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Cat Limping - When It's Time To Head To The Vet

Cats are naturally curious and active animals, which means they are prone to getting injured. There are many reasons why your feline friend may start limping. In this article, our vets in Denver will discuss the common causes of limping in cats and provide advice on what to do if your cat starts limping.

Why is my cat limping but not in pain?

It can be difficult to know why your cat is limping since they can't communicate their pain. Cats may limp for various reasons, including injuries to their front or back legs, such as sprains, breaks, or ingrown claws. Even something as simple as having a foreign object stuck in their paw can cause limping. 

It's important to keep in mind that cats have a natural instinct to hide when they are in pain, so just because they don't look like they're in pain doesn't mean they aren't. A limp is a sign that your cat is experiencing pain, and it's always best to take them to the vet to avoid any possible infections and prevent their condition from worsening. 

While the cause of your cat's limp may not be immediately apparent, the treatment could be as simple as trimming their claws or removing a small splinter from their paw. It's crucial to keep an eye on your cat's health and watch how they move normally. Look out for any lumps, bumps, swelling, redness, or open wounds, and contact your vet if you notice anything unusual. It's always better to be cautious when it comes to your cat's health.

Why is my cat limping all of a sudden?

Limping in cats typically comes on suddenly. Below are just a few of the most 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?

If you notice that your cat is limping, you can run your fingers down the affected leg to check for any sensitivity or signs of open wounds, swelling, redness, or dangling limbs.

Start at your cat's paw and gently work your way up. If you find a thorn or splinter, carefully remove it with tweezers and clean the area with soap and water.

Keep an eye on the area to ensure that it doesn't become infected as the puncture wound heals. If the issue is overgrown nails, simply trim them as usual, or have your vet do it for you.

If you are unable to determine the cause of your cat's limp and it persists for more than a day or two, it's time to schedule an appointment with your vet.

It can be tough to tell if your cat's leg is broken because the symptoms of a fracture can be similar to those of other injuries, such as a sprain, which include swelling, limping, the leg being held in an odd position, and a lack of appetite.

While you wait for your vet appointment, limit your cat's movements to prevent further injury or aggravation. You can do this by keeping them in a room with low surfaces or placing them in their carrier.

Provide them with a comfortable place to sleep, such as a kitty bed, and keep them warm with their favorite blankets. Continuously 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 help prevent infection and to 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 clearly broken
  • Your cat is hiding
  • Your cat is howling or showing other clear indications of pain

If you notice any visible cause such as bleeding, swelling, or if the limb looks like it's hanging in a strange way, do not wait for 24 hours, immediately call your vet to prevent infection or a worsening condition. Also, if you are uncertain about how to handle the situation, it is advised to call your vet, who can guide you about the necessary actions to 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.

If you are concerned about your cat's limping contact our vets in Denver today to book an examination for your feline friend.

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