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Can a Cat Walk with a Broken Hip or Leg?

A cute black cat

Is a Cat Able to Walk with a Broken Hip or Leg?

Cats are amazing creatures who are known for their agility, leaping, grace, and “always” landing on their feet.  They have a righting reflex that actually allows them to turn in the air, and allow them to usually land on their feet. Unfortunately, when a cat has a broken bone, landing gracefully on their feet becomes almost impossible.

A sprained, fractured or broken bones poses several dangers to your cat and can really cause your poor kitty a lot of pain and discomfort. Injured cats, especially if they have a broken hip or leg will usually avoid jumping up onto their favorite window sill or chair, and may even have trouble walking.  If you see your kitty limping and suspect a broken bone, you should definitely get your cat checked by a vet. 

The good news is that there are things you can do to decrease your cat's risk of getting fractured or broken bones and certainly there are things you can do in the unfortunate even that they do get hurt. Even for older cats or already injured cats there are cat hip and joint supplements which can help to relieve pain and help support the joints.  The most important thing is to make sure to care for the injured cat properly so they are back to their jumping adventurous self in no time. 

How Do Cats Get Broken Bones?

Even though injury related trauma is the main cause of broken bones in cats, there are plenty of other health-related reasons a cat could suffer from broken bones.

One area that has a huge impact on a cat's overall health is their weight. Being an overweight cat can add stress to a cat's joints, and the added weight can increase the likelihood of sprains and fractured bones. Ensuring your cat has a high quality diet can prevent poor nutrition that results in weak bones that can break easily. Obesity also poses an increased risk of other health issues such as diabetes, heart problems, and kidney failure.  That is why it is so crucial to try to help you kitty maintain a healthy weight. 

Some infections and conditions like cat arthritis and hip dysplasia in senior cats can weaken and damage joints. When the joint damage is left unaddressed, this significantly increases the risk of bone breaks in your cat from trauma. 

Cute Cat Hiding


These cool creatures have many natural predator instincts, keeping them incredibly strong and tough. Unlike humans, cats will try to walk with a broken bone and limp through pain. Survival instincts cause cats to hide their pain, as weakness can attract and make them targets for predators.   

This makes it challenging to spot the signs of a broken bone in your cat.  Being alert to a shift in your cat’s normal behavior is key to giving them the help they need and getting them back on the way to healing.  

Some of the signs to watch for are:

  • Withdrawing from other pets and family, not wanting to be picked up or pet.

  • Not eating and hiding

  • Visibly injury, bleeding, or swelling near the place of fracture

  • Visible dislocation or dangling limb

  • Avoiding use of affected body part, not wanting to walk, jump, or climb

  • Hissing or growling when approach, crying out in pain

  • Rapid breathing

How Does a Vet Treat Broken Bones in Cats?

If you see any of these symptoms or a marked change in your cat’s behavior, don’t delay a visit to the vet, as the sooner they are treated, the sooner recovery begins. Also, the cat’s natural instincts to try to hide the injury, may make the injury worse.  

Be sure to give the vet all the information you have to help get your kitty the care they need. Most vets might be able to diagnose broken limbs through observation alone, however usually an x-ray is needed to be certain on what type of break the cat may have and how to treat it. 

Minor fractures can be healed through restricting movement using a cast. More complicated fractures can need surgery to put the bone back in place.  Your cat will need medicine for pain and possibly fluids to stabilize them through treatment and recovery.

In severe cases, the cat may need amputation of a limb, based on the vet’s recommendation. This truly is usually only done as a last resort; however, if needed know that most cats adapt to life without a missing limb well.

white cat at the vets

can a cat walk with a broken hip or leg?


Having four legs helps a cat to walk on a broken hip or leg without putting weight on the injured area. Cats are surprisingly resilient, and a broken bone cannot stop them from their natural instinct of exploring and hunting. In cases like these, it is up to the cat’s human's to protect the cat from not resting enough to recover. 

If surgery is recommended, make sure to give the cat's body time to heal afterwards and follow the vet's protocol for getting them back on their feet quickly but safely post surgery. It is extremely important for the pet parent to find a way to keep kitty from walking on the broken leg or hip so they can fully recover. In cases of a sprain where the leg may need to be wrapped or just given time to heal, it is still important to try to minimize aggravation by keeping the cat from jumping or putting too much weight on the hurt leg. 

How to Care for a Cat with a Broken Bone?

Once the vet is able to set or repair the broken bone or hip, cage or crate rest is usually recommended. This will keep your cat from moving around too much to allow healing, but they should have enough space to stand in, and have room for the cat’s food and water. Forced “bed” rest is what the kitty needs to heal. 

Once the needed treatment for a broken bone is completed, there is a long road to recovery. As a cat owner, you need to follow certain steps to lovingly nurse your cat back to health and save it from itself. 

In addition to or instead of crate rest, help your kitty reduce activity by taking the following measures: 


Even if your cat doesn’t need crate rest, help reduce movement by relocating food & water bowls, and the litter box to an area of the house where it is easier for your cat to access.

2. Remove items that encourage playtime

Cats love being to play, and you might have plenty of toys and activities to help keep them busy. During recovery time, you should remove anything the cat might try to play with, such as a cat tree, or a scratching post. They might reinjure the broken bone or cause pain by trying to play without knowing it. 

3. Create a Cozy Resting Place

It is essential to provide a comfortable and cozy area for your cat with a warm blanket and the litter box close by. This will help your cat relax and heal peacefully. 

cat inside a blanket

4. Give Love and Attention

While you can’t heal your cat’s broken bone through love and affection, it will help your kitty feel better.  Extra love and attention during a painful & difficult time will help your cat to bond with you and the extra attention ensure more down time for healing. 

Are Old Cats More at Risk for Broken Bones?

Age is not kind to any of us, furry friends included.  Unfortunately there are many health issues that plague senior cats, and joint issues is but one of them. As cats age, they have a harder time controlling their legs, and can also develop degenerative joint diseases, such as cat arthritis and hip dysplasia. Due to this, older cats are at a higher risk of broken bones. Therefore, relieving their hip and joint pain is essential to help them move more freely and avoid broken bones. 

BestLife4Pets provides homeopathic all-natural hip and joint supplements for cats, which helps with pain relief and mobility for senior cats with arthritis and other joint conditions. Older cats may walk slower and lose flexibility, making them more vulnerable to injuries, such as broken bones, sprains, and dislocations. Adding these supplements to a senior cat’s diet will help them suffer less and give them a new lease on life. 

Final Thoughts...

Broken bones in cats take a lot of care to be healed back to their original state. If your cat has suffered a broken bone through trauma or other health conditions, you need to take every care to nurse it back to total health. In addition to the traditional vet consider adding alternative treatments such as a warm compress, pet massage, acupuncture, homeopathic remedies and other holistic treatments.

For senior cats that are at a higher risk for broken bones due to joint conditions, consider adding pet ramps and stairs to help them get to their favorite high places easier without having to jump and strain. Also, try a good cat joint supplement or natural cat arthritis and joint support remedy such to help give your senior kitty back the comfort and mobility they deserve. 

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