Why Is My Cat Limping? Sprains, Muscle Tears, and Injuries in Cats

Cats tend to be independent creatures (in comparison to dogs) and are adept at hiding their injuries well. When your cat is injured, they may choose to hide or withdraw, making it more difficult to notice if and when your cat is limping or suffering from a sprain or muscle injury.

Additionally, when your cat is injured, they may experience difficulty in breathing, lethargy, whining, excessive licking (even on a sore muscle) to soothe the pain, and a loss of appetite/difficulty eating. If you can noticeably see your cat limping, this is a good indicator that something is wrong. 

Non-Urgent Reasons For Your Cat Limping

It’s hard to determine why your cat may be limping, and whether or not the injury is an emergency that constitutes a vet trip. When in doubt it’s never a bad idea to take your cat to the vet for a proper diagnosis to determine why they’re limping or walking stiffly, but here are some common injuries that can cause limping in cats. 

  • Mild Injury

Mild injuries in cats are common – your cat is an active creature! Especially if your cat goes outdoors, where they run into many potential situations to cause injuries. Your cat may be limping because of a thorn, a burr, or something else stuck in their paw pad causing them pain. Take note if they wince or meow when touched in a certain area, or show any swelling or redness. Having a paw pad injury, or something stuck in the paw pad, can have a potential for an infection so a vet trip is always safe in order to prevent infection.

  • High Rise Syndrome

cat jumping from heights straining muscles

Cats are adept climbers and drawn to heights. While they’re generally good judges of what their bodies are capable of, occasionally the wrong jump can occur and damage the cats’ legs. It’s good practice to leave the windows closed (especially on higher floors in houses and apartments) so your cats cannot jump out the windows and risk injuring themselves. Even bookshelves can present a danger for what is called ‘high rise syndrome’ in cats. 

  • Muscle Tears or Sprains

Muscle tears and sprains in cats can be caused by a number of factors, but like humans, the most common cause of a muscle sprain in a cat is overexerting the muscles. Muscle tears or sprains in cats can occur more commonly as your cat begins to age and develop arthritis or other feline degenerative bone and joint conditions.

  • Arthritis 

As your cats age, they may become more prone to developing arthritis, similar to humans as we age. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage tissue begins to break down in the joints and causes painful swelling. Your cat may become more lethargic, more apt to cuddle instead of play, or show signs of fatigue. These are symptoms that occur with ageing cats.  

Management for Limping in Cats

As cats are predominantly independent creatures, we cannot ultimately control their activities if they have free run of the outdoors and the entire home. If your cat is limping or suffering an obvious injury, it’s most beneficial to ensure they remain indoors, and ideally in a room or two, where they don’t have access to heights such as tall bookshelves, etc., until they cease the limping. 

Management for Arthritis in Cats

While arthritis in cats cannot be entirely prevented, the painful accompanying symptoms can be managed by adding glucosamine, and chondroitin supplements to your cats’ diet. Our Tri-Acta H.A. adds hyaluronic acid to repair signs of bone and joint deterioration in your cats, and to aid aging felines who are suffering from symptoms of arthritis. 

Maintaining Healthy Joints and Muscles In Cats

cat eating joint supplements to maintain joint health

The easiest way to maintain joint and bone health in your cats is to allow them to have safe and healthy exercise activities, and despite their daredevil tendencies, don’t place your felines in situations where they have access to great heights, such as high-placed windows. Cats are active creatures, and exercise is essential to maintaining their bone and joint health.

Ensuring that your cat’s diet contains an adequate amount of active ingredients designed to improve and maintain healthy joint and bone health is important as well. Simply by adding Tri-Acta to your cat’s diet, you can ensure that their bone development stays strong long into old age, and ultimately lessen the severe symptoms of arthritis which can develop. Learn more about how Tri-Acta can help your cats at any stage of their lives.