Cats retract their claws in order to keep them sharp for catching mice and other prey.  A cat has a special movable joint at the end of its toes that enables the claws to move in and out.  The claws move out when they are needed.  When not in use, the cat conceals its claws in little sheaths on its toes and walks softly on the pads of its feet.  Claws that can be pulled back so that the sharp points are protected are called retractile claws.  Cats sharpen their claws by raking them on furniture and free trunks to remove any ragged edged on the claws.–Dick Rogers

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