Today, our Woburn veterinarians will discuss various causes of limping in cats and provide guidance on identifying when immediate veterinary care may be necessary.
My Cat is Limping
Understanding the cause of your cat's limp can be challenging since our pets cannot communicate their pain to us. Limping in cats can stem from various reasons, including issues like ingrown claws, sprains, or cuts.
It's important to remember that a limp indicates your cat is in pain, even if there are no other visible symptoms. Consequently, it is advisable to take your cat to the vet for a wellness exam when they exhibit a limp. This helps prevent the potential risk of infection and ensures the condition does not worsen. While identifying the exact cause of your cat's limp may not be straightforward, the treatment could be as simple as trimming their claws or removing a thorn. Seeking professional veterinary care can help determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment for your feline companion.
Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Limping
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
- Spinal injuries, such as a slipped disk
- 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 About a Limping Cat
If your cat is limping keep them calm and relaxed as you assess their leg. Gently run your fingers down their leg, looking for cuts, swelling, redness, broken bones, and any notable points of pain or discomfort. Start at your kitty's paw and work your way up.
If the cause of the limping is something like a stuck 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 ensure that an infection doesn't take hold 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 your cat is experiencing a minor limp that persists for 24 hours, or cannot bear any weight on their leg at all (regardless of how long it's been), you should bring your cat to the vet to be assessed. Injuries of the spine or broken legs require immediate medical attention.
While waiting for your veterinary appointment, you should limit your cat's movements to keep them from causing further injury or making it worse. Do this by keeping them in a room with low surfaces, or putting them in their carrier. Make sure they are comfortable by providing them with a comfy place to sleep and keeping them warm with their favorite blankets. Continue to monitor their situation.
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 or excessive bleeding
- The limb is dangling in an odd position
- They are unable to walk
- You can't identify the cause
- They have been limping for more than 24 hours
- There is swelling
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.