How to Help a Cat With Leg Nerve Damage

By Betty Lewis

If your vet has determined that your cat is suffering from nerve damage in her leg, you can have a role in helping her recover. Taking care of a cat with leg nerve damage is fairly easy, provided you follow the vet's instructions to ensure you don't aggravate her condition. Your primary mission will be to get her to rest, which can be difficult or easy, depending on your cat's normal activity level. The location of her injury and the condition of the affected nerve sheath will factor into her prognosis.

Confine your cat to a room free of climbing and jumping opportunities to minimize the chance she'll aggravate her condition. If you don't have an appropriate space to keep her in, a large crate outfitted with a litter box will do the trick.

Splint or lightly bandage your cat's leg if she drags it. A bandage can serve as a sling to hold her leg up during her recovery. If you don't keep her leg from dragging, wrap a bandage around the area, making contact with the ground so she doesn't irritate her skin. The bandage should be tight enough to stay in place but not so tight that it affects her circulation.

If your cat's experiencing swelling at the site of her injury, your vet may recommend you use a cold compress to reduce the inflammation. The vet may call for application of the compress to the affected area at least three times a day and for up to 10 minutes at a time.

Use gentle, controlled motion to move your cat's leg. Cats with nerve damage in their legs risk muscle atrophy when the muscles aren't used. A light massage or physical therapy, such as extending the leg and flexing the joint, as directed by your vet, will keep her blood flowing and her muscles, joints and tendons healthy.

After 48 hours, apply heat, in the form of a warm, moist compress, to keep your cat's blood flowing, which is important when a nerve has been damaged. Your vet will tell you how often and how long you should apply heat to your cat's injury. Don't apply heat in the first two days after an injury.