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What should I do if my cat is limping?

Whether your cat is an indoor cat or an outdoor adventurer there are a lot of ways that your cat could injure a leg or paw and wind up limping. But injuries aren't the only reason for cat limping. Here, our Pflugerville vets share a few common reasons for limping in cats and what you should do.

Why is my cat limping all of a sudden?

Our pets cannot tell us how they are feeling or what hurts, making it difficult to determine why your cat is limping. Cats can limp for a variety of reasons, including a foreign object in their paw, a sprain, a break, or even an ingrown claw.

It's always best to take your cat to the vet if they have a limp to avoid the possibility of infection and to help keep its condition from worsening. The cause of your cat's 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.

Why is my cat limping but not in pain?

Remember, if your cat is limping it's a sign that they are experiencing pain. Cats can be very good at hiding their pain and hiding away.

Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Limping

Here we have listed a few common reasons why your cat might be limping, and things that should be watched out for:

  • 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
  • Being bitten by a bug or other animal
  • Infected or torn nail
  • Arthritis

What To Do About a Limping Cat

If your cat is limping, keep them calm and relaxed as you assess their back and front legs. Run your fingers down the side 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 cat'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 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 you are unable to figure out the cause of the limp and your beloved cat 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 cat's veterinary appointment, you must restrict their movement to prevent them from aggravating or aggravating their injury. Keep them in a room with low surfaces, or place them in their transporter. Ensure their comfort by providing them with a cozy sleeping area/cat bed and keeping them warm with their favorite blankets. Maintain vigilance over 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:

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

Call your veterinarian immediately if there is a visible cause, such as bleeding, swelling, or an abnormally dangling limb, to prevent infection or a worsening of the condition. If you are unsure of how to handle the situation, you should also contact your veterinarian; he or she will be able to provide you with guidance on the next steps to take.

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 us to book an examination. Our vets can diagnose the cause of your cat's limp and provide effective treatments to help get your cat walking normally again. 

New Patients Welcome

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

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