Symptoms of Back Leg Weakness in a Feline

Updated November 21, 2016

Back leg weakness in a feline is often the result of arthritis or some type of injury. Back leg weakness may also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If your cat is suffering from weakness, he will exhibit symptoms such as limping or crying in pain. If the weakness is from an injury, your cat may also have swelling in this area. Bring your cat to the veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.


One of the symptoms associated with back leg weakness in felines is pain. If your cat is in pain, he will exhibit symptoms of discomfort such as lying down and crying. He may moan or seek comfort. If you notice swelling, place and an ice pack wrapped in a towel on your cat's back legs. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.

Inability to Walk

According to Dr. Tara Ehling, a veterinarian at Southern Arizona Veterinary Hospital, weakness in your cat's back legs may result in difficulty walking. Some cats might be able to walk with a limp, while others will be completely immobile. If the weakness is from an injury, walking around may cause more swelling. Sometimes the only option is rest. However, if your feline is in a great deal of pain, other medications may be necessary.

Watch your cat carefully for behavioural changes. If this is a continual problem, it might be due to arthritis from old age. Steroid shots or other medicines may be needed to keep your cat comfortable.

Fluid Retention

Weakness in the legs is a sign of feline diabetes. Cats with diabetes are more likely to suffer with fluid retention and other problems. Fluid retention and swelling in the muscles and joints is another symptom associated with weakness in the legs. If this is the cause, the only treatment that might be helpful is insulin shots. However, if your cat is older, the weakness in his legs might be due to more than one problem, such as diabetes and arthritis. Both issues will need to be addressed.

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