Here, our Avon veterinary team speaks about the reasons why your cat may be limping, when you should bring them into your vet and symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Your cat may be limping on the front or back legs for many different reasons. These can range from getting something stuck in their paw to a break, sprain or even an ingrown claw. It is generally best to bring your cat into your vet if they have a limp in order to avoid infection and to keep their condition from growing worse. The causes here may not always be visible to their eyes, however, first aid can be as simple as trimming their claws or pulling a thorn from their paw.
Remember, even if your can is limping but not showing pain, they are feeling uncomfortable. Cats are exceptional at hiding their pain and discomfort. Always keep an eye out for swelling, redness, and open wounds. If you see any of these call a vet immediately.
Why is My Cat Limping?
Below we have listed the common reasons why your cat might be limping:
- Something stuck in their paw
- Walking across a hot surface (stove, hot gravel, or pavement)
- Ingrown nail/ claw
- Infected or torn nail
- 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 Suddenly?
If your cat is limping, it's important that you wait for them to calm down before you take any action or try to access their leg.
When your cat has had some time to calm down after suddenly starting to limp, assess their paw carefully by running your fingers down the site for any sensitive areas and keep an eye out for any potential causes of their limping. This can include open wounds, redness, dangling limbs and swelling. Start at their paw and work your way up their leg.
If it is something such as a thorn or nails that are too long just gently pull the thorn out with tweezers or cut their 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 may be difficult to tell if your cat's leg is broken because their symptoms could mirror other injuries or a sprain (this includes a limp, swelling, a leg being held in an odd position or a lack of appetite), Because of this, if your suspect a broken limb (or any other injury), contact your vet as soon as possible.
While waiting for your veterinary appointment, you have to 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/kitty bed and keep them warm with their favorite blankets. Continue to monitor their situation.
When Should I Take My Cat to The Vet For Limping?
It's almost always a good idea to bring your cat to the vet for limping or to prevent infection. If any of the following situations apply to your cat, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible:
- There is swelling
- An open wound
- You can't identify the cause
- The limb is dangling in an odd position
- They have been limping for more than 24 hours
Don't wait long if there is a visible cause of your cat's limping like bleeding or swelling. Call a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening or developing into an infection. You should also call your vet if you don't know how to handle a given situation. They will be able to give you advice on next steps.