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Why is my cat limping all of a sudden?

Whether your feline friend is an indoor cat or outdoor adventurer, there is a myriad 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 Southgate vets share a few common reasons for limping in cats and what you should do.

My Cat is Limping

Unfortunately, our pets aren't able to tell us how they are feeling, or what hurts, which can make figuring out why your cat is limping challenging. Cats limp from the front or back leg for many reasons, such as getting something stuck in their paw, a sprain, a break, or even an ingrown claw.

Why is my cat limping but not in pain?

Keep in mind that when your cat is limping, it indicates that they are in pain, even if they don't appear to be. Cats cannot limp without experiencing pain.

Taking your cat to the vet is crucial if they have a limp. This will help prevent infection and ensure their condition doesn't worsen. It may be challenging to determine the cause of your cat's limp, but a straightforward solution could involve trimming their claws or removing a thorn.

It's important for pet parents to regularly monitor their animal's health, and observing their walking habits is a crucial aspect of this. Be vigilant for any signs of swelling, redness, or open wounds. Immediately contact a veterinarian if you come across any of these.

Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Limping

Below we have listed 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)
  • 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 should I do if my cat is limping?

Ensure your cat remains calm and relaxed during the leg examination. Gently glide your fingers along the site, carefully checking for any areas that may be sensitive or require attention. Be observant for signs of open wounds, swelling, redness, and, in severe cases, limbs that may be hanging or injured. Climb the ladder of success, starting from your cat's paw.

Remove the thorn gently using tweezers and cleanse the area with soap and water. Monitor the area closely to avoid infection while the puncture wound heals. To address your cat's overgrown nails, trim them as you normally would or seek assistance from your veterinarian.

If your beloved kitty is still limping after 24 hours and you can't determine the cause, it's important to make an appointment with your vet. 

Determining whether your cat's leg is broken can be challenging since the symptoms may resemble other injuries or a sprain. These symptoms include swelling, limping, the leg being held in an unusual position, and a loss of appetite. Therefore, it is advisable to contact your veterinarian for the best course of action.

Restrict your cat's movements to prevent further injury or deterioration while waiting for your veterinary appointment. To achieve this, it is recommended to keep them in a room with low surfaces or in their carrier. Give them a cozy sleeping spot or kitty bed and make sure they stay warm with their preferred blankets. Keep a close watch on 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

If you notice any visible signs like bleeding, swelling, or an oddly hanging limb, it's crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. This will help prevent any potential infections or further deterioration of the condition. If you're not sure what to do, it's a good idea to reach out to your veterinarian. They can provide 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 our Southgate vets to book an examination for your feline friend. Our experienced vets can diagnose the cause of your cat's limp and provide effective treatments to help get your cat walking normally again. 

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

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