How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr.Fiona Your Own Question
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr.Fiona is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat cant walk on her back leg. I dont know what happened.

Resolved Question:

My cat can't walk on her back leg. I don't know what happened. Should I wait until Monday to se my vet or go to the emergency room today?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your Ragdoll cat but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

Is it one back leg or both that are effected?

When did this start?

Is she indoors only or does she go outside?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She is an indoor cat. It is only her right back leg. She seems to be hobbling around a bit better this morning. Yesterday, I couldn't find her in the house. She had found a quiet place in a closet, away from the dogs and stayed there all day
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Could you please go and carefully check her feet - is the back RIGHT foot cooler in temperature than her other feet?

Are there other animals in the home?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We have 3 dogs and one other cat. All paws feel the same temperature
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Are there any tufts of hair that are matted together?

Does she ever get into fights with the other animals?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No, she was groomed recently so everything looks good. She doesn't fight with the other animals. We have a large home and the cats have a very large space of their own. The dogs are very calm. Im thinking she may have gotten her paw stuck somewhere and twisted it?
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
That's definitely possible!

There are a few things that I would consider in a cat this age.

1. She may have stretched or ruptured her cranial cruciate ligament. This is something humans get as well, but in humans it is called Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the structures that stabilizes the knee joint. It is prone to problems. If the cat is in motion, and the lower leg is held still (by going down a hole, getting caught on a string, etc) while the upper leg keeps moving forward, there will be damage to this cranial cruciate ligament.

The symptoms seen are usually a sudden onset of hind-end lameness, with toe touching seen at standing and walking, but the cat often carries the leg when running.

Here is more information about this problem:

2. Your cat may have a fracture (broken bone) of one of the bones in the leg. I have seen this many times with a cat getting their toes jammed under something, and then twisting somehow and causing a fracture, usually in the foot area. Symptoms are a sudden onset of non weight bearing lameness, just as you are describing. X-rays would help to diagnose this.

Here is more:

3. It is also possible that your Ragdoll has dislocated her hip. This is a common dislocation and again could happen if she trapped his toes under something and then pulled. It is unlikely but certainly possible. With this, again you would have the symptoms of non-weight bearing lameness.

Here is more:

4. And the last thing that I would be thinking about would be a puncture wound.

This can happen from a sharp sliver, or a bite from another animal. When a bite occurs, what happens is that there are 2 puncture holes - one caused by the upper and one by the lower canine tooth. The animal's teeth have a lot of bacteria on them, and these bacteria get placed deep below the skin when the bite occurs. The hole is small and quickly scabs over, leaving the bacteria below there.

The most common type of bacteria in the cat mouth is Pasteurella multocida - and it LOVES to grow in a warm, moist environment that has no oxygen present. And that is exactly what you have with a bite wound!

So, the bacteria multiply, and the body sends in white blood cells to fight the infection, and soon you have a big pocket of pus and bacteria: an abscess! The abscess grows bigger until it ruptures and the pus pours out. This relieves the pressure and allows the hole to close over which then allows the process to start again. Bite wounds, ideally, should be treated with antibiotics within 24 hours of the bite. This prevents the bacteria from multiplying and forming an abscess in the first place.

Here is more information:

So, in summary, there are a number of different conditions that can all give these same symptoms you are describing in your cat.

In order to diagnose this, a veterinarian would have to perform a thorough orthopedic examination, and a neurological exam. The vet might well suggest an x-ray. For this part, it might be necessary to give your cat a pain killer to allow proper positioning for the x-ray without hurting her. I do think your cat needs to see a vet to have this looked at. Something is going on, and the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better.

Unfortunately, there are NO safe pain killers that you can give at home to help your little one. Tylenol, advil, and aspirin are all very toxic to cats and should NOT be given!

So, since your cat seems to be in pain, I think you are better to see an Emergency Veterinarian today rather than waiting until tomorrow.

If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Dr.Fiona and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you