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Cat Limping? Causes and What to Do

There are many 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 Leighton vets will share a few common reasons for a limping in cats and what you should do.

My Cat is Limping

Cats can limp for many reasons such as getting something stuck in their paw, a sprain, a break, or even an ingrown claw. These causes can affect both the front and rear legs.

If your cat is limping it's a sign that they are experiencing pain. They may be trying to act like they are fine but remember cats are really good at hiding pain.

It's always best to take your cat to the vet if they have a limp in order to avoid the possibility of infection and to help keep their 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.

Monitor your animal's health regularly, and watching how they walk is a part of that. Keep an eye out for swelling, redness, and open wounds. If you see any of these call a vet immediately.

Reasons for the Limping

Below is a list of a few common reasons why your cat might be limping:

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

You Cat is Limping. What Should You Do.

First thing to do is assess their leg . Start at your cat's paw gently run your fingers down the leg watching and feeling for any sensitive areas. Look out for open wounds, swelling, redness, and in extreme cases dangling limbs. 

If it is something such as a small splinter gently pull the splinter 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 trim your cat's nails as usual.

If you cannot ascertain the cause of the limp and they are still limping after 24 hours make an appointment with your vet.

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. Continue to monitor their situation.

Should You Take Your Cat to The Vet

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

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. 

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical professionals. If you see the symptoms or are just concerned about your cat please contact your All Animal Clinic vet to book an appointment.

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All Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Leighton companion animals. We currently are only taking pets by appointment, so get in touch to schedule yours today!

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