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Limping In Cats & What to Do

Limping In Cats & What to Do

Injuries aren't the only reason for cats limping. In this article, our Oakwood vets share reasons for cat limping and what you should do.

My Cat is Limping

Our pets lack the ability to communicate their feelings or the source of their discomfort. This can present challenges when determining the cause of a cat's limp. Cats may limp for various reasons, such as having an object stuck in their paw, experiencing a sprain, fracture, or even an ingrown claw.

It is important to remember that if your cat is limping, it indicates they are in pain, even if they appear unaffected (cats are adept at concealing their pain).

To avoid potential infections and prevent the condition from worsening, it is always advisable to take your cat to the veterinarian for a routine pet exam if they exhibit a limp. Identifying the underlying cause of the limp may not be straightforward, but the treatment could be as simple as trimming their claws or removing a thorn.

As a responsible pet owner, it is recommended to regularly monitor your pet's health and observe their gait. Vigilantly watch out for signs of swelling, redness, and open wounds. If any of these symptoms are observed, it is crucial to promptly contact a veterinarian for immediate assistance.

Why is My Cat Limping All of A Sudden

Below we have listed a few common reasons why your cat might be limping:

  • Being bitten by a bug or other animal
  • Infected or torn nail
  • Arthritis
  • Something stuck in their paw
  • Sprained or broken leg caused by trauma (being hit, falling, or landing wrong)
  • Walking across a hot surface (stove, hot gravel, or pavement)
  • Ingrown nail/ claw

What To Do With a Limping Cat

If you notice that your cat is limping, it is important to keep them calm and relaxed while you assess their leg. Start by running your fingers gently down the leg, paying attention to any areas that seem sensitive. Look out for signs of open wounds, swelling, redness, and in severe cases, limbs that appear to be hanging unnaturally. Begin at your cat's paw and gradually work your way up.

If you discover something like a thorn, carefully remove it using tweezers and cleanse the area with soap and water. Keep a close eye on the site to prevent any potential infections as the puncture wound heals. In the case of overgrown nails, you can simply trim them as you normally would or have a veterinarian assist you.

If you are unable to determine the cause of the limp and your beloved cat is still limping after 24 hours, it is advisable to schedule an appointment with your vet.

Identifying whether your cat's leg is broken can be challenging as the symptoms may resemble other injuries or sprains (such as swelling, limping, holding the leg in an abnormal position, or a loss of appetite). That's why it's always best to contact your vet for guidance.

While awaiting the veterinary appointment, it is important to limit your cat's movements to prevent further injury or exacerbation of the condition. Keep them in a room with low surfaces or place them in their carrier. Ensure their comfort by providing a cozy place to sleep or a kitty bed, and keep them warm with their favorite blankets. 

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:

  • They have been limping for more than 24 hours
  • There is swelling
  • An open wound
  • The limb is dangling in an odd position
  • You can't identify the cause

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.

If your cat is limping contact our Oakwood vets to book an examination. Our vets can provide treatment to help your pet walk without a limp.

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Oakwood Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Oakwood companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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