How Can You Tell If a Cat’s Leg Is Sprained or Broken?

A cat with a broken leg or paw bone holds its leg completely off the ground and typically walks with a limp or places just a small amount of weight on a sprained or injured paw or leg, according to Doctors Foster and Smith. Depending on the severity of the fracture or sprain, a splint, cast, pins, steel plates or screws may be used to hold the bone in place for healing.

Any fracture or sprain of a cat’s leg should be taken seriously and treated promptly to avoid complications, according to Drs. Foster and Smith. The four types of fractures in a cat include compound fractures, closed fractures, greenstick fractures and epiphyseal fractures. In closed fractures, the bone is broken, but the skin remains intact, while compound fractures are those where the bone is exposed through the skin.

Greenstick fractures occur when the bone is cracked but not broken, and epiphyseal fractures are breaks in the soft plates at the end of bones and are most commonly seen in young cats. Healing time for fractures depends on the age of the cat; young kittens may take as little as five weeks to heal and older cats may take upwards of 12 weeks to heal. Less severe greenstick fractures may require rest, while more serious injuries require surgery.