How to Help a Cat With Leg Nerve Damage

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Things You'll Need

  • Crate or recovery room

  • Warm compress

  • Cold compress

  • Bandage or sling


Don't attempt your own type of physical therapy on your cat's leg, as you may risk further injury. Your role in helping your cat with her leg nerve damage will depend on where her damage is and what caused it. Your vet can give you more specific instructions on how to care for your cat at home.


Be patient; nerve regeneration is a slow process; nerve fibers grow at the rate of an inch a month.

Your cat may benefit from acupuncture; talk to your vet to learn more about its possible role in your cat's recovery.

Put an Elizabethan collar on your cat if she chews on her injured leg. Your vet or a local pet store will have a collar to fit your cat.

Vet checking out cat on table
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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.


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Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.


Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.


Step 5

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.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.