The cat limps: Causes and remedies

If we notice our cat walking in a strange way, almost with difficulty, there could be something more serious underneath. It can therefore be very important to understand why the cat limps.

As devoted cat owners, we certainly want our kitten to be happy and healthy, so obviously it’s hard to see him having trouble just walking around. Many conditions involving joints, muscles, bones, nerves, or skin can cause cats to limp, and some problems can be more serious than others. If our kitten has collided with a moving vehicle, or has fallen out of a window, the reason he doesn’t walk normally is pretty obvious. But sometimes, the cause of our cat limping is not that dramatic, nor that obvious.

Why does our cat limp?

If our cat is injured, we may be able to locate the injury by gently examining the affected limb. Until we notice obvious damage, it may not even be urgent to take him to a vet. If he just limps a little, let’s keep an eye on him for a couple of days, maybe he’ll resolve himself. But instead, some conditions require immediate medical attention. If the cat has been in an accident or suffered another type of trauma, we need to get him to the vet as soon as possible. By leaving out something serious and painful, we could make the situation worse very quickly.

Some symptoms may accompany a cat’s lameness. For example, when it occurs in conjunction with a dirty house and / or other unusual behavior, it must be a cause for concern. Any lameness accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing or changes in the way you breathe, but also pain at the touch, reluctance to move or eat, and the inability to get comfortable or sleep, are all situations that require immediate attention. If the cat sleeps more or plays less, if it is reluctant to jump or bathe or be combed, something is wrong.

Lameness is often the result of a soft tissue injury in the animal’s leg, such as a fatigued muscle or injured ligament. In these cases, we need to take our kitty to the vet, who can perform an x-ray to determine the real problem. Vets usually prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and rest for cats with this type of injury. They usually recover completely by doing so

The hardest part is making sure our kitty stays still as she recovers, experts say. Of course, we know that convincing a cat not to jump on the bookcase can be difficult. In addition to trauma and soft tissue injuries, many medical problems and environmental conditions can cause cats to limp. Identifying the cause may require a little investigation.

The causes for which the cat limps


Arthritis causes lameness and other mobility problems for cats of all ages. Unlike a broken bone or a wound, arthritis is more difficult for us masters to recognize because it is barely visible. But cats certainly feel the effects: arthritis in fact causes pain and makes it difficult for animals to carry out their daily functions. In addition to limping, some arthritic cats reduce physical activity.

Although not very common, hip dysplasia and patella luxation can cause arthritis in cats. Treating a cat with a dislocated kneecap may require surgery. Since the operation is more complicated in cats than in dogs, it is recommended that you find a surgeon who has experience with cats and pain management. Exercise can relieve the symptoms of arthritis, but we certainly can’t expect a cat in pain to chase mice or play with wire. We need to provide pain relief to allow these cats to move normally – exercise can provide pain relief, but even we can’t train if we’re not feeling well.

We must therefore work with the vet to develop a treatment plan that can help relieve our cat’s pain and inflammation. We should never give your cat any medications without first consulting your veterinarian: Pain relievers for cats should only be given under strict veterinary supervision. Additionally, feeding your cat a proper diet can help relieve chronic inflammation and pain. Supplementing our little arthritic furry’s diet with omega-3 fatty acids can also help him feel more comfortable.

Ingrown toenails and fights with other cats or objects

We may not be able to see it, but an ingrown toenail could be the reason our cat limps. Ingrown toenails are difficult to see on breeds such as Maine Coons, Persians and other cats with long thick fur. If the cat has arthritis in the toes, they may not use the scratching post, thus leading to ingrown toenails. The vet can remove the claw from our pet’s paw, and will disinfect the wound. He can also prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers to help the cat heal and feel better.

But sometimes one cause of lameness in cats is that they have been injured in fights with other felines or even injured themselves by touching cactus plants, or hot stoves, for example. Treatment involves removing hair around the wound, cleaning and washing the wound, and administering antibiotics – cats usually recover from this type of injury.

Neurological diseases and tumors

While uncommon, neurological diseases can affect the way a cat walks. For example, lumbosacral disease or degeneration causes severe pain at the base of the animal’s tail. Similar to a herniated disc, intervertebral disc disease can occur on any part of the cat’s back or neck. The two diseases may seem similar: it is a back pain that causes cats to move stiffly. Steroids or surgery may be recommended for the treatment of a neurological disease.

In other cases, some cancers can cause cats to limp. Any tumor if it occurs in the right place can cause lameness, and in fact when examining older cats, vets often look for just these conditions. The so -called “Feline Lung-digit syndrome” (FLDS, a collection of lung metastases), sarcoma and lymphoma are among the cancers that can cause cats to limp. The vet will perform a series of diagnostic tests to determine if cancer is present. 

External factors

Cats can encounter unusual dangers by playing outdoors. For example, they may end up with grass known as foxtail in their paws. This herb, also known as rat tail, doesn’t seem particularly dangerous – it’s a bristle-like appendage that grows from various types of herbs. 

The sharp spikes and edges of this herb can penetrate the skin and tissue of cats and dogs. You have to dig into the wound to extract it, obviously before removing the foxtail, the vet will sedate the cat with general anesthesia.

Recall that a cat that limps is in pain. Since a kitten will never complain of pain or other symptoms, it is up to us as owners to pay attention to our pet and take him to the vet when needed.

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