Why Is Your Cat Limping?
28 September, 2016
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If your cat starts to limp suddenly, don’t panic.  Remember our cats are little acrobats that jump on the counters, sprint around the house, and prowl their cat trees.  The limping can be a simple paw strain that if you give your cat a couple days, he or she will be back to normal.   However, if it lasts more than a few days, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.

But, there are many other reasons that your cat could be limping.  Below are some of the most common:

Damage to your cat’s soft tissues which is not serious.

As mentioned above, strained or sprained muscles or ligaments are usually responsible for most cat limps. A limp associated with a pulled muscle may last intermittently for a day or two.  The injury might cause a little swelling, which you can treat by place a heat pack on the sore area.

Torn ligaments are more serious than a strained muscle

Torn ligaments are a more serious source of cat limping. A partial tear to a ligament can result in intermittent limping, leading the owner to believe that the injury is less than serious. A partial tear may become a complete tear, making it impossible for your cat to put any weight at all on the affected leg. Torn ligaments are difficult to heal and often require surgery.

Foot and nail injuries are another common reason your cat might limp

Foot and nail injuries are another common cause of cat limping. Glass, splinters, and other sharp objects can cut your cat’s paw, or become lodged in the pads of your cat’s feet, causing limping. Nail injuries can also be quite painful for cats. If your cat is limping, check your kitty’s feet carefully and in between the toes. Check his nails for cracks, tearing, and dried blood.

Infections, abscesses and insect bites can cause limping

Infections and abscesses can also cause cat limping. An infection below the surface of the skin, or abscess, can cause redness, swelling, and tenderness. Any wound in your cat’s skin can become infected, from a flea bite, tick bite, a puncture wound, or an ordinary scratch.  It’s a good idea to check your cat’s skin daily for such infections.

Broken bones and dislocations of the tendon

Broken bones and dislocations are among the most serious causes of cat limping. Depending on the severity of the break, the limping may be intermittent and your cat might be able to put weight on the injury, but will limp.  In more severe cases, your cat will refrain from putting any weight on the injured limp and may experience extreme pain and severe swelling.  Your veterinarian can determine this by an x-ray.

Arthritis, most common in older cats, can cause limping

Arthritis is a common cause of limping, pain and join stiffness in older cats. Arthritic cat limping may seem worse in the morning and on colder days; a cat with arthritis may have difficulty sitting, standing, lying down and squatting. Cat limping caused by arthritis usually involves both rear legs and can result in a stiff, irregular gait. Limping due to arthritis usually gets worse with time and you can help your cat by trying to make him or her comfortable and do your best to prevent your kitty from jumping.

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