Why do cats have claws?

Cats have claws primarily for three reasons: hunting, climbing, and self-defense.

1. **Hunting**: In the wild, cats use their claws to catch and hold onto prey. The claws help them to grip their prey tightly and prevent it from escaping.

2. **Climbing**: Cats also use their claws for climbing trees and other high places. The claws provide grip and stability, allowing cats to ascend and descend vertical surfaces quickly and efficiently.

3. **Self-defense**: In times of danger, cats can use their claws as a means of self-defense against predators or rival cats. They can swipe or scratch with their claws to protect themselves.

It's also worth noting that cats use their claws for scratching surfaces, which is a form of communication and a way to mark territory. Scratching helps to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, keeping them sharp and healthy. Additionally, the act of scratching releases scent markers from glands in the cat's paws, helping them establish their presence to other cats.

Lastly, cats' claws are retractable, meaning they can extend and retract their claws as needed. This helps to prevent unnecessary wear and damage when they're not in use.