Have you noticed that your cat has been limping? Has she also been more sensitive and maybe acting out?
Perhaps you noticed that she fell from her perch or moved her leg awkwardly, and now you’re worried she’s badly injured.
Many people wonder if a cat sprained leg is common. It’s not an unusual question, after all, cats are known for their impressive jumps and seemingly dangerous landings.
Despite their agility and gracefulness, it’s still possible for cats to injure their leg muscles and ligaments. It only takes a bad jump, a miscalculated landing, or even an unfortunate accident.
And even if your cat isn’t injured, as a loving pet owner you might be wondering what you can do to prevent your cat from getting hurt.
In this article, you’ll learn how to prevent a cat sprained leg and what you can do if your cat already has a sprained leg and other related injuries.
Cat Sprained Leg Symptoms
Before we get into the details of detecting a sprained leg, it’s important to understand what it means and what our furry baby might be experiencing.
A sprain is a soft tissue injury that happens when a ligament is stretched far beyond its capabilities. This over-stretching causes the ligament to pull or even tear, causing pain and inflammation.
Sprains can be easily confused with other types of soft tissue injuries because their symptoms are very similar.
Common Soft Tissue Injuries for Cats
|Bruise||Bruises occur when there is trauma on the soft tissue and it starts bleeding.|
|Strain||Strains are pulled or torn muscles, and it happens when a muscle is stretched far beyond its capability.|
|Sprain||Sprains are pulled or torn ligaments, and it happens when a ligament is strained or is stretched more than it was capable of.|
The most obvious symptom of a soft tissue injury is limping. Since many conditions can cause a limp, it’s always advisable to take your cat to the veterinarian if the limp doesn’t go away after one or two days.
If you see your cat limping, look out for these other symptoms that might indicate that your cat sprained her leg:
- Lack of appetite
- Meowing and/or crying
- Favouring the aching leg
- Difficulty walking, jumping, or climbing
- Swelling on the injured leg
- Changes in her personality
No one likes pain, and your cat is no exception.
Cats are prone to become aggressive if they are in pain, and they might hiss, bite, or scratch the people that they love. If you notice any of these symptoms on your cat, approach her cautiously to prevent any injuries on yourself.
If you’re able to (safely) self-examine the cat, make sure that you don’t manipulate the injured leg and cause more harm. You should only look out for swelling and try to check if the leg temperature is higher than the rest of your cat’s body.
How Serious Is a Cat Sprained Leg?
Every cat sprained leg is different and can range from a minor injury that your cat can recover from in a couple of weeks on its own, to a major injury that needs surgery and can affect the mobility of your pet’s joint even after surgery.
When diagnosing and treating sprains and strains, your vet will use a number of grades to explain the severity of your cat’s injury.
Cat Sprain Grades
|Grade||Severity of injury|
If your cat has a mild sprain, she’s not in too much pain and it will likely heal on its own. On the other hand, if your cat experiences a moderate or severe sprain they’ll be in a lot of pain and you’ll want to take them to the vet immediately.
It’s best to know right away if they have a ligament or tendon injury to help them have a quick and smooth recovery.
3 Reasons Why A Cat Sprained Leg Can Occur
1. Your Cat Is Overweight
We’ve all enjoyed a funny video about a chubby cat once or twice in our lives. It’s somewhat sweet to see them clumsily move around while chasing a treat or lazily paw a ball.
But the truth is that no one wants their cat to be ill, and obesity is a threatening condition that can make the lives of our furry friends harder than they’re ought to be.
59% of cats in the USA are qualified as overweight or obese.
Overweight and obese cats are prone to develop serious health conditions during their lifetime. They are also more likely to get injured while playing, jumping, or running around.
Too much weight puts a big burden on your cat’s joints. It makes her more lethargic, and less willing to play and exercise. This leads to weaker joints, tendons, and ligaments.
The best way to treat overweight or obesity is to prevent it in the first place. Make sure that your cat is only ingesting a healthy diet recommended by your vet or follow the portions written on the back of your food’s package.
You can complement your cat’s diet and make sure that she receives all the nutrients that she needs by introducing a supplement, like our TRI-ACTA formula, to her diet.
2. Your Cat Had An Accident
Cats are known for their gracious movements and impeccable landings, but if a cat miscalculates, they could end up with a sprained leg. Your cat can get a sprained leg if she falls from a high place like a perch or a tree.
Even though they’re cute and fun it is for us to watch, energy bursts or zoomies could also cause your cat to get injured. Your cat might not be entirely in control of how it’s moving and might get injured during these outbursts. She might bump into something, jump, and fall, or even knock down something and get hit by it.
One way to prevent her from getting hurt is to make sure there is nothing heavy in her way that could fall and crush her. Supplementing her diet can also help her protect her joints and prevent injuries.
Outdoor cats are also at risk of getting hit by a car while they are running around outside. There is not much that you can do to prevent that other than keeping your cats inside. If your cat is already used to being outside, you could consider creating a catio to ensure that she gets the enrichment that she craves.
3. Your Cat Was Attacked By Another Animal
Have you ever heard a catfight outside your house?
It’s terrifying, especially when your beloved pet is out in the dark and you don’t know if they are getting hurt or simply roaming around farther away than you can even imagine. And although it’s scary, this is part of a cat’s everyday life.
Outdoor cats are exposed to attacks by dogs, raccoons, and even squirrels. Not only are they more prone to get a disease, but they are also more likely to get soft tissue injuries such as a sprain.
If your cat got into a fight and was bitten or scratched too hard, she can get a sprained leg. This is common for cats who are considered outdoor cats, but it can also happen with other pets that are living in the same household.
To protect your furry friend, you might consider keeping your cats inside or providing them with an enclosed outdoor space that allows them to enjoy the great outside without risking their health and safety.
On the other hand, if you’ve noticed that your pets don’t get along, it’s important to understand what’s affecting their dynamic and how you can create a safe space for each one of your pets.
If nothing seems to be wrong, you might benefit from hiring an animal behaviourist that helps you identify the problem and find a solution.
How To Prevent Cat Sprained Leg And Related Injuries
While injuries are always prone to happen, there are some actions we can take to prevent our pets from getting hurt.
Here are four tips to help you keep your cat safe:
1. Introduce A Supplement To Your Cat’s Diet
One of the best preventative measures to keep your cat healthy is to introduce supplements into their diet. The right supplementation will help your cat strengthen their joints and soft tissues, which will make it harder for them to pull them or over-stretch them.
At Integricare, we know how important it is to keep our pets healthy, that’s why we’ve created a premium, all-natural supplement for pets and horses.
Our TRI-ACTA supplement for small dogs and cats is ideal for cats at any stage of their life. For kittens, it will help them develop strong tissues and bones, while for elderly cats it can help manage early symptoms of immobility.
Aside from helping you keep your pet’s optimal joint health, our TRI-ACTA supplement is designed to:
- Maintain collagen and connective tissue
- Regenerate cartilage
- Improve mobility
- Minimize inflammation
Because we are committed to the quality of our product and, most importantly, to the health of your pet, we only use active ingredients in our TRI-ACTA formula, which includes:
- Glucosamine: to help your cat produce new cartilage and provide nutrients that promote healthy joint tissue.
- Chondroitin: to keep your cat’s cartilage from breaking.
- MSM: to help reduce pain and inflammation.
TRI-ACTA is a powder supplement that you give your pets once a day with a meal. We use two types of glucosamine to ensure that they get the best absorption along with all the necessary nutrients to keep your pet healthy and strong.
If you want to give your pet every advantage, try out our TRI-ACTA H.A. supplement, it has all of our original ingredients plus Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid improves the viscosity of the Synovial fluid —which is found in the joints— and provides maximum joint protection and better results.
2. Make Sure That Your Cat Keeps A Healthy Weight
As we mentioned before, obesity is a dangerous condition for your cat. Not only does it make her more prone to get injured, but also to develop severe health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.
To keep your cat on a healthy weight, follow these recommendations:
- Feed your cat according to your vet’s recommendations or following the portions described by your food provider.
- For indoor cats, don’t leave their food out and let them decide how much they want to eat (indoor cats are likely to eat out of boredom).
- When you give your cat treats don’t exceed the recommended amount and count them into her caloric intake.
- Stick to cat food instead of giving her scrapes of whatever you are eating.
- Play with your cat for at least 10 to 15 minutes every day to help her release all the energy that they built up.
But what if your cat is already overweight?
Don’t panic just yet! Sure, this isn’t ideal, but you can always create a plan to reduce your cat’s weight. Here are some quick tips for you:
- Get your vet involved in your cat’s weight reduction process. This is a must because if you stop giving your cat as much food, without the proper precautions taken, it can develop a dangerous liver disease called hepatic lipidosis.
- Encourage your cat to play with you for at least 5 to 10 minutes a day. If your cat is obese, she might not be super motivated to chase after a toy, but with time and patience, you might find that they start to get more interested in playing with you.
- Invest in feeding balls to make your cat chase her food.
3. Create A Safe Space For Your Cat To Play And Release Energy
Cats are adventurous creatures. They jump, climb, and run around your house, dropping and breaking things that are in their way. This can be dangerous, especially if they manage to knock down something heavy on top of themselves.
As cat behaviourist, Jackson Galaxy says, “you must catify to satisfy” to protect your furry friend. What that means is that your home should have enough safe spaces for your cat to jump around without getting hurt (or breaking your grandmother’s china).
Provide enough place for your cat to explore vertically. Shelves, climbing poles, cat trees, and even ropes are fun choices for your cat to jump around the room and feel like she has a space to call her own.
Another important part of your cat’s enrichment is to have enough toys for her to play with. But remember, nothing is ever as exciting as playing with you, so make sure that you carve 10 to 15 minutes of your time to play with a fish-pole toy or a laser and have fun watching your cat chasing it around.
This is also the perfect moment to bond with your pet.
Appeal to the hunter in your cat and play mouse or bird to make sure that your cat can be true to her instincts in a safe space to prevent injuries.
Hide behind the couch, make the toy fly around the room, or slide across the floor. It’s supposed to be fun for the two of you!
4. Consider Keeping Your Cat Indoors Or Build A Catio
Cats that are allowed to go outside freely are in more danger of getting hit by a car, attacked by an animal, and catching diseases. Indoor cats live up to three times longer than outdoor cats.
With that said, cats that stay indoor cats are more likely to get bored, destroy your house, and get hurt in the process.
Catio is the link to getting the best of both worlds.
It’s a great way to allow your kitten to interact with the outside world without risking their safety.
But what exactly is a Catio, and how can you get one?
Catio — a catio is an outdoor, enclosed space where your cat can go out and hang out to get the enrichment from being outside without risking their safety.
Catio’s vary in size and form and they can go from a box outside your window to a full-on patio with different levels and toys to enrich your cat’s life.
Besides being a great option to entertain your cat, isn’t it adorable to see her fascinated by her environment?
Another important function of catios is to preserve the wildlife of your neighbourhood. Cats are natural hunters, and they might cause more harm to their surroundings than we are aware of.
And do you really need another half-dead mouse running around in your kitchen?
Yeah, me neither.
How To Treat A Cat Sprained Leg
If your cat limps for more than two days, it’s crucial to take her to the veterinarian.
Your vet will be able to assess the injury and determine what is the best course of action to get your cat healthy again.
With that said, your vet will probably recommend one of the following:
- Rest – Keeping your cat inside the house for as long as it takes for them to recover. If the injury is too severe, you might have to contain them in a room or a crate until their injury is healed.
- Medicine – Your vet might recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds to help manage your cat’s pain. Remember there are NO safe over-the-counter medications for cats, so don’t give your furry friend anything that you would take.
- Splinting – If your cat’s injury is severe, then your vet might opt to split your cat’s sprained leg. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to keep the splint dry and clean.
- Surgery – If your cat has a third-grade sprain, then her ligament is completely torn and she will need surgery to repair it. Keep in mind that while your cat will be able to use her leg again, she might experience some mobility constraints after the surgery.
- Supplements – Your vet might suggest you giving a supplement to your cat to help her recover more quickly. Remember that our TRI-ACTA H.A. formula is designed to help strengthen your cat’s joints and tissue.
Conclusion: Prevent Your Cat From Sprained Legs
Having your cat sprain a leg can be an extremely painful and stressful experience for both of you.
What’s even worse, a sprained leg can even affect your cat’s mobility if it’s severe enough. Not to mention the expensive visits to the vet and the impending need for surgery. There are many reasons why we want to prevent our pets from getting injured.
And while there is no way to make your cat 100% injury-proof, there are still some ways to avoid finding yourself in that situation.
To prevent your cat from getting injured you can take measures such as making sure that they have the right supplementation, helping your cat maintain a healthy weight, providing a safe space to release their energy, as well as creating a fun environment to interact with the outside.
Learn more about how TRI-ACTA helps your cat as she ages and reduces joint deterioration.