Young Cat Limping Repeatedly
(Ann Arbor, MI)
My one year old tabby (sokoke mix?) cat has had problems jumping/landing since we got her at 4 months.
She started getting injured around half a year old and repeatedly hurts herself, sometimes weeks or months apart. She seems to just be really poor at landing and sometimes at running, but with no explanation.
She has been to two vet clinics with no results- one gave her a steroid injection. The other gave us pain meds and antibiotics after x-rays showed nothing but a tiny lesion on her left scapula. She seems to be feeling pain in her front left leg, but not in the shoulder.
We're all clueless at this point, and she continues to get hurt and limp and seems to be miserable when she does so. Any ideas what's going on with our cat?
It would be very difficult for me to make a diagnosis through email, especially when two other vets haven't been able to help the problem.
However ...I'm happy to share my thoughts with you.
It sounds like she has some genetic or structural or inborn brain-related lack of balance or size problem that simply doesn't allow her to jump as high up or land as gracefully as the average cat.
That wouldn't be a problem if we could convince her to tailor her activities to her capabilities. But we can't and it sounds like THAT is the real problem.
She's a cat and as brilliant as we think they are and as much as we love them, they do not necessarily understand their limitations.
We have a cute little cat living with us at the hospital right now and her situation sounds very similar. She has a reason that we know about (she was hit by a car and suffered a fractured pelvis) that explains why she frequently "misses" when she jumps up or down.
It happens on a daily basis and she never seems to learn her limitations. We gasp and go running when we see her "not make it", but she picks herself up and keeps going.
Yes, sometimes, she limps a little more the next day, but that's about it.
I can't teach her not to jump. She will continue to jump and miss and occasionally get mildly hurt. The one thing we can do for her is place pet stairs or chairs or anything that will help her not have to jump so far.
If you have a window she frequently jumps into, put something beside it so it's not so far up or down. If she falls jumping on a bed or sofa, get pet stairs.
In other words, while you can't change what's in her head, you can change the world around her and make things a bit easier for her.