Why Is My Cat Limping?

It can be alarming if your cat starts limping on one paw, but don't panic! In this post, our San Angelo veterinarians discuss some possible causes for your cat limping and when you should be concerned about it.

My Cat is Limping

Cats may limp for a wide variety of reasons, whether they are limping on their front leg or their back leg. These can include getting something stuck in their pet, an ingrown claw, a sprain or a broken bone. If you notice that your cat is limping, it is always best to bring them to your vet in order to prevent infection and help to stop their condition from growing worse. The causes of a limp may not always be visible to the naked eye, but sometimes treatment can be as simple as pulling a thorn from their paw or trimming their claws.

It's important that you remember that if your cat is limping, it is because they are experiencing pain, even if they don't look like it. Cats are generally quite good at hiding their pain.

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 has started limping, wait for them to calm down and relax before you assess their leg. When they have calmed down, run your fingers down their leg and around any obvious problem areas to look for sensitivity, swelling, redness, dangling limbs or open wounds. When asses your cat's leg in this way, start at their paw and work your way up.

If the cause of your cat's limp is something like claws that have grown too long or thorns sticking into your cat's paw, gently pull the thorn out with tweezers or cut their nails as usual. If you can't sort out what is causing your cat's milk and they are continuing to do so after 24 hours, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

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 waiting for a veterinary appointment, you should limit your cat's movements as much as possible to keep them from causing themselves further injury or making things worse. Do so by keeping them in a room with low surfaces or by placing them in their carrier. Make sure your cat is as comfortable as possible by providing them with a kitty bed or another comfortable place to sleep and stay warm. Continue to monitor their condition. 

Should I take My Cat to The Vet For Limping?

If you notice limping in your cat, it's nearly always a good idea to bring them to the vet in order to get a proper diagnosis and help to prevent health issues like infections from developing. If any of the following is true for your cat, 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 you notice your cat limping, contact our San Angelo vets today.