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Why is my cat limping all of a sudden?

Have you noticed your cat has recently started limping? Today, our Central Illinois vets explain why your cat might be limping, when you should take your cat to the vet, and symptoms to watch for.  

My cat is Limping

Cats may limp for a variety of reasons, whether the issue is in their back leg or they have a problem in their front leg. An object may be stuck in their paw or they may be suffering from an ingrown claw, a sprain or even a break. It's always best to book a visit with your vet if you notice a limp to keep their condition from worsening and to avoid infection. 

The causes may not always be visible to the naked eye. That said, first aid might be as simple as pulling out a thorn or trimming their claws. 

Keep in mind that if your cat is limping that they are in pain, even if they don't appear to be (cats are excellent at masking their pain). Always watch for redness, swelling and open wounds. If you see any of these, call a vet immediately. 

Why is my cat limping?

Here are some common reasons your cat may be limping:

  • Ingrown nail/ claw
  • 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)
  • Arthritis
  • Infected or torn nail
  • Being bitten by a bug or other animal

If my cat is limping, what should I do?

If your cat is limping wait for them to calm down and relax before you assess their leg. When they are calm carefully assess their leg and paw by running your fingers down the site for any sensitive areas and look for an open wound, swelling, redness, and dangling limbs. Start at their paw and work your way up.

If it is something such as a thorn or nails that are too long just gently pull the thorn out with tweezers or cut their nails as usual (or have it done by your vet). If you are unable to figure out the cause of the limp and your beloved kitty is still limping after 24 hours make an appointment with your vet.

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 your veterinary appointment you have to limit your cat's movements to keep them from causing further injury or making it worse. Do this by keeping them in a room with low surfaces, or putting them in their carrier.

Make sure they are comfortable by providing them with a comfy place to sleep/kitty bed and keep them warm with their favorite blankets. Continue to monitor their situation.

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:

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

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, as this is a veterinary emergency. You should also call your vet if you do not know how to handle the situation, your vet will be able to give you advice on the actions you should take next.

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.

Have you noticed that your cat is suddenly limping? Contact us today. Our vets are experienced in assessing and treating injuries and veterinary emergencies.

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Pekin Veterinary Clinic is welcoming new clients to our clinic. Contact our team to book your pet's appointment.

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