The nails of the cat are very narrow, tapered, and strongly curved. They can be completely retracted into the shaft so that the cat can walk without making a sound. Retracting the nails into a shaft also prevents the nails from becoming blunt due to contact with the surface. Sharp nails are essential for climbing, fighting, and catching prey.
Cats generally have five claws on their front legs and four claws on their hind legs. In cats, there is an ancient mutation, polydactyl, which can cause more toes with corresponding claws.