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Why is My Cat Limping All of a Sudden?

Why is My Cat Limping All of a Sudden?

Have you spotted your cat limping recently? In this post, our Upland vets list some reasons your cat may be staggering, when you should take your kitty to the vet, and what symptoms of underlying conditions to watch for. 

My Cat is Limping

Whether your cat is limping on their front leg or their back leg, your kitty may be walking unsteadily for a variety of reasons. These may include having an ingrown claw, suffering from a sprain or broken bone, or getting an object stuck in their paw. 

If you notice that your cat is limping, it's always best to bring them to your vet to prevent their condition from growing worse. While the cause of your feline friend's limp may not always be visible to the naked eye, treatment may sometimes be as simple as pulling a thorn from their paw or trimming their claws. 

It's important for you to know that if your cat is limping, it is because they are in pain, even if this doesn't appear true from looking at them. Cats are generally quite adept at masking their pain. Always check your kitty for any redness, swelling, or open wounds if you see them limping, and call your veterinarian as soon as possible if you see any of these symptoms. 

Common Causes of Limping in Cats

Here are list of common reasons cats start limping:

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

What Should I Do if My Cat is Limping?

If you notice that your cat has begun limping, wait for them to calm down and relax before you examine their leg. Once they have calmed down, run your fingers down their leg, starting at their paw and working your way up. Move your fingers around any visible problem areas to look for swelling, redness, sensitivity, open wounds, or dangling limbs. 

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 milp 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 you 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 into 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 there is a visible cause of the limp like bleeding, swelling or a limb hanging in a strange way, don't wait the 24 hours. Bring your cat in for emergency care 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 to situation. They will be able to give you guidance on what action to take to help your cat. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to diagnose your pet's condition accurately.

Have you noticed your cat limping? Contact our Upland vets right away for guidance and advice. We provide 24/7 emergency care.

New Patients Welcome

Inland Valley Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced veterinarians care passionately about the health and well-being of Upland companion animals. Get in touch today to book your cat or dog's first appointment.

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