It doesn't matter if you have an indoor or outdoor cat, they are so many different ways your cat can injure their paws and legs and end up limping. Injuries aren't the only cause of limping in cats. Our Suffolk County vets explain a few of the common reasons you might find your cat limping, and what you can do.
Why Is My Cat Limping All Of A Sudden
The hardest part of pet ownership is seeing them in pain. Our furry friends can't tell us exactly how they are feeling, or what part of their body hurts, so deciphering why your cat is limping can be difficult. Cats can limp for many reasons whether they are limping from their back leg, or limping from their front legs such as getting something stuck in their paw, a sprain, a break, or even an ingrown claw.
Keep in mind, if your cat is limping then they are in pain, even if they're not showing any other visible signs.
It's always best to take your cat to the vet if they have a limp in order to avoid the possibility of infection and to help keep their condition from deteriorating. The cause of your cats limp might not be easy to spot but the treatment could be as simple as trimming their claws or pulling out a thorn.
That said, if you're a pet parent it's a good idea to monitor your animal's health regularly, and watching how they walk is a part of that. Always keep an eye out for swelling, redness, and open wounds. If you see any of these call a vet immediately.
Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Limping
Below we have listed a few common reasons why your cat might be limping:
- Something stuck in their paw
- Infected or torn nail
- Ingrown nail/ claw
- Being bitten by a bug or other animal
- Walking across a hot surface (stove, hot gravel, or pavement)
- 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 your cat limping, make sure to keep them calm and relaxed while you check their legs and paws. Run your fingers down the site watching and feeling for any sensitive areas and keeping an eye out for open wounds, swelling, redness, and in extreme cases dangling limbs. Start at your kitty's paw and work your way up.
If it is something such as a thorn gently pull the thorn out with tweezers and clean the area with soap and water. Be sure to keep an eye on the area to make sure they don't develop an infection as the puncture wound heals. If overgrown nails are the issue simply trim your cat's nails as usual (or have it done by your vet).
If you are unable to figure out the cause of the limp and your beloved kitty is still limping after 24 hours make an appointment with your vet.
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 you wait for your vet appointment, you'll need to stop your cat from moving too much to reduce the risk of further injury. To do this, you can keep them contained in a room with low surfaces, or put them in a carrier. Ensure they are comfortable by providing a soft place to sleep and keep them warm with their favorite blankets. Continue to monitor them.
When Should I Take My Cat to The Vet For Limping
It is always a good idea to take your cat to the vet for limping to prevent infection or get a proper diagnosis. If any of the following situations apply to your cat make an appointment with your vet:
- An open wound
- The limb is dangling in an odd position
- There is swelling
- You can't identify the cause
- They have been limping for more than 24 hours
Don't wait 24 hours if there is a visible cause such as bleeding, swelling or the limb is hanging in a strange way, call your vet immediately to prevent infection or a worsening condition. You should also call your vet if you do not know how to handle the situation, your vet will be able to give you advice on the actions you should take next.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.