Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

First Aid for a Cat with a Broken Bone

Learn what to do if your cat breaks a bone.

It's good to learn some basic feline first aid techniques if you live with a cat. That way, you will be able to spring into action and help your kitty faster and more efficiently if something bad should ever happen. For an overview of common emergencies requiring first aid in cats, with links to other individual items, go here: "First Aid for Cats: An Overview."

How Can You Tell if Your Cat Has a Broken Bone?

Here are some of the signs that your cat may be suffering from a broken bone:

  • Sudden limping
  • Swelling of a part of the body
  • Part of the leg is held at an unusual angle
  • Bone is visible poking through or just under the skin

First Aid for a Feline Broken Bone

A broken leg is a stressful thing to see your cat endure. Here's what you can do:

  • Take care approaching and handling a cat that might have a broken bone. Pain may cause the kitty to bite or scratch.
  • Keep your cat as calm as you can by speaking soothingly and moving slowly yourself.
  • If possible, place an Elizabethan collar over your cat's head to help restrain her.
  • If there is a visible bone poking through the skin, soak some gauze in sterile saline and gently cover the bone with it, to help protect it from infection until you can get to the veterinarian.
  • If your cat goes calmly into a cat carrier, place her inside and take her to a veterinary clinic immediately.
  • It is best if your cat travels in a carrier or box to keep her still, but if she struggles too much going into or riding in a cat carrier, she may further injure herself. In that case, place her on a small board or a child's sled to transport her. Learn more here: "Handling and Transporting an Ill or Injured Cat."
  • Cats that suffer from broken bones may go into shock, which is the shutting down of the circulatory system. If your pet seems unaware of what's going on around her, pants, and appears to have pale gums, place some honey on her gums, wrap her in a blanket, and take her to the veterinarian immediately. If she stops breathing, you will need to perform rescue breathing.

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