Why is My Cat Suddenly Limping?

Why Is My Cat Limping All of a Sudden?

Cats can start limping suddenly due to various reasons. In this article, we will discuss the common causes of limping in cats and provide guidance on what to do if your cat is limping.

Limping in Cats

Cats can start limping for different reasons, whether it is in their front leg or back leg, such as a break, sprain, foreign object stuck in their paw, or an ingrown claw. If you notice that your cat is limping, it is recommended to bring them to the vet. This can help prevent infection or worsening of their condition.

Sometimes, it may not be apparent to the naked eye what is causing your cat’s limp. However, the solution could be as simple as removing a thorn from their paw or trimming their claws.

It is important to note that if your cat is limping, they are in pain, even if they don’t show it (cats are skilled at hiding pain). Always keep an eye out for signs of swelling, redness, or open wounds. If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Common Causes of Limping in Cats

Here are some common reasons why cats start limping:

  • Infected or torn nail
  • Sprained or broken leg due to trauma (such as being hit, falling, or landing incorrectly)
  • Bite from a bug or another animal
  • Foreign object stuck in their paw
  • Ingrown nail/claw
  • Arthritis
  • Walking on a hot surface (such as a stove, hot gravel, or pavement)
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My Cat is Limping, What Should I Do?

When your cat is limping, it is best to wait for them to relax and calm down before assessing their leg. Once they have settled, carefully examine their paw and leg by running your fingers from the paw upwards. Look for any sensitive spots, redness, swelling, dangling limbs, or open wounds.

If you find a thorn, gently remove it with tweezers. If your cat’s nails are too long, you can trim them as usual or have it done by your vet. If you cannot determine the cause of the limp and your cat continues to limp after 24 hours, schedule an appointment with your vet.

It can be challenging to determine if your cat’s leg is broken because the symptoms can resemble other injuries or a sprain (swelling, limp, odd leg position, lack of appetite). Therefore, it is always advisable to consult your vet.

While waiting to see the vet, it is essential to limit your cat’s movements to prevent further injury. Keep them in a room with low surfaces or place them in their carrier. Ensure your cat’s comfort by providing a cozy place to sleep and keeping them warm with their favorite blankets. Continue monitoring their condition.

When Should I Take My Limping Cat to the Vet?

To prevent infection or receive an official diagnosis, it is best to take your cat to the vet if any of the following situations apply:

  • The limping persists for more than 24 hours
  • There is noticeable swelling
  • An open wound is present
  • The limb is hanging in an unusual position
  • You cannot identify the cause of the limp
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If you can visibly see bleeding, swelling, or the limb is in an abnormal position, do not wait for 24 hours. Immediately contact your vet to prevent infection or further deterioration. If you are unsure about how to manage the situation, your vet will be able to provide you with the necessary advice and guidance.

Remember, the well-being of your cat is of utmost importance. By taking swift action and seeking professional help, you can ensure their speedy recovery.

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