issues.

Scratching Sensation

In the wild, cats used to file their nails on tree bark. House cats have the same need to scratch their nails at any time.

When it comes to scratching sensation (or any other discomfort) we often allow our cats to do whatever they like without any care at all.

This surely may not be a good idea. While scratching sensation is one of the reason why cats like nail files, the nail safety is definitely a concern for all pet owners.

Nail File Injury As you should know by now, nail files are not designed for humans.

As a result, we purchase scratching posts, cat trees, and other such items.

While scratching its nails, the cat needs the nail file not to be sharp or dangerous.

Because scratching on the nail files can lead to bleeding and infections.

First Instal the File on the FingerMarkThe position of the file is important. Place it on the back of your hand and rest your palm and your index fingers on the file.

Get your cat to sit on your palm and let him/her smell the nail file. The cat’s reaction will tell you whether the file is suitable or not.

If the cat sniffs it or licks it after a run on the nail file, the nail file must be cleaned thoroughly until there is no trace of foreign substance left on the surface.

The Smell Of the Nail Files

Cats have a better sense of smell than we do and are more likely to detect odors and tastes in things we humans might miss or ignore.

Cats may also like the smell of certain adhesives and solvents used in glues and polishes that will make them less inclined to scratch other items that contain similar smells or tastes.

Healthy cats only occasionally scratch or chew on objects.

A cat who regularly scratches or chews on objects is exhibiting behavioral signals that should be addressed.

Scratching and chewing behavior is a normal behavior for cats, but it can become a problem if your cat is hurting itself or destroying your belongings.

Nail files may contain traces of a closely related odor that reminds cats of bones that they use to sharpen their claws; this odor may be why cats often like nail files.

Fish glue adhesives, which cats may like the scent of. Your cat may be attracted to the smell of the nail file or emery board, but the rough surface can cause damage if you file your cat’s nails too aggressively.

It may be due to instinct.

Nail files may appeal to cats because they are similar to their instinct of…

Use nail clippers to trim the nails, making sure you don’t cut into the pink, fleshy part. If you have trouble clipping the nails, get the help of your vet or groomer.

If you have trouble clipping the nails, get the help of your vet or groomer. In any case, dirt and other debris have accumulated on the nails and you’re going to remove them whether you want to or not.

Cats may be attracted to nail files because they serve the same purpose as their natural scratch posts do.

Once cats realize nail files can be used as a scratching post, they may use them to sharpen their claws when they don’t have access to their natural scratching posts.

Why Does Your Cat Like Nail Dust?

Because of a mineral deficiency in your cat’s body or in his or her own teeth or gums as a result of an injury or ailment, your cat might seek zinc or iron from an external source.

Your vet can check your cat’s body for mineral deficiencies and prescribe supplements if necessary.

Even if most felines appreciate the taste or smell of nail dust, some cats may develop a craving for it and develop behavior problems or allergies as a result.

If you suspect your cat has a mineral deficiency, consult your vet as soon as possible.

Cats may develop to want nail dust more than usual if they lack calcium or magnesium in their diets or if they’ve been exposed to smoke or smog.

Since inhalation of nail dust may bring in harmful toxins that can lead to disease in cats’ lungs and kidneys, it’s best to not allow your cat access to it. If your cat spends a lot of time grooming or licking his paws, he probably enjoys the scent that’s on nail dust.

Several minerals present in fingernails may be found at higher concentrations in the cat’s blood serum than in its blood plasma.

If you’ve ever wondered why certain cats like the smell of nail polish remover or nail dust, you may want to consult your vet about your cat’s mineral deficiency or possible thyroid problems.

Cats have been known to rub their faces and bodies against freshly-polished nails; this is considered a sign of affection and grooming in cats.

Are Nail Files Safe For Cats?

Cats may use nail files to remove unwanted hair.

As you might imagine, cat hair can pose problems when it comes to cleaning your home properly and keeping your rugs and upholstery clean.

A cat hair remover can help remove this unwanted hair, although a nail file also can be used for this purpose.

Some cats like to scratch certain areas of the house more than others. Cats may also like to scratch certain surfaces more than others.

You can file your kitty’s nails with success if you can soothe his anxiety over having your fingernails near him.

Using an emery board and a nail file may not be the most enjoyable task for you or for your cat.

Even if you don’t clip your cat’s nails as often as he should, he’ll develop long claws that are difficult and uncomfortable for him to handle.

Cats can suffer from a variety of ailments that compromise their health. One common ailment involves their nails and claws growing too long or becoming ragged and sharp.

Filing a cat’s nails is a simple and quick process that can prevent a variety of issues from developing in your cat’s paws and feet.

Even while using a nail file on your cat won’t pose any risk to her health, it’s a process that can be extremely tedious and time-consuming to accomplish.

Discuss this with your veterinarian to find out what he feels should be done about your cat’s claws.

A lot of cats hate having their nails cut, therefore they will not appreciate your attempts to file their claws.

When it comes to safety, a nail file is safe for most cats.

In contrast, the process for cutting your own fingernails is much faster and easier.

Attempting to cut a cat’s claws is similar to trying to cut hot butter or trying to slice through firm clay.

Also Read: Why Does Your Cat Scratch Your Bed?


Cats prefer nail files for the same reasons they enjoy other objects in their environment – they mark their territory by rubbing against things.

Your pet may scratch you, your furniture or your drapes while scratching their nails.

Trim your pet’s nails on a regular basis to prevent scratching, and make sure the trimming tools you use are sharp and clean to avoid injury.

When you use your nail file on your pet, make sure you’re using the rounded tip to avoid scratching their skin.

However, they do not seem to be making an emotional connection such as feeling calm or happy when you trim their nails.

Trimming your pet’s nails with a proper tool is safer than using a human instrument on your pet. Using human instruments such as scissors or pliers can chip or break your pet’s nails; causing pain or infection.

Your veterinarian or pet groomer may trim your pet’s nails for you.