What Does It Mean When Your Cat Starts Limping?

Cats are typically such graceful athletes that when they start limping, you know there’s something going on. But because they can’t speak and tell you exactly what’s bothering them, it’s up to you to be the detective and see if you can find out what’s causing the problem. Here are a few reasons why your cat is limping.


If you notice that your cat is favoring one paw over another see if you can get her to sit on your lap and take a look at her pads. She may have a thorn in it or might have even stepped on something sharp and sliced her pad.  If this is the case, make her as comfortable as possible, but if she has a severely lacerated pad, get her to the vet right away.

Broken Bones

Cats are great actors and tend to hide their pain. Broken bones can occur a number of ways including: car accidents, being attacked by another animal or even a fall from a height.

Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • Not eating or grooming himself.
  • Swelling or bruising.
  • Crying, growling or howling especially if touched.
  • No longer using a limb or a tail.

If you determine that your cat has a broken bone, the first thing to keep in mind is that, because she is hurting, she may bite you.  She may also be in shock and the only thing you’ll want to do at home is stabilize her before you can get her to a veterinarian. If your cat has suffered a compound fracture – one with a bone that is poking out from the skin – cover it with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.  Try not to disturb this bone, and get her to your vet as quickly as possible.


Joint osteoarthritis is something everyone suffers from. You know how it feels when your knees act up or you have a shoulder joint that’s sore when the weather’s changing? The same issue happen to cats.  Talk to your veterinarian and see if she can prescribe some pain medication as she’s growing older. There is no cure for arthritis, simply make your cat as comfortable as possible.  You can give her a firm bed to lay on where there aren’t any pressure points. A memory foam bed is a good choice.

If you’ve noticed that your cat is limping, see if you can determine what the source is and then see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

Have you noticed your cat limping?



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