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

Cats are naturally curious and active animals, which means that they are prone to hurting themselves. Whether your cat spends most of their time indoors or likes to venture outside, there are many reasons why they may start limping. In this article, our vets in Walnut Creek will discuss the common causes of limping in cats and what steps you should take to help your feline companion feel better.

Why is my cat limping but not in pain?

Cats can sometimes limp for various reasons, making it difficult for their owners to figure out what's wrong. The cat may have something stuck in its paw or sprained or broken a leg.

Even an ingrown claw can cause limping. It's crucial to remember that cats can hide their pain, so if your cat is limping, it's a sign that it's in pain, even if it doesn't look like it. 

It's always best to take your cat to the vet if it's limping to avoid the possibility of infection and to keep its condition from worsening.

The cause of the limp may not be obvious, but the treatment could be as simple as trimming its claws or removing a tiny splinter from its paw.

It's essential to keep an eye out for lumps, bumps, swelling, redness, and open wounds and to contact your vet if you spot any of these. We believe that 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, try to run your fingers down the affected leg while observing your cat's reaction and feeling for sensitive areas. Watch out for open wounds, swelling, redness, or, in severe cases, dangling limbs. Begin at your cat's paw and work your way up gently.

If you find something like a thorn or splinter, gently remove it using tweezers and clean the area with soap and water. Make sure to keep an eye on the area to prevent an infection from developing as the puncture wound heals. If overgrown nails are the problem, trim your cat's nails as usual or have your vet do it for you.

If you cannot determine the cause of your cat's limp and it persists for more than a day or two, it's time to make an appointment with your vet. While waiting for your vet appointment, please do what you can to limit your cat's movements to keep them from causing further injury or making it worse.

Please keep them in a room with low surfaces or put them in their carrier. Ensure they are comfortable by providing them with a comfy place to sleep/kitty bed and keeping them warm with their favorite blankets. Continue to monitor their situation.

It may seem strange, but it can be difficult to tell if your cat's leg is broken. This is because the symptoms of a fracture can be similar to those of other injuries, such as a sprain (swelling, limping, leg being held in an unusual position, lack of appetite).

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 signs of injury, such as bleeding, swelling, or the limb hanging unusually, do not wait 24 hours. Instead, call your veterinarian immediately to prevent infection or worsening of the condition.

Additionally, if you are unsure about how to handle the situation, it is highly recommended that you contact your vet. They will be able to provide you with the necessary advice and instructions on what 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.

If you are concerned about your cat's limping, contact your Walnut Creek vet today to book an examination for your feline friend.

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