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Physical Therapy For Kitten

Discussion in 'Pregnant Cats and Kitten Care' started by RescueFosterAdopt, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. RescueFosterAdopt

    RescueFosterAdopt Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Oct 25, 2018
    Hi Cat Family-

    I’m a foster for a cat rescue and recently I took a 6 week old kitten into my care. He has noticeable rear leg weakness. He takes short choppy steps and then sits or lays down. He has not attempted to climb anything. Any play is typically done laying down. [​IMG]Eating/drinking and pottying normally. Gaining weight as well. He was taken to the vet this morning and appeared to be in discomfort during manipulation of his rear legs/hips. The vet said xrays at this age would be difficult to interpret due to growth plate issues and how small everything is. Her recommendation was to wait until he is 14-16 weeks old to X-ray. She suggested that I work with him on strengthening his rear leg muscles in the meantime to help him adapt to whatever is going on on his back end. Have any of you dealt with something like this before? Can you recommend “exercises” specifically focused on rear leg mobility? I am planning on working with him multiple times a day, in a carpeted room, away from other kitty interference. Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated.


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  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    Bless your heart for this!
    I think you're right, in a quiet room without distractions, and play some classical harp music - that will help to relax him.

    Before you begin, hold him in your warm hands especially around his hips and haunches to help warm him, that'll make movement a little easier, and stop inbetween movements and hold him again to give him a break and to keep those muscles warm and the blood flowing.

    I'd super gently move the legs back and forth (at the hips and at the joint - just a very little at first since you need to find out what degree of movement hurts).
    For example like a swing moves back and forth, just really gently, from his tail towards his head, and from his tail backwards.
    Then also, super gently push each leg up towards his body, and pull out away from his body.
    I wouldn't do much or for very long at first. This is literally like a person who has had an accident and needs really slow re-building of strength without causing any "steps" backwards or damage, --plus kittens are fragile to start with.

    When you're done give him a heating pad set on low with a couple towels covering it, if he wants it.
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  3. StefanZ

    StefanZ Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    Sep 18, 2005
    Excellent advices above. I want to add an IR heating lamp may be useful too. Makes the warmth comes deeper into the tissues.
    golondrina and Furballsmom purraised this.

  4. Apple54321

    Apple54321 TCS Member Adult Cat

    Feb 21, 2018
    I don't know if it is the same thing, but I had a kitten born with her legs out backwards and as she grew, they moved closer to normal, but kept slipping out sideways.
    Around three weeks, on the advice of a vet, I started very carefully tapping them together in a more normal position (the vet provided the tape and showed me how to do it). I did this three times a day for 20-30 minutes, with constant supervision and eye out for compromised circulation /swelling. As she started using legs in a normal position , she rapidly improved and is perfectly normal cat now. She was likely in an odd position in the uterus leading to tighten tendon.
    There are various threads on here, with links to articles about swimmers and twisted legs, and advice.
    Hope he gets better soon and thanks for caring for him.
    golondrina, StefanZ and Furballsmom purraised this.

  5. PushPurrCatPaws

    PushPurrCatPaws TCS Member Top Cat

    May 22, 2015
    You'll need to be very careful during any phys. therapy that you don't go past a point where he is painful. Did the vet recommend certain exercises or give you a referral for a veterinary rehab/ therapy center?
    golondrina and Furballsmom purraised this.

  6. StefanZ

    StefanZ Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    Sep 18, 2005
    I notice I was unclear re the heating IR lamp. Warming up is most important before and during the exercise.
    Afterwards its enough with a comfy nice warmth...

    Compare with an athlete whom always warm up before any serious task.
    golondrina and Furballsmom purraised this.

  7. talkingpeanut

    talkingpeanut TCS Member Top Cat

    Oct 12, 2015
    Yes, I would think that laying the kitten on his back and helping to move the legs as if one were peddling a bike would be helpful.

    Also, water therapy could be good! Allowing the little one to swim in a shallow tub (with supervision!) is great exercise.
    golondrina, StefanZ and Furballsmom purraised this.

  8. StefanZ

    StefanZ Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    Sep 18, 2005
    Swimming is a Great idea! If this works out may even be the best.
    golondrina and Furballsmom purraised this.

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