If you have ever seen your cat do zoomies around the house, you can begin to understand how agile and playful cats can be.
Throw in their amazing ability to jump effortlessly on higher platforms, there isn’t a place at home that your cat can’t reach.
As fun as it might seem, cats sometimes do mistime their jumps or landings resulting in an awkward landing.
This can cause broken bones in your cat’s leg or just a broken toe from a bad fall.
The good news is that a cat’s broken toe can heal itself provided it gets the right medical treatment. Leaving a broken bone in your cat’s foot untreated will only lead to more complications that can affect your cat’s mobility.
In the article, we will show you how to recognize if your cat has an injured foot and what you should be doing about it.
Let’s get started.
The Anatomy Of A Cat’s Paw
A cat’s body is an amazing machine.
Every part plays an important role in helping the cat survive and be an efficient hunter.
A cat’s paw has five toes on its front legs (six if it’s a polydactyl) and four toes on its hind legs. Each paw consists of three bones.
When it comes to the paws of the cat, they do more than assist in movement. A cat’s paw contains scent glands that allow the cat to leave its scent to mark its territory.
A cat’s paw also acts as a thermometer for a cat allowing them to detect minute temperature changes on the ground.
Even though cats are amazing predators, they can also get preyed on by larger animals. Their paws allow them to sense vibrations in the ground thus giving them time to flee from danger.
There are some cats that don’t like their paws touched due to their sensitive nature.
Different Types Of Fractures
It would be good for pet owners to know the type of fractures that can happen to their cats’ broken toes. It gives a good idea of the severity of the fractured bone.
An open fracture happens when the broken bone in your cat’s toe breaks through the skin. Open fractures require medical treatment immediately to clean the wound to prevent any risk of infection.
The vet might have to use small rods to hold your cat’s toe in place while it heals.
A closed fracture is one that happens within the body and does not protrude above the skin. Such a fracture might not be as serious as an open fracture but they still do require prompt medical treatment.
The damage from the closed fracture can damage the surrounding blood vessels and tissue muscles of the cat’s foot.
The vet will most likely have to do a few x-rays to determine the extent of the fracture before deciding on treatment options.
How To Tell If My Cat’s Foot Is Broken?
Cats are masters of disguising their pain and discomfort so as to not show any signs of weakness. But if your cat is suffering from a broken toe, there will be some symptoms that you can notice.
- Unable to put any weight on the injured paw
- Meowing or yowling loudly
- Loss of appetite
- Unable to retract its claws
Although you will notice a combination of the above symptoms, the most obvious one is when you notice that your cat has an open wound with the bone sticking out.
Do not wait any longer and get your cat to the vet immediately for treatment.
What Should I Do If My Cat Has A Broken Toe?
Sometimes, it can be hard for pet owners to ascertain if the cat has a bad sprain or in more severe cases, a closed fracture.
The best thing that you can do for your cat’s paw is to try and immobilize it to prevent further aggravation.
This can be done by gently wrapping your cat’s affected paw with some wire gauze or a bandage.
Start wrapping from the bottom of your cat’s paw to halfway up its leg. Do not wrap it too tight or it will cut off the blood circulation which is bad.
Just make sure that it is firm and secured enough to prevent your cat from moving it around too much.
Place your cat in the pet carrier and get it to the vet for treatment.
How Long Does It Take For A Cat’s Broken Toe To Heal?
In general, most fractures take about 7-9 weeks to heal completely. Other factors that can hamper or improve the recovery rate would be the severity of the fracture and the age of your cat.
A very bad fracture where the bone has broken into many pieces (compound fracture) can take months to heal. Depending on the age of your cat, kittens generally heal faster than an older cat due to their body’s better regenerative properties.
How Can I Help My Cat Recover Faster?
Although the recovery process for a broken toe can take several weeks, there are several things that a cat owner can do to help improve the cat’s recovery.
Restrict Excessive Movement
Your cat needs to rest its broken toe and it needs a lot of rest. It will help if you can isolate your cat in a room to improve its recovery.
Remove anything in the room that the cat can jump on or off from. We don’t want your cat putting any pressure on the injured area.
Make the room self-sufficient for your cat so that it doesn’t have to move around the house to get to its litter box or food.
Do not allow your cat to roam around the house or outdoors. Your cat might also try to escape from the room so make sure the door and windows are closed at all times.
Use A Elizabethan Collar
If your cat has been trying to bite or loosen the bandage or splint, using an Elizabethan collar can help prevent that.
It is important for your cat to maintain good bone alignment for the feature to heal properly. Otherwise, the fracture can take a lot longer to heal or the bone might fuse incorrectly causing mobility issues and persistent pain.
The standard collar is one that is made from plastic. It isn’t the most comfortable to wear and cats hate it.
You can experiment with fabric or inflatable collars to see if that makes it more tolerable for your cat.
Change Out The Bandage If Necessary
Depending on the type of fracture, if there is an open wound, you might have to change out the dressing or bandage to clean the wound.
Doing so will keep the risk of infection low.
If you are not able to do it by yourself, it would be a good idea to bring your cat back to the vet to get it properly done.
Feed More Calcium
There’s a reason why our parents gave us more milk to drink to encourage the development of healthy bones and teeth.
Unfortunately, cats don’t handle dairy products well as most are lactose intolerant. But getting additional calcium supplements from the pet store or the vet can help provide more nutrients to improve the healing process.
Dangers Of Delayed Treatment For A Broken Toe
If you suspect that your cat has a broken toe, the most dangerous thing that you can do is to wait before seeking treatment for your cat.
Here are some long term consequences that your cat can suffer from if treatment is delayed:
- Long term dysfunction and deformity
- Persistent pain
If your cat has a broken leg that isn’t treated promptly, it can cause the bones to set incorrectly and cause bow leggedness in cats.
Can A Cat Walk With A Broken Toe?
Most cats can still walk and move about with a broken toe. But its mobility will be severely hampered due to the pain.
The cat will do its best to not put any weight on the affected leg and will move about on just three legs most of the time.
You might have heard otherwise but a cat with a broken toe or any fracture isn’t a small issue. Such an injury can cause pain and long term complications if prompt treatment or surgery isn’t provided.
Make sure to let your cat have a lot of rest to allow the fracture to heal properly. It won’t be long before your cat is back to its playful self.