I accidentally stepped on my kitten's paw while walking. She cried loudly and hid in a corner immediately after. I checked her paw , tried moving it just to see if it caused her any pain. Apart from soft cries (out of sadness and the heartbreak of betrayal I think) she didn't react in a manner I thought was concerning.

Question is what are the signs of fracture or sprains I should look out for? And what can I do if I see any of these signs?

I know the best thing would be to take her to a vet but the place I live in is under complete lock down and there is nothing more I can do right now.

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    Don't feel bad. My boys get stepped on or kicked all the time from getting behind me or under my feet when I'm not looking. I always apologize immediately in a soft, high-pitched voice and rub their head, which also gives me a chance to make sure they aren't injured. They seem to understand that it wasn't intentional and get over it right away. If it's particularly bad, like a stepped-on tail, I'll often bribe them with some treats to help them forget about it. I've had a couple that would sulk and act pitiful for the extra attention, though. Cats are smarter than you might think!
    – Bloodgain
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 5:01

3 Answers 3


The way to see if the injury is serious is to observe your cat for a couple of hours: if your cat is still limping and tries to avoid using the paw when she walks, you can start thinking about taking her to the vet.

If the paw starts to swell, it is time to call your vet.

You are saying "kitten" in your question, so I am assuming she is only a few months old. The bones in a growing kitten are flexible, so they do not break easily.

If your cat can walk on the paw and is not limping after a couple of hours, you can assume that she will be fine.

You can examine your cat yourself by taking a firm grip on the paw that you think might be injured and if your cat shows signs of pain or cry, you need to take her to the vet to get her examined.

By a firm grip on the paw I mean just taking the paw in your hand and give it a little squeeze, like when you grab your own finger.

Try not to worry, most of us cat owners have stepped on our cats paw at least once and injury to the cats paw is not very common, at least when it comes to fractures. Soft tissue injury will heal in a couple of days, so again, try not to worry.

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    In addition to this excellent advice—which coincides almost word-for-word with what I heard from my vet when I called her with the same question—be aware that, as @trondhansen says, we've all done this, and, as heartbreaking as it is, our cats very soon forget and forgive.
    – LSpice
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 21:56
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    Update: I tried pressing a bit firmer as suggested and she didn't cry out in distress. As a matter of fact, she is back to being a hyperactive ball of fur soon after, no limping or anything so I guess that's that. Oh and she is back to cuddling with me too so no hard feelings from her either I guess (:
    – saraserin
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 3:17
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    @saraserin that is exellent news :) Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 4:22
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    In the morning our cat tries to get underfoot, trip me, and knock me down. My wife claims she's just hungry and wants me to get her food ready. I think that she's trying to get me on the floor where she can satiate her blood-lust on my unguarded neck! Regardless, on the occasions where I've stepped on her paw she too has cried piteously and fled...for about 10 seconds, and then she comes back, meow-ing to pretend she's forgiven me, but in her little murderous heart I'm sure she's just saving it up as One More Reason to up-end me and devour me alive! The little sweetie... :-) Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 23:35
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    @BobJarvis-ReinstateMonica reshareworthy.com/cat-diary-vs-dog-diary Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 4:44

A similar thing happened to my small dog at 6 months. She lagged behind me and her hind foot got trapped in an automatic door. (So much for flexi-leads!)

She yelped loudly but then settled down. However there was blood so I took her to the vet. The vet carefully manipulated each of her toes and other parts of her foot and ankle - there was no further yelping.

The vet concluded that no X-ray was necessary, and that she had scraped a bit of skin off a couple of toes when they got caught. She cleaned things up and prescribed some antibiotics as a precaution and there has never been any problem since.

If there is no bleeding, I suggest a similar test by you. Just manipulate gently and watch for signs of real distress (rather than simply pulling away that most cats and dogs do anyway).

Young animals (and people) tend to recover much more quickly than adults.

P.S. My vet is soon to come out of lock-down but they have treated emergencies right through.

  • 2
    Thank you for you're suggestion. I pressed firmly to check and she didn't react in distress. She's back to running around like before, so I think she's fine now. P.S The reason I didn't take her to a vet is because I wanted to make sure it is an emergency that's all.
    – saraserin
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 3:22

In addition to what trond hansen said, an easy way to check is to play with them. Every time I thought I might step on the paw, I take laser pointer out and observed.

My girls are always obsessed with it and it is easy to see if they are interested in it and if they limp when they try to get the red dot (for the record - they always are interested and never limped).

(After some time I learnt to take my weight off the foot as soon as I feel something tail- or paw-like).

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