Here, our Thornton vets explain some of the reasons that your cat may be limping, when you should take your feline friend into the vet and what symptoms to look out for of underlying conditions.
My Cat is Limping
Cats may limp for a wide variety of reasons, whether they are limping on their front leg or their back leg. These can include getting something stuck in their pet, an ingrown claw, a sprain or a broken bone. If you notice that your cat is limping, it is always best to bring them into your vet in order to prevent infection and help to stop their condition from growing worse. The causes of a limp may not always be visible to the naked eye, but sometimes treatment can be as simple as pulling a thorn from their paw or trimming their claws.
It's important that you remember that if your cat is limping, it is because they are experiencing pain, even if they don't look like it. Cats are generally quite good at hiding their pain. Always keep an eye out for any swelling, redness, and open wounds if you notice that you cat is limping. If you see any of these, call your vet as soon as possible.
Why is My Cat Limping?
Below, there is a list of common reasons why your cat may be limping:
- Something stuck in their paw
- Infected or torn nail
- Walking across a hot surface (stove, hot gravel, or pavement)
- Ingrown nail/ claw
- Being bitten by a bug or other animal
- Sprained or broken leg caused by trauma (being hit, falling, or landing wrong)
What Should I Do if My Cat is Limping?
If you notice that your cat has started limping, wait for them to calm down and relax before you assess their leg. When they have calmed down, run your fingers down the their leg and around any obvious problem areas to look for sensitivity, swelling, redness, dangling limbs or open wounds. When asses your cat's leg in this way, start at their paw and work your way up.
If the cause of your cat's limp is something like claws that have grown too long or thorns sticking into your cat's paw, gently pull the thorn out with tweezers or cut their nails as usual. If you can't sort out what is causing your cat's milp and they are continuing to do so after 24 hours, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
It could be hard to tell if your cat's leg is broken because the symptoms could mirror other injuries or a sprain (swelling, a limp, leg being held in an odd position, lack of appetite) which is why it's always best to call your vet.
While waiting for a veterinary appointment, you should limit your cat's movements as much as possible to keep them from causing themselves further injury or making things worse. Do so by keeping them in a room with low surfaces or by placing them in their carrier. Make sure you cat is as comfortable as possible by providing them with a kitty bed or another comfortable place to sleep and stay warm. Continue to monitor their condition.
Should I take My Cat to The Vet For Limping?
If you notice limping in your cat, it's nearly always a good idea to bring them into the vet in order to get a proper diagnosis and healpo to prevent health issues like infections from developing. If any of the following is true for your cat, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
- There is swelling
- You can't identify the cause
- An open wound
- The limb is dangling in an odd position
- They have been limping for more than 24 hours
If there is a visible cause of the limp like bleeding, swelling or a limb hanging in a strange way, don't wait the 24 hours. Call your vet as soon as possible to help prevent the condition from worsening. You should also call your vet if you don't know how to handle to situation. They will be able to give you guidance on what action to take to help your cat.