What Causes a Cat to Limp on Its Front Paw?

Cats limp on injured paws due to sprains, torn ligaments, muscle contusions and ruptured cruciates, according to WebMD. Arthritis and infections also cause walking abnormalities in cats, notes Vetstreet.

It is important to take a cat to a veterinarian when its limping continues beyond four days, notes WebMD. Limping that is accompanied by swelling indicates a medical emergency and requires hasty treatment. A vet is likely to perform a physical examination of a cat's leg and feel around the tendons, ligaments, joints and paw. Cats typically respond to pressure that is placed over the sight of an injury or infection, which helps a vet to diagnose the problem.

If a vet is uncertain of the cause of a cat's limp, he can order X-rays to obtain further insight into the condition of the affected leg. Various forms of injury can damage a cat's tendons, such as tears, stretches, inflammation or ruptures. Tendon ruptures constitute a medical emergency and require treatment from a veterinarian immediately. Serious injuries can require surgery and that the cat undergoes physical therapy as the wound heals, adds WebMD.

It is not safe for cat owners to treat pets with over-the-counter pain medications meant for human ailments, as many of the drugs intended for human use can be dangerous for animals. It is best to consult with a vet to obtain proper treatment.