It takes energy for a cat to extend its claws. A retracted claw is a relaxed state in which the claw is withdrawn into the paw. When pursuing prey, muscles in the feet cause the claw to protract and thus be exposed. This anatomical adaptation serves to protect the claw from damage or being worn down. The African cheetah and South Asian fishing cat are notable exceptions to this form of claw morphology typically found in cat species. In direct contrast to the foot of a lion or leopard, a cheetah’s claw is non-retractable, and results in a paw with a more “dog-like” appearance.
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