Three Common Causes Of A Swollen Limb Or Tail On Cats

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Having a cat come home with a badly swollen foot or tail can be alarming, to say the least. If your kitty has come home like this, you should seek medical treatment. Swollen limbs can have limited circulation, which puts your kitty at risk of losing a limb without care. If you're wondering how on earth your cat got this way, here are some of the most likely common causes.


Cats—especially when they're not spayed or neutered—tend to get territorial. When territory disputes break out between cats, they end up biting and clawing each other. Wounds from these types of fights can easily become infected, as cats often have foreign matter under their claws and cat saliva is full of dangerous bacteria.

The good news is, with quick care, this type of infection can be easily bested. Your vet will likely drain the abscess, culture it to find out what caused it, and then they'll treat your cat with antibiotics to control the infection. If the infection has already become severe, temporary hospitalization may be necessary to control a kitty's other symptoms, like a bad fever.


Allergic reactions can cause swollen limbs on cats, but generally not environmental allergies, like those that cause cold symptoms. Instead, your cat could be having an allergic reaction to something else, like venom or a bee sting.

These types of injuries are very serious and require immediate medical attention. Cats who develop an allergic reaction may not have the swelling stop at a limb. If you think you have snakes, bees, or other dangerous aggressive animals in the area that can trigger allergic responses, get to a vet right away.


Finally, injuries can easily cause swollen limbs. When a paw or tail gets caught in a door or under a shoe, for example, it can cause bruising, burst blood vessels, and swelling. Your cat could even have a broken bone hidden underneath the damage to their limb.

If your cat isn't showing pain, don't assume that it's not an injury. Cats are really good at hiding pain as a survival mechanism. It's best to have a vet assess it to determine if it's broken or not before making any assumptions.

If your cat comes home in this condition, reach out to a vet clinic to get medical help. In the meantime, do what you can to keep your kitty calm, comfortable, and off their limb.