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Why Is My Cat Limping?

Our Ypsilanti vets will explain the reasons why your cat may be limping when to take your feline friend to the vet, and what symptoms to look out for underlying conditions.

My Cat is Limping

Cats can limp for various reasons, whether it is a front or back leg. This could be due to something stuck in their paw, an ingrown claw, a sprain, or even a broken bone. If you notice that your cat is limping, it is advisable to take them to a veterinarian to prevent infections and stop their condition from worsening.

The causes of a limp may not always be apparent, but sometimes treatment is as simple as removing a thorn from their paw or trimming their claws.

It is essential to remember that limping signifies that your pet is in pain, even if they don't show it. Cats are good at hiding their pain.

When you notice your cat limping, look for swelling, redness, and open wounds. If any of these are present, contact your vet immediately.

Why is My Cat Limping?

Below, there is a list of common reasons why your cat may be limping:

  • Arthritis
  • Something stuck in their paw
  • Infected or torn nail
  • Walking across a hot surface (stove, hot gravel, or pavement)
  • Ingrown nail/ claw
  • 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?

If you notice that your cat is limping, it's best to wait until they calm down before assessing their leg. Once they're relaxed, run your fingers down their leg, starting at the paw, and look for any signs of sensitivity, swelling, redness, dangling limbs, or open wounds.

If the cause of the limp is something like overgrown claws or thorns stuck in their paw, gently remove the thorn with tweezers or trim their nails. If you can't determine the cause of the limp and it persists after 24 hours, it's best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

It can be difficult to tell if your cat's leg is broken because the symptoms, such as swelling, limping, an odd leg position, or lack of appetite, may resemble other injuries or a sprain. That's why it's always best to seek professional advice from your vet.

While waiting for the vet appointment, it's important to limit your cat's movement to prevent further injury.

You can achieve this by keeping them in a room with low surfaces or in their carrier, providing them with a comfortable bed or place to rest, and keeping them warm. Keep monitoring your cat's condition and seek immediate assistance if it worsens.

Should I take My Cat to The Vet For Limping?

If you notice your cat limping, it is always advisable to take them to the vet to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. This will help prevent health complications such as infections from developing. If your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

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

If there is a visible cause of the limp, like bleeding, swelling, or a limb hanging in a strange way, don't wait 24 hours. Call your vet as soon as possible to help prevent the condition from worsening. You should also call your vet if you don't know how to handle the situation. They will be able to give you guidance on what action to take to help your cat. 

If you notice your cat limping and you are worried, they are in pain. Please contact our Ypsilanti vets today.

Caring for Pets in Ypsilanti

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