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Why is My Cat Limping?

When your cat isn't enjoying an afternoon nap it is bound to be exploring the world it lives in. Unfortunately, with exploration comes the possibility of injury. Today our South Plainfield vets talk about why your cat is limping and when you should call your vet.  

Why is my cat limping but not in pain?

When cats are hurt they are unable to express that pain in the same way that you or I would. Leg and paw injuries are common and there are many reasons why your cat could be limping. It could be any one of their legs that is injured and it could be anything from having something stuck in their paw, a sprain, a break, or even an ingrown claw that is causing the limping. 

Cats have a natural instinct to protect themselves from other predators and therefore may not show signs or symptoms of suffering an injury. This makes it even more important to remember that limping in your cat is typically a sign that they are experiencing pain, even if they aren't physically making any sounds of discomfort.

If your cat has suddenly started limping, the best course of action regardless of circumstances will be to schedule a visit with your vet for an examination in order to avoid further injury and possible infection. Your vet will do their best to find the potential cause of your cat's injury and will be able to best treat your feline friend for any symptoms they may have.

An important part of being a pet parent is to monitor your cat daily for any possible injuries or illnesses. It is a good idea to routinely monitor for lumps, bumps, swelling, redness, and open wounds. If you happen to notice any of these signs please reach out to your vet. Early diagnosis and care in the event of any ailments are best for keeping your cat as healthy as possible.

Why is my cat limping all of a sudden?

If your cat becomes injured it may appear as though they have begun to limp suddenly, some of the most common causes of this limping may be:

  • Foreign object stuck in paw
  • Trauma resulting in a sprain or break
  • Damage caused by heat such as hot asphalt 
  • Ingrown nail or claw
  • bug or animal bites
  • Infected or torn nail
  • Arthritis

What should I do if my cat is limping?

The first thing you could do if you notice that your cat is limping might be to run your hand along the favored leg, starting at the paw and working your way up, and watch for any reaction from your cat. Look for any sensitive areas as well as any open wounds, swelling, or redness. 

If you find any foreign object while examining your cat you can use tweezers to gently pull it out then clean the area with soap and water. Closely monitor the area to ensure that an infection doesn't take hold as the puncture wound heals. In the case that overgrown nails are causes discomfort in your cat you can either trim the nails yourself or book an appointment with your vet or groomer to have it done.

If you are unable to discover the cause of your cat's limping after a day or two, it is important to book an appointment to have your cat examined by your veterinarian. 

A fracture can be extremely difficult to diagnose as they are known to mirror other injuries such as a sprain (swelling, a limp, leg being held in an odd position, lack of appetite).

If a vet appointment is necessary you should limit your cat's movements as much as possible to keep them from causing further injury or making it worse. Do this by monitoring their condition closely, keeping them in a room with low surfaces, or putting them in their carrier. You can keep your cat relaxed by providing them with a warm and comfortable place to sleep with their favorite blankets and toys.

Should I take my cat to the vet for limping?

Having your cat thoroughly examined and diagnosed by your vet is always the best course of action with any injury, Some reasons why you should contact your vet right away are when:

  • You can't identify the cause
  • It has been more than 24 hours of limping
  • The injured area is swollen
  • There is an open wound
  • The limb is clearly broken
  • Your cat is hiding
  • Your cat is howling or showing other clear indications of pain

If the affected area is bleeding, swelling or the limb is hanging in a strange way, it is important to call your vet immediately in order to prevent infection or the injury from becoming worse. You should also contact your vet if you ever have any questions or concerns on how you should handle any injury or condition with your cat. 

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 your cat has suddenly begun limping, contact your South Plainfield vet to have your cat thoroughly examined and cared for. 

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