A sprain is damage done to the ligaments of the body---the fibrous tissues that connect bone to bone. The amount of pain and discomfort increases with the severity of the sprain. The more severe the sprain is, the more intensive the treatment will need to be. While home treatment is not safe or recommended, there are some steps you can take to ease your cat's pain before and after taking her to the veterinarian.
Before you take your cat to the veterinarian's office, confine him in a secure space and try not to let him run, jump or walk around too much.
When you are ready to take your cat to the veterinarian's office, grasp her with a towel to restrain her while you place her into a secure cat carrier. The towel protects your hands from the teeth and claws of a pained and panicking cat.
Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and may take X-rays to determine that no bones are broken. The symptoms of a sprain and broken bone are similar.
Listen to your doctor's instructions regarding the care and treatment of a sprain. The least severe injuries are treated with a splint. Mid-grade injuries may use a splint, but may require surgery to stabilise the joint. Severe injuries require surgery without the guarantee of a full recovery of mobility.
Administer any prescription medications as directed by your veterinarian. Most sprains are treated with anti-inflammatory medications that are specifically formulated for cats.
Examine the splint daily. Make sure the splint is clean and dry. Check the cat's toes for signs of swelling, rubbing or chafing.
Keep your cat indoors and try to stop her from being overly active during the recovery period, or as advised by your veterinarian. Minor sprains heal in two to four weeks. More severe sprains take longer.
The majority of sprains occur through accidental trauma. Keeping a close eye on your pet and cat-proofing your pet's environment can eliminate some potential hazards. No environment is 100 per cent hazard free, however. Do not feel guilty if your pet injures himself.
Do not attempt to treat a cat's sprain at home without the aid of a veterinary medical professional. Ligaments hold the body's joints together, and improper or insufficient care can cause permanent injury and disability. The cost of one veterinary visit for a sprain is far less than the cost of multiple visits to deal with a subsequent disability stemming from inadequate care.